Saving Lives

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Standing under the small roof in front of an even smaller café in Portugal, hiding from the rain, I remembered a conversation that I had with a man few years ago.

A man with a beard and calm attitude, a surf instructor from Portugal. How did he become a surf instructor?

A lot has to be done, he said. You have to get a lot of certificates and go through a rescue training. With some hesitation he told me about the surf amateurs he had saved over the years.

The amateurs who overstepped their boundaries. Who wished for adventures without realizing how close they get to their own death. The water gets them and they start to drown.

The instructor swim for the life that is not his. To rescue the helpless. Tries to save them. But in their panic they grab him and start to drown him too.

The survival mode is on. They try to save themselves even if that mean that they have to drown someone else. Nothing else matters.

And so the saver becomes the victim who must struggle to get out of the death grip. Words don’t matter, he says to me. They cant hear anything.

So, sometimes, you have to grab them by the hair and pull them towards the safety of the beach. While they still struggle to breathe, both of them, and to look out for the next wave that tries to push them down toward the sand.

How would you handle this kind of situation?