I’ve always believed that when someone ‘dies’ for another, it’s not as self-sacrificial as it looks. Really, it’s all just a self-serving mechanism that leads us to think we have to save this person, even at the cost of our lives, because life without him/her just isn’t going to work. Of course, in that split second before we jump in front of that bullet, or the speeding car, we’re not really thinking that. That’ll probably be our subconscious thought process.
So what we’ve always believed to be noble, melodramatic, passionate love is mere selfishness.
Then, lying in bed just a moment ago, I suddenly had this mini epiphany about my little belief. Maybe I’ve even given that “selfless sacrifice” a bit too much credit with my previous stand.
Maybe, when we’re jumping in front of that bullet, we’re not even (subconsciously) thinking that it’s worth our puny lives to save that person because life would be nothing without them. Maybe all we’re thinking is, we gotta save that person, and we’re not gonna die saving that person anyway, so why not take that chance? And then we die, and everyone will go all sentimental at how gloriously we’ve died saving that person we loved. I imagine if our souls were conscious and hovering around at the funeral, our feathery frames would be thumping the coffin and screaming that we didn’t know we’d die!!!
Dick says he loves me very dearly and he’d be devastated for a long while if I died. But he’s not ready to die saving me. If he were consciously weighing the pros and cons at my point of death anyway, I might add. Because our subconscious minds just have a will of their own.
That’s not a very gratifying confession to hear from someone you’re dating seriously. But intellectually, I can be agreeable to it. On my part, though, I think I might readily give up my own life to save him. But then again, that’s hypothetical contemplation and I don’t value my life very highly. Certainly, there are other things I won’t give up for his life, if I could be thinking rationally at his point of death, and of those, I will not speak here.
Of course, things would be different if we were talking about my own children. For them, there is no question I would give anything and all I have. In fact, as I recall, the reason we even discussed this morbid topic some time ago at a crowded bus stop in town, was one guy’s testimony that he first truly felt and understood God’s love when he carried his newborn son. Because at that point, he genuinely felt that he could lay down his life for the life he held in his hands. Few parents would do otherwise and that is a kind of love we cannot feel for any other, not our spouses, maybe not even for our own parents. And I wonder why that is so.