What Is It To Live

I  read an article that has left me in a state of, well to be honest I’ve no clue what state I’m in.  The article is about choosing Heaven over the Hospital  which can be found Here.

Now given my own health conditions I made a decision awhile ago that in the event anything should happen to me, I have no desire to be resuscitated.  I’d sooner have a shorter life, that is more filled with living than a longer life that means spending most of my time in the hospital.  These decisions are mine, based on my own wishes for my life.  I’d never impose them upon another’s life.

And I guess this is why I’m in a strange state after reading the article, you see the person in the article who has decided to forgo hospital visits is a young girl.. Five years old to be exact. Is that too young?

Her parents seem sincere in wanting to honor her wishes.  They have tried to get her to understand that this decision may result in the end of her life.  But how much does she understand when it comes to death or dying?  Can she really comprehend that her life will cease, she will not grow older or spend more time with her brother?

The flip side to all of this of course is that we have to consider e quality of her life.  Is it fair to ask her to hang on for the rest of us?  Because let’s face it, who is really comfortable with the idea of a five-year old opting to end her life?  Then again what would that life be like?  Sure she is loved, but is that enough?

Her parents anguish over this child’s decision is raw and easily felt as you read their story.  And yet they indicate that they will honor her wishes, let her make the choice.  And it’s clear that coming to this point hasn’t been easy for them, that their faith and beliefs are strength as they all wrestle with the finality of the decision. There is an honesty in how they explain how they’ve come to this point in their life as a family.  They don’t sugar coat it as they share their pain.  And they know that at some point somewhere, people will judge them.

Does any of us have a right to judge?  Do we know, really know, what it’s like for this family?  For this child?  Why is it acceptable for adults to make a decision when it comes to dying with dignity and not a child?  Do we fully understand what a child does or does not comprehend?  Let’s face it, some of us adults struggle with death with dignity and if it is right.  So when the decision is expressed by a child, a young child at that, it makes the wrestling and struggling with this topic that much worse.

And in the end I suspect a lot of us end up in a state of something we can’t express.  I hate to see the hope that comes with a young child extinguished so quickly.  But I also don’t think a child so young should be forced to a life without quality for however long that life is.  And so I’m torn.  But I do know, it is not my place, nor my right, to judge these people and heir choices.  And I know, no matter what choice is made, this child’s life is not easy.  Nor is the life of her family.  But I also know there is something to be learned here, that even in the worst of moments there is beauty, love and humanness in each life.  And that’s what we need to remember, to honor, cherish and hold onto.

Breaking and Sharing

It was the morning after the night before. Well it was the morning after an amazing lecture and the night before a trip back home. But still, electricity ran live through my veins. There was no other way to put it. I hadn’t slept much after the lecture,I was too keyed up, too pleased and frankly it was all just too much.

Breakfast was in order, but neither my co-presenter nor I wanted to dine at the hotel’s restaurant. He was more familiar with the city and mentioned a restaurant of sorts, if I was up for the adventure. Me? Up for an adventure? Don’t have to ask me that twice.

We ended up in what can only be called a hole-in-the-wall kind of place. It had the look of a place that you’d want to pass by, you’d never consider it as a place to eat. And yet upon opening the door,the smells that greeted us were wonderful.

I wasn’t familiar with all of the food, but he was so we decided he’d order whatever and we’d share. Thankfully the table was we as he ordered several dishes.

Over delicious food, food to be savored and shared we discussed our backgrounds. He admitted that being a North American who studied abroad he never felt he could shed that skin exactly. He had tried an experiment with some of his students, a task to ask them to come up with their own “bible” of sorts, the stores that tell of their country, songs and poems were to be considered as well. He admitted he had done the same himself was surprised to see it was very much the way people view America, Bruce Springsteen for example.

I countered that he had taken icons and put them in his book, Hollywood and popular culture icons. He grinned and admitted to this. He said his students ended up putting in songs and some key historical pieces, but no literature. They demanded to be allowed to put in movies.

There is something special about breaking bread with someone. The sharing of te food, the experiences and the adventure all serve to unite us, tie us together even if just for a few moments.

At the airport I wondered about what he had said. What would I out in my “bible” if I considered it to be a collection of stories about where I’m from. He problem is, I don’t see myself as being from one place. Yes I was born somewhere.

I have traveled much and adopted things and people along the way. I maintain 2 homes, with an ocean between them and I live in those worlds easily. What could I put in my book? What would be telling of me, who I am and what matters to me and how I live?

I threw the challenge out to Beloved and he struggled with it too. I’m not sure why, but both of us seem to be uncertain as how to do this. How about you? What would you put in your book?

Important Words

He phone from some airport, in between flights going from there to here. Or perhaps he was in between a flight from here to there. Then again he may have been in between flights that were in between the hither and the thither. Perhaps he was in the yon just waiting. Frankly it doesn’t matter does it, what matters is that he was in an airport when he phoned.

He said he didn’t know what was going to happen, but he wanted me to know he loved me. I immediately thought something truly horrific had happened or was happening when he called.

You want to give your heart a bit of a stress test, get a call like that. Especially when the person who calls isn’t prone to making those types of calls. I’m pretty sure my heart managed all sorts of strange and wild beats.

After I managed to inhale and exhale, I found my voice, just a bit shaky, to find out what the heck was going on. It seems due to severe storms, Beloved’s plane was grounded. Not the end of the world. However the fact he was now locked down in an airport was close to earth shattering for him. Sleeping in an airport was shudderingly dreadful for him. A nightmare, and so he phoned me to tell me he loved me, just in case he didn’t make it through the ordeal.

In case you are wondering, he did make it through the night, albeit with no sleep.

But it made me realize how easy it is for us to get caught up in the mundane and unimportant things in life. The things that when you get right down to it don’t matter. And yet it’s so easy to get lost in the dramas of work, paying bills, what to buy, or what to make and on and on. And for some reason, it’s easy for me to forget the important stuff, the stuff that’s hard to say…such as telling Beloved how much he means to me and how much I love him. It isn’t that he needs to be told, but those aren’t things that need to be said, they simply should be said.

When I shared this with him, he said that it didn’t occur to him until he was in a situation of discomfort and minor fear that he wanted to say it wanted me to hear those words. Why we wait until it’s a moment like that, or an assumed moment such as that, that we remember to say those important words?