I really enjoy the TV programme, Saving Lives at Sea. This reality documentary follows the volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – the RLNI – as they put out to sea in their bright orange boats to come to the aid of those in trouble on the sea. One day they might be going out to a cargo ship, sinking in storm conditions and washed onto dangerous rocks; other times they might put to sea on a beautiful balmy day to pick up a tourist on an inflatable mattress. The volunteers who go out – and they are all unpaid volunteers – never see themselves as heroes; they just do the job and are happy to have saved lives.
When we spend time at the coast, we see many of these rescues; we have even called in ourselves, when we saw a yacht overturned and the crew struggling in the water.
Last year, the RNLI received thousands of hate mails, as some of the people they had rescued were immigrants coming across the channel in dangerously unseaworthy craft, seeking asylum in this country. At the time, a bill was going through Parliament, making it a crime to facilitate the entry of asylum seekers by bringing them ashore. An exception was later specifically inserted into this bill for the RNLI and other charities.
At the time, a Spokesperson for the RNLI said, “We are a voluntary lifesaving charity and will rescue anyone in trouble at sea … without judgement or preference.”
One of the most insidious symptoms of depression is the way it steals our sense of self-worth. When things get bad, we feel the world would be better without us. We ask, “What do I contribute?” and we answer, “Nothing. I am a drain on the people who love me; I am a drain on society. I am worthless and should not be here.”
These are dangerous thoughts. They are the symptom of our illness, and they are NOT TRUE!
The value of a human life is not based on the “contribution” that person makes. I hope most of us are wise enough to know that value is not a reflection of monetary worth, or even recognition by the Queen at a Buckingham House Garden Party. Each of us has an inherent value; a value that cannot be measured. A very wise Finance Director I know has on his wall, a framed poster which says, “Not everything that can be counted matters, and not everything that matters can be counted.” This, from an accountant!
I cannot judge your worth and you cannot judge mine. And, as Oscar Wilde said, “Comparisons are odious.” Human worth is never comparable and always invaluable.
Most of us know that, in our hearts. That’s perhaps why, when the above story broke, the RNLI received a 2,000% increase in donations.
The Nationality and Borders Bill is now in its final stages before it becomes law. I am pleased that it does not apply to saving precious human lives.
A Moodscope member.
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