It's been a year and two days since I last posted. However, someone asked what my thoughts were on Brittany Maynard's decision on dying with dignity, so this is my response. I've also been feeling led to pick up blogging again, so I'm going to try to be more consistent and not wait a year ... Anyways, this is obviously a very controversial and sensitive subject matter, so I tried to be as gracious as I could be while relaying my honest thoughts.
Another important note to consider is that this is NOT a new argument. People have talked about euthanizing humans for literally centuries. (See here: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000022) I highly, highly, highly encourage you to click on that link and read about the history. It truly gives perspective on today's argument. You see, it's not just about Brittany Maynard, and I think people know that. The real issue is whether it's okay to die when a doctor says, "Your life will be over in 6 months, so here, take this if you so please?" Isn't that just suicide with a doctor's note? Nevertheless, I think the following historical passage sheds some light and perspective:
"When the 1940s dawned, many in the euthanasia movement believed it was only a matter of time before euthanasia became legal in the United States ... But euthanasia advocates were in for a surprise ... World War II broke out, and as Hitler's war machine Marched eastward across Europe ... news of Nazi atrocities against mental patients and handicapped children filtered back to America ... As word spread in the late 1940s, the euthanasia movement found itself increasingly on the defensive, scrambling to deny that the form of euthanasia it supported was the same as Nazi murder."
While I don't know where her heart is, her actions determine how she feels. What's the point of all that suffering? Why not take this pill and cut the casualties? This may seem slightly off topic, but in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, the main character with cancer, Hazel, says that. "I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” This is perfectly normal. Anyone who knows they are dying and will be in pain can say that. But ... Aren't we all going to die and be in pain at some point in our lives?
So, in this sense, life to Brittany probably looks like Ecclesiastes without God: bleak, futureless, meaningless, and filled with pain. I get it. I would want to die with dignity, too. I
As Hazel says, Brittany might believe she's a grenade, waiting to explode, so she wants to cut the casualties. But is that what Brittany's family wants? Are they just respecting Brittany's decision? If I were her, would my family want that? Would I want that? What would I be teaching people who look up to me? At best, doctors believe Brittany only has 6 months to live. But why not allow that time for family and friends to celebrate her life with her here a little longer? Why not allow herself to be loved in a way she's never been loved before?Where is the room for miracles?
In many ways, I'm probably overstepping my boundaries since I've never had a terminal illness. But I like to think that I would give my family and friends time to cope. Whether or not I'm sick, I want God to take me in His timing. Whether that's tomorrow or 70 years from now. Of course I don't want to miss out on things. Like Brittany, I'd love to have kids someday. But if that isn't His plan, so be it. Can't I have dignity dying in His time? I just wish Brittany had this assurance.
I guess the point of this is to just ... PRAY.
I'll leave this hefty, long, and winding thoughts with the following verses (and references). Just ponder the reality of Brittany's situation and really wrestle with it. As Christians, we can cling to the words of Jesus:
"I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him" (Ecc. 3:10-14).
"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace" (Ecc. 3:1-8).
Google Definition of "suicide": https://www.google.com/search?q=suicide+definition&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&gws_rd=ssl
History of Euthanasia: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000022