March 28, 2005 by Isaac Hovet

This post may make some people mad. So be it.

I have hesitated to comment on the whole Terry Schiavo life or death situation. It has been something that many people seem to have opinions on . . . only because it is hip to do so. As I was huffing, puffing and dripping gallons of sweat while on the stairmaster at the gym today, CNN was covering the whole case again. At that point, in the midst of near cardiac arrest (ok, I am getting back into shape . . . puff, puff), I decided that I would say what has been on my mind lately:

Christians, who believe in life after this life, place far too much value on physical life in the here and now.

Don’t we have something far greater to look forward to? Must we fight so hard for life now? Is a loss really a loss? Or is it a gain?

Here is what I say to all of you. Write this down. Save this post. If I am ever in a vegetative state, please don’t prolong life when “death” will be only a door to something greater. Don’t argue with God if there isn’t much chance that I could b a viable, productive person here on earth. Let me go. Let me be. I’ll see you soon enough.

I know that it is hard to have an eternal mindset . . . one that doesn’t see a great chasm between this life and eternal life, but one that views them as blurred or even as the same. Sure, the next life will be different, but aren’t we preparing even now for who we will be? Christians: let go of fear, let go of worry and live this life fully and without reservation.

Jesus came to free us. One of those freedoms is from the fear of death. Why do we picket, worry and insist that Terry must go on as if this life is all that she has? Is that life? Or is she merely in the doorway gazing at the wondrous outdoors, while we fret inside fearing even a hint of the outside sun? Free her to run, to dance and to find the joy, acceptance and elation that she couldn’t here.

I think of feral children who, biologically speaking, are designed to be normal, productive humans, but because they get cut off from society learn to behave as animals. Even when these malnourished, scarred, parasite ridden and diseased children are found and re-introduced to society they often fight to return to the wild. They want what they knew, in spite of the vast freedom, comfort and relative luxury that they are offered.

We are all like feral children. We are created to live in the presence of God, but can’t fully experience that yet. We scamper around full of parasites that we can’t shake, diseases we didn’t ask for and scars of improperly healed wounds until He rescues us; until he plucks us out of this wild because he said it was time. So often when it is us or someone close to us that is to be freed, we cringe in fear of the unknown. We scurry away from freedom, away from life and away from who we were created to be.

“To live is Christ, to die is gain.”


2 thoughts on “Life-Death

  1. Lioness says:

    Your comments are worthy of discussion. And certainly valid in our cultural Christian world. Where do our values lie? In life? In death? Are we clinging to Terri’s life out of fear?
    As a nurse in the intensive care unit, I have shared in end-of-life situations many times. As you might anticipate, each circumstance is different. There have been many, many times where a family has chosen to hold onto their loved one’s life out of fear–perhaps unresolved conflict, inability to cope, or lack of a support system (amongst many other examples). There have equally been many situations where a family decides to hold on and “do everything” out of love and hope. Sometimes there is little hope, but by doing so, they are cherishing the value of life and giving it every chance to grow. I have found it impossible to evaluate these individual situations in fairness without being in the middle of it. I have learned to be cautious in my opinions and speculations.
    In Terri’s case, I find this to be the absolutely most frustrating point. Because I am this far removed from her situation, I feel I cannot make a fair and valid opinion. And honestly, I don’t feel it is my job. In light of this disclaimer, I will say I do have an opinion (although it may not be in complete “fairness”). I feel that the media (primarily stations like the very one you were watching–CNN) distort the facts irrevocably. For example, I was initially irritated as Terri’s case became public, and Governor Bush was attempting to intervene. All we heard was that Terri was in a “vegetative state” and had been for years. However, since then, I have heard from other sources (and since they are not from the liberal “media”, I’m more likely to give at least as much credit to), that Terri is NOT in a vegetative state. Her being in a persistent vegetative state would imply that she has no communication or interaction or viability whatsoever. Not the case! She has been brain-damaged. Not brain-dead!! She interacts some…smiles, for example…which would cause me to question, where does the truth lie?
    OK, I am rambling here…my other point of concern here is her husband. I’m sorry, but the fact that he has tried so hard to end Terri’s life, and then have 2 children with another woman concerns me. He has forbidden any of Terri’s family to have contact with her!! Why? When they want to love and care for her, why is he so controlling? Is his choice out of love for her or fear? It smells of a rat to me. I cannot trust this.
    I guess my quandary lies in the unknown. I, too, would certainly not want to be responsible for extending my husband’s life, for instance, unnecessarily if he were a “vegetable” (for lack of a better word). But nor would I want to be responsible for ending his life unnecessarily simply because it was “inconvenient” for me. That would be selfish.
    It makes me very angry that we are so willing to throw away life out of “inconvenience”. Our “choice” in the matter begins to take precendence, rather than the life itself. When I see fear controlling a situation (such as a girl aborting her baby because it will inconvenience her life) instead of love, then I’m saddened and angry. Where has our value for life gone? Even in the knowledge that eternal life on the other side will prove living in complete freedom from this world, does not give us permission to escort it there. Somehow, I feel we are deceived into thinking it is the “better way”. Just because one may not be “productive” in our eyes, does not negate the value of that life.
    This subject is a wide open target for multiple views…and there may not be a right or wrong answer. I just feel that there is more to Terri’s situation than what we see. She is valuable…and despite the fact that we want her to be free from her damaged body, we must consider WHY her life must end. To free her out of love? Or to free her from us? Is she an incovenience or a life still worthy of a life here? We MUST be cautious…especially when we hold such a responsibility in our hands.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Two very good sides to this situation, I don’t even know what to say. I believe it is hard to give a fair opinion because of proximity and knowledge or lack of the truth. So I must agree with you both. Both sides bring in great views, that is what I love about this.

    I hate thinking about death, but there is nothing to be scared of, our human minds cannot grasp Heaven or what is to come, if we could, I don’t know what would happen. This situation does make you look at your life in a different perspective though. What would I want?

    Well, media and politics and humans can be so sick and disgusting about things, deceit, selfishness, hate…I guess I really don’t know my view…So, there you have it.

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