Death is an evasive award in my book. No… I’m not suicidal. Far from it, actually. I cling to life, just not the life most humans want me to cling to.
The new buzz-phrase on social media is “Medically Assisted Death”. Brittany Maynard is instantly famous because she’s brave enough to say that she wants to choose when she dies rather than watch her disease rape her body of everything she has. It’s brave. It’s intimate. It’s real. It’s spot on.
Honey, it’s so incredibly wrong.
Though my disorders (that often times feel like diseases) have never been guaranteed a life-stealer, they have threatened my life.
Though my disorders have never been guaranteed to only give me six months, I learned a decade ago that you can be entirely dead while still breathing. Disorders do that to you. Diseases rob you. When you’re that scared, your last desire is to be healed. There’s a point where you just want to die because the pain is too much. The idea that the healing is temporary and you may live through the pain again just in another fashion is mind-numbing.
Death is an evasive award.
I was brought up to believe that suicide was wrong. Therefore, I got really good at convincing myself God would bless it if a doctor “accidentally” helped me die. I spent a night in the hospital before my brain surgeries trying to figure out the best, most convincing way to persuade my doctor to tap too much morphine or even pull the plug entirely.
I never got my plan to sound spiritual enough. Even at 16, my only hang up was the fact I knew my medical team knew I was a missionary kid. If there weren’t enough John 3:16s in my excuse, I felt like a hypocrite. So, long story short, I cried my way through my last night in the hospital and finally ended up with the prayer that I’d learn to live one more day till God decided I’d done enough.
I can’t tell you how many times those pleas have entered my prayers; even now, when life is amazingly full. You pray differently when doctors constantly have a finger on your pulse and the words, “I advise you not to do that because you’re too fragile”. Out of exasperation, my prayers often start with: “Can today be my last, Abba(Father God)? Please? ”
When Brittany’s legal proceedings first hit the media, I was so jealous it made me sick. Why does she get to die? Why does she get the easy road out and I’m left here to…. Yeah, I’m just left here. To be honest, simply because as a Christian, death means life, every funeral I go to breaks me a little more. To be able to choose the day I die would be amazing. I’ve waited long enough. Would yesterday be too soon?
I’m not suicidal. I just want my real life.
The other day, I mumbled a conversation with the Lord that basically made me sound like a five year old throwing a tantrum. Every other word was “why?”… every three words had something to do with the sovereignty of the God I serve that somehow glorifies himself through my journey of living in pain and medical unknowns.
What hit me was when God reminded me that when He called me to himself 22 years ago, He didn’t call me to a life of ease. He called me to pick up my “cross” and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24)
For me, for whatever reason, that “Cross” has been to learn how to live in pain while still searching for Him and loving those He puts in my path. He never once said that I needed to “pick up (my) cross, follow (Him) and then decide when to quit so life can be abundant; physically at the feet of Jesus whenever I felt it worked for my schedule.”
I’m not dying any time soon. I remember the days when I was shocked that I woke up. However, if my ability to live normally ceases to exist, so be it. I may end up suffering to the point of wasting away in a hospital bed. But the day I die is not up to me. Who knows who needs to see me die in order to finally face the God they’ve been ignoring? What if… what if I had the option of just “slipping away” and they never had that chance?
Death is an evasive award… but it is not up to me to determine when my Lord gives it to me.