Remembering the Savior on the Winter Solstice
I thought I would spend the winter solstice evening quietly by watching the wonderful views from our hot tub. It was warm here in Asheville and very cloudy with few visible stars in the sky. I don't know what it was that triggered my memory, a memory that had been relegated, as so many memories do, to forgotten times. Maybe it was the Christmas spirit or maybe it was the decorations across the back yard that caused the memory to surface. But suddenly, I remembered.
Years ago I was working out West. The first morning had already begun when after 30 minutes a sharply dressed man came into the room and found a seat among the large group. I assumed from his dress and the confident manner in which he conducted himself that he was one of the leaders of this group with whom I was working.
At morning break, everyone existed the room to retrieve fresh coffee and snacks. But he came forward and walked right up to me. I extended my hand to greet him and said, "Good morning, I'm Haydn Hasty."
He extended his hand and quietly said, "I am the Savior."
I paused, looking at his kind face, and before I could speak he said, "I was just kidding."
"No you weren't," I said.
He paused and said, "OK, I wasn't."
I paused awkwardly but smiling and said, "So, how's the Savior business going?" It caused both of us to smile.
For the next 10 minutes we sat and talked and I felt intrigued as he described parts of his journey through life, his struggles and his desire for a healthy future. I was so interested in our discussion that I invited him to join my wife, who was working in a separate room, and me for lunch.
When the Savior and I arrived at the restaurant, I introduced him to my wife. "Terry, this is the Savior. Savior, this is my wife, Terry." We had a wonderful lunch together and walked back to the conference together, talking, laughing and sharing the whole way. At the end of the day when everyone had vacated the room, we sat closely together and continued the conversation for another hour.
When the moment was right, I spoke up. "I want to tell you something. I want to share something with you and I hope you won't be bothered by it. First of all, I want you to know that I hope you are the Savior. God knows, we need one. In fact, we need a bunch. Maybe if more people carried this responsibility, the world would be a better place. It doesn't bother me at all that you feel this way about yourself. I hope you are the Savior and I hope you do Savior work in the world. But I want to suggest something to you."
I paused, took a breath and said, "But I hope you can see that it can create a lot of problems for you if you go around telling people that you are the Savior. If you are the Savior, then it doesn't make any difference whether or not anybody else knows that. It only matters that you complete your mission by continuing your work. It created a lot of problems for the last guy who did this. In telling people this, there are many who will hurt you and cause you a lot of pain. Why not just conduct yourself as a Savior would, blessing everyone, loving everyone and doing your work without feeling the need to tell them who you are?"
He paused and said, "You're probably right."
We spoke a little longer, ending the day by hugging one another and we left. We corresponded by email for about a year and as happens in most long-distance relationships, our communications ended. As I sat in the hot tub watching the clouds pass above, I suddenly remembered him and in doing so, I realized that I could not remember his name except by the first introduction.
Most people are plagued by self-doubt, internal conflict and a "knot" that keeps them from living the life of their choice. Is this state of mind any less pathological than seeing yourself as a savior of the world? Is one any more deluded than the other? I don't think so. But as human beings we have a way of normalizing the abnormal while minimizing the possibility of anything different that exists outside of our unique but screwed-up paradigm of how life is full of suffering and believing and accepting that that's just how life is.
In spite of the fact that the mind is simply a reacting mechanism attempting to acquire the goal of survival on a daily basis, forming the weirdest thoughts and sometimes malignant perceptions that are related to that goal, each of us has clearly learned not to judge another. Each of us has learned that it is not ours to judge, for the path of another is not in our hands but in the hands of another. Ours is not to judge but to determine who we are in the face of the other. Ours is to consciously determine the experience we want to have of ourselves in the face of the other. Ours is to love and to embrace and that can be so difficult at times. But we know this is true and we know that it is inexorably tied to our own well-being and inner peace.
As the Monday evening winter solstice arrived and the return of the sun and the awakening of a new birth began, I thought of the Savior and was hoping that his task was being completed, allowing him to know Peace at last.