An unbearable tooth pain followed by a dental consultation showed a root canal infection needing immediate attention. As the doctor dealt with it, quite severely in fact because of the extent of infection, I distracted myself by thinking of the process of saving and salvaging, the opposite of disposing and destroying!

Salvaging is a term related to ships and seas, with marine salvage being the process of recovering a ship and its cargo after a shipwreck or other maritime casualty. Salvage may encompass towing, re-floating a vessel, or effecting repairs to a ship. The first known salvage was in 219 BC, the Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuang (r. 221–210 BC) assembled an expedition consisting of a thousand people for the salvage of the Nine Tripod Cauldrons. The tripods were considered important artifacts, Chinese legends credit a Xia dynasty emperor with their construction. The tripods were lost in Sishui River in present-day Anhui Province. The salvage attempt was ultimately unsuccessful.

As a life coach, my goal is to help people adjust and adapt to the different circumstances that come their way, especially the stressful and difficult ones. I spend hours talking with them, keeping abreast of the my clients situations, since I am often their last or only resort and rescue, especially for those stuck in a pit of depression. Just being there for them, helping them to download and de-stress, creates a space in their mind and emotions, enabling them to have the time, will and effort to recover themselves. Most often dramatic or drastic actions that are detrimental to life are the result of a temporary blinding of eyes, a sudden surge of despair, a momentary lapse of equanimity, a spur-of-the-moment impulse and an unthinking jump off the ledge. Being aware that some cares enough to listen, someone to give some time is sufficient impetus for people to recover and reconcile, both with others and with their unchangeable circumstances.

With the passage of years, I see a downward trend, an increase in and a multiplication in the number of people succumbing to instability of mind and emotions. Of late, there seems to be a proliferation of negativity, a lack of mental stamina, a loss of emotional control and a tendency to give up too easily and too readily. The impulse to throw in the towel, throw up the arms in futility, the sinking into the darkness of depression is affecting almost all and across the spectrum of age and gender. Of these, the more vulnerable section seems to be the young, specifically children and teens for whom suicide has become the most extensive and popular outlet. It appears to be an easy way to blow off steam, with the added bonus of having taken revenge on those who love you but who unwittingly drove you to it. Or so they think!

The root cause of this seems to be an inclination towards I-need-it-all-now attitude, an urge towards I-want-to-experience-it-all-now outlook and a penchant for I-must-have-it-all-now demand. A denial, then, leads to a sullen sulkiness, a moody weariness and a damaging insecurity. There is a dearth of understanding and accepting that life doesn’t promise or guarantee many of the things you deem necessary or demand it as necessary.

The basic ingredients of nature, of existence and of the universe are entropy, probability and randomness. It is what make life so exciting and adventurous, that it is so unpredictable, ever changing and ever evolving! What then is the reason for such low adjustment factor and adaptability quotient that triggers defeat, especially in the young whose very youth gives them the handle and capacity to bounce back easily!

The trigger for such defeatist mentality lies in the socio-cultural impact of a society that is tuned to easy disposal. It is the effect and outcome of living in a world wherein disposal is mooted over salvaging. Gone are the days when everything was built with the intention of durability, reliability and longevity.

Today’s world is all about constant and continuous change, a fluidity that belies stability and sustainability. This has created and birthed an environment that promotes an unhealthy appetite for constant upgrade, an avaricious longing for continuous newness and an unsatiated thirst for competitive consumerism. There is a singular lack of sticking it out, trying to make the best of it, seeking to work it out and fighting the good fight of life, whatever be cause or cost.

Nowhere is the impact of this felt more than in the basic structure of society, its foundation and fabric viz., marriage and family. A lifestyle geared up to easy disposal and a mentality tuned to instant use-and-throw has not helped foster marital and familial relationships. It has, on the other hand, eroded the stamina needed to cultivate long term relationships. It has made people weak and weary, devoid of the strength needed to build and maintain all types of relationships. We have become scaredy cats, shying away from bonding, often opting for short term connections that grant instant gratification. We have forgotten the recurring returns and lasting rewards that come from investing for and in the future.

We have become passive and content to live in the moment and for the moment. We have forgotten that we are not animals made for instant gratification by instinct, but are eternal beings made in the image of God, created to be bolstered by mutual kinship. We have created a society that’s filled with divorce and heartbreak, a structure lacking the scaffolding of nurture and care, a place where the young and weak are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. What in the world have we become!

I was born into a family where salvaging bikes and cars was a pasttime, hobby and creative outlet. Men in the family would choose to buy second-hand vehicles and restore them, before disposing them for a profit. What joy and pride I would see in their face when their task was dine. It was obvious that the price they paid was small in comparison to this sense of accomplishment!

I saw the same thing in my dentist who went the extra mile to salvage what remained of my tooth. It would have been easy for him to just pull it out, cleanse the area and go his way. Yet he chose to spend hours bent over my teeth, digging out the infection with a ruthlessness that was quiet daunting. It comforted me to note that he would not rest until I was totally free of any infection. He restored my faith in the medical profession and its practitioners.

How like the Lord, I thought to myself, who He came ‘not to condemn but to save’! How precious to know that He rejects no one, but seeks to rescue the lost! How soothing it is to know that He is all about saving and salvation, and not about disposing!

*Photos courtesy of and

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