What is saving your life right now?

A famous preacher was invited to speak at a church in Alabama a few years ago. While she was preparing for the event she e-mailed the host pastor wanting to know what the topic should be, what she might reflect upon in her sermon. The pastor wrote back, “just tell us what is saving your life right now.” I heard about this exchange a few years ago and I find myself coming back to that question for myself from time to time. What is saving my life right now?

Most of the time I don’t think we consider the possibility that our lives actually need saving. With hardly enough time to get things done that must be done, we rarely give much thought to what might be saving us. In fact, most of us for most of the time don’t really think we need to be saved; we’re all just doing fine, thank you.

When tragedy strikes, however, when the rug gets pulled out from under us, when things fall apart, well, then the question becomes relevant, even urgent. In those times, we are well aware that we are in need of something or someone to save our lives.

I suspect many would say it’s their faith that pulls them through, their dependence upon a Higher Power. They would say that it is their connection with the divine found in prayer or the reading of the sacred texts that gives them comfort and salvation in times of crisis and trial. Some would cite it as the community they have built for themselves, maybe even a faith community that brings them through the dark valleys. It might be friends or co-workers or even people found in a supportive atmosphere, facing the same circumstances that provide the much-needed solace.

I’ve heard people say physical activity saved them. It was running trails or hiking mountains, swimming lap after lap; it is the moving that seemed to keep them sane through the rough times.

Once in my life, I relied upon beauty to save me. It was the colors in nature, the bright blooms of spring flowers, the morning breeze through the cottonwoods, the rising and setting of the sun, that’s what got me through the crisis. That’s what saved me.

I don’t really think it matters so much what we choose, what we even happen upon that saves us; I just think it needs to be life-affirming, not detrimental to our health or well-being, not destructive to self or others. I think it’s just important to know it, recognize it when it’s happening and honor that whatever it is, something is saving our lives.

I never found out what the famous preacher preached that Sunday. Regardless, I imagine she enjoyed the opportunity to reflect, valued the chance to consider such a thing. It is always good to know just what is saving our lives because even if we think we don’t need saving today, trust me, one day we will.

Lynne Hinton is a minister and author: