Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How We Should Be Holding onto Time

There is a family, I've linked to the mother's blog, Passionate Perseverance, clinging to, celebrating every minute their daughter has left to share with them in this life.  They do this despite the other trials that make up their day, like clogged collapsed toilet lines and jobs that might end and bills that seem impossible to pay.  They celebrate the warm sweaters, the baked goods and beautiful flowers that show up from strangers and friends, and they hold their daughter through her seizures, knowing that one way or another, they will stop, and life will either keep going on, or not.  It takes great courage to get up and face the cross each day, and they do this with passionate perseverance.

Online, I have another friend, who goes and make sandwiches, whole loaves of sandwiches to hand out to the homeless with his children, and he too is holding onto each moment, every moment, hoping that this moment isn't the last one.  He hints that all is not well, and that all will not last but goes on as if today is the most important.  Neither family is rushing to the end, both are sipping the cup of their lives, savoring each minute, the beautiful, the painful, the hard and the costly, because all of the moments matter.  All time we have here, is precious.

So when I read about the state enabled despair of Brittany Maynard, as she's planned her death for All Saints' Day, it breaks my heart and at the same time, makes me mad.

In this day and age, voicing online or in person anything other than approval makes me heartless.  I don't know her suffering.  But I do know these other people, they suffer, and they are sticking it out.   There are whole countries of people less fortunate than this woman in what she has done and they get up and go through the day no matter how hard.   I  can't not see taking medicine to "end life on my terms" as anything  other than being afraid of what it takes to live to the last breath.  I could get being afraid.  But bragging of one's decision to die to make a statement about desiring to die and demanding everyone else affirm one's decision as good, I won't do.  Damn it Brittany, live.  Live until you die.  Live because it is harder than climbing  mountains or running marathons.  Anyone can check out early.  Anyone can quit when it gets hard.  Don't.   You've climbed mountains, you've run marathons.  You could finish this race by running to the end if you willed to do it.  I wish you would.

Make no mistake, brain cancer, tumors, it is all horrible.  It is horrible.  I wish she would reconsider, because given the unknown limited time she has left, she shouldn't be so quick to want to shorten the journey.   She could be a great voice and witness to the courage it takes to get up each day, never knowing if this is the last.   But we've become so incapable as a society of bearing what life brings, we now call choosing death a right, and get self righteous about declaring our own autonomy.   We call checking out brave, but I think it far braver to face the minute to minute messiness of this business called living. Praying for her and her family, and for all those who face the mysterious grace found only by being at the foot of the cross.

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