19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.
I’ve spent some time today about thinking about euthanasia after posting an article about it earlier today. One cliché often associated with it and/or assisted suicide is “Dying with Dignity.”
I understand the sentiment behind it, but I honestly think it mostly has to do with the fear of suffering more than dignity. If someone is in a bad way and doesn’t want things to get any worse, why wouldn’t they want to get it over with? If they want the suffering to end, I understand.
When I was a college freshman my grandmother died from pancreatic cancer. She stayed in our house for many months before we simply couldn’t care for her any more. I went in to her the morning of her birthday, trying to be upbeat. I asked her if she’d like anything for her birthday. She just told me she wanted to die. That was a hard thing to hear, because I had a revolver and bullets in my closet, and I’d never been so tempted!
Little Grandma raised my sisters and I from earliest memory. She lived across the street from us. That was where we always did our homework. That was our base of operations every summer day. That was where we went for a sumptuous Sunday dinner every week after church. When she said she wanted to die, I was almost willing to grant her wish.
The evening we got the call from the hospital to tell us that she’s passed, the house sighed. I’m not speaking figuratively. It sighed, as if an overinflated balloon released just enough pressure to be comfortable again.
Believe me; I get it when someone just wants it over with!
That, however, is not our call. We stay until God brings the ride to a complete stop. Why? If you’re part of the blogging community here, you know how many of us have suffered and continue to suffer. We share our pain, our adversities, and our wisdom gained from those experiences. We provide comfort, hope, and insight to others who have found it nowhere else.
Jesus told us to bear one another’s burdens. Who are we to call the game before we’re done doing God’s work on this earth…even if it’s only laying there and letting people know what we know, feel, and believe? Who are we to abandon our fellows before our work is finished?
I’ve been too near the grave myself on three occasions. I know how much it can hurt. I know how scary it can be. I know what I’ve learned from those experiences. I’ll say again that I understand that temptation to throw the towel into the ring.
Let’s just dispense with the pretty, comforting, lying language before we ever try to deal with that temptation. Abortion, euthanasia, women’s health, Death With Dignity…fill in your favorite. At the end, we all return to the ground.
As for the main title above, I recall what Shakespeare wrote centuries ago; “I never heard a corpse ask how it got so cold.”
We live in God’s love to spread God’s love. Love doesn’t punch out early.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come;Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116