You have probably heard about Brittany Maynard, the 29 year old cancer patient who is planning on utilizing Oregon's Death With Dignity Act to commit physician assisted suicide... tomorrow (November 1, for all you readers from the future). The first I heard of this was when a friend shared this touching letter on Facebook. This was the first time I had ever heard of physician assisted suicide and Death With Dignity laws. I was so confused as to why it is even a thing, how could we just allow people to kill themselves? I spent the rest of my night researching assisted suicide laws and it became the topic of my researched argument paper for my english class. However it quickly became difficult for me to find concrete, non-religous arguments against Death With Dignity. To me there was no research needed because I know that our suffering is not in vain. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) It is in our suffering that we come closest to knowing the pain Jesus suffered for us, allowing us to build a stronger relationship with Him. There is beauty in suffering! It is in our need that we experience the true compassion of those who help us. It pains me that people see their suffering and loss of autonomy as a loss of dignity. We are dignified just because we are God's creations! No life is unworthy of being lived to the fullest! That is what I think saddens me most about Brittany Maynard's story - she says she will be ready to die when she crosses all of the places she wants to visit off her bucket list. The idea that your life is fulfilled by reaching goals cuts off so much potential for God's work! Psalm 84:10 says, better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I can promise you that the sense of fulfillment you get when crossing something off of your bucket list will NEVER amount to the fulfillment of eternal life in Heaven!!! One second in heaven will make all of those earthly accomplishments crumble in shame.
All of the Death With Dignity research never hit me personally, I was hesitant to make an unfair comparison to all of the other terminally ill who do not have access to these laws and how if they can tough it out until the end, so can Brittany Maynard. But then during second period on Monday morning I got an email from high school ministry with the subject "With Heavy Hearts" My mind immediately went to Tommy Gantt, a boy in my grade who has cancer. When I opened the email, I could not believe what I was reading. It said that my youth minister, Joey's sixteen day old daughter has passed away the night before. I was confused, shocked even because we had heard nothing about her having health issues - but neither had her parents.
Today I attended the funeral of a sixteen day old baby. I witnessed the sorrow of parents who would do anything to be able to have one more day with their precious daughter. Yet they are grateful for the short time they had with her on earth and are looking forward to the day they will meet their daughter again and live together eternally. And somehow Brittany Maynard wants to cut her time short so she does not have to lose control of her bodily functions? She has less than six months which seems short, however it is years compared to the sixteen days baby Chiara got. She is okay with leaving her family who loves her so much, while Joey, his wife and his son had no time, no warning. Maynard feels that her life has been full because she has gotten to travel to the Grand Canyon, and now that she's crossed it off of her bucket list, her life no longer has meaning enough to continue. My heart breaks for her.
I believe in the power of prayer.
Please join me in praying for Brittany Maynard tonight and in days to come. I pray that she will come to know that her life on earth is preparing her for eternal glory and it has no reason to be cut short. I pray that she realizes that losing her bodily autonomy will not take away her dignity, but handling death in an immature manner might. I pray that she is relieved of her fears and anxieties concerning her death. I pray that she comes to lean on the Lord. I pray that the pressure of having such a public ordeal will not make her do anything she will regret. I pray that tomorrow she will not only not take those lethal pills, but that she will toss them into the depths of the sea. I pray that she knows that she is loved.
Psalm 84:10 Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere. I have confidence that Chiara is living these better days. I can hear The Lord say, "She is safe with Me". I pray that one day, Brittany Maynard will live the better days. And that one day we all will join them.
In His Name,
questions, comments or prayer requests? Feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I know I gave little background on the Death With Dignity Act and Brittany Maynard's full story, here are some links to more information.
The Scancella family as they grieve the loss of their precious daughter, Chiara Marie Scancella. Joey has changed our high school community and now in his family's time of need we must be ministers to them, as he has been for us. Also, Tommy Gantt, his family and their battle with cancer.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Rest in Peace beautiful Chiara. I cannot wait to meet you one day in heaven.
In loving memory of Chiara Marie Scancella
October 10, 2014 - October 26, 2014