We Are Survivors; And We Can Help Others Survive

At the conclusion of the season finale of Fox’s weekly drama, 9-1-1, the voice of Fire Captain Bobby Nash, played by Peter Krause, delivered a quote from Carl Sagan, who was a noted American astronomer, among his many talents. In that conclusion episode, Krause’s character spoke the words: “Carl Sagan said, Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” He added, “When your life, when the world feels like a never-ending emergency, sometimes just making it through the day can be a struggle. We collect scars. Physical and psychological reminders of what we’ve been through, of who and what we’ve lost. But maybe those scars can do more than memorialize our past traumas. Maybe they’re also a testament to the fact that we’re still here. We are exceptional. We are survivors…And we move forward.”

If you have watched the show, you might guess that his final soliloquy was speaking of fire fighters, rescue workers, law enforcers, and any other persons who run into dangerous situations as opposed to running away from them. The words can maybe also be words every person could use as a blueprint for life itself.

Life throws us challenges. They may be personal challenges. They may be work related, family related, or financially related, or addiction related. They may be due to personal loss, be it of a loved one, a pet, a job, a home, or loss of spirit, heart, patience, or peace of mind. Unfortunately, some are not able to survive things that tear us apart emotionally, disease, tragedy, or senseless violence, and their lives might be cut short mortally or emotionally.

On top of all that might affect us personally, there are things that affect us locationally, maybe in our neighborhoods, cities, state, country, or our world. We have been affected by a pandemic that took lives, jobs, it hurt many financially, educationally, and certainly emotionally. It did not give some the opportunity to be a survivor in one or more of the aforementioned categories listed above.

We’ve seen violence occur all around us, much of that violence robbing people of life, hope, faith, and spirit. Some people who have lost loved ones, hope, faith, peace of mind, or people who suffer financial difficulty, emotional despair, may turn to any one of a number of possibilities to deal with their pain, anguish, and/or heartache. Some of those possibilities result in tragedy, some in addiction, some in constant depression, but some do result in survival.

For those who do survive, more easily, those are the people to whom we must reach out to, to help those who may survive much more difficultly, to help their physical or emotional struggle to get through what they are feeling. There are many organizations looking for volunteers, financial support, or sponsorships that try to help many become survivors of what’s troubling them.

Some people are stronger that others and can survive crisis, pain, loss, differently than others. Just as we may financially support many endeavors of individuals and groups trying to become and help others become survivors, we can also give of ourselves, through friendship, tolerance, compassion, patience, a smile, a hug, a laugh, a meal, some time, anything we can do to try and help others survive what may be pushing the walls in around them.

A short lyric from The Grateful Dead’s hit song, A Touch of Grey, is, “I will get by, I will survive.” Later in the song, the lyrics changed to sing, “We will get by, we will survive.”

The stronger ones who can, and do, survive with little or no help definitely are able to sing, “I will get by, I will survive.” Those survivors can then look upon those who need some friendship, patience, tolerance, compassion, smiles, hugs, a meal, some time, or anything else they may need to help them down the dark roads that may be travelling. By doing this maybe we can altogether sing the later line from the Grateful Dead hit, “We will get by, we will survive.”

As we celebrate the 245th birthday of these United States of America tomorrow, and the freedoms and equality which are part of the foundation of our country, where all people should be treated equally, may we come together, without looking at color, creed, religion, political affiliation, sexual preference, gender identity, financial status, or social class. May we come together, instead, as a people, a humanity, as brothers and sisters from different mothers and misters, reaching out to one another, helping each other, and may we all, then, validate the words of Carl Sagan and be exceptional together, be survivors together, and move forward together too.


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