Thursday, June 16, 2005

Finally, Some Resolution, Except Not at All

You know that saying where opinions are compared to a certain less-than-reputable body part on account of their smell and ownership by all? Well, the results of Terry Schiavo's autopsy were revealed this week and suddenly a familiar stench is in the air as everyone weighs in with their opinions.

Depending upon what blogs you read you'll get a statement about conclusive evidence from critics of keeping her alive or something about The Liberal Conspiracy from supporters. All will most likely present such opinions with some degree of solemnity and the hatred for Michael Schiavo will be proclaimed once again. Personal anecdotes of one's own tough decision for a loved one will be shared, and outrage will be expressed at the method used to 'let her die with dignity.' Everyone from Michael to the parents to the judge to the coroner to anyone named Bush will be blamed for this situation. Everyone will be accused of pushing their own agenda and everyone will be accused of not doing what Terry would really want.

I'll tell you I don't agree with the method used to put her out of her misery, (if she could feel misery), but 15 years on a tube and a hope for a miracle after repeated ultrasound stills showed a severe decrease in brain activity? For whom is one keeping another physically alive in a situation like that? On one blog a commenter pleaded that Terry's custody be turned over to her parents 'so she can live her life.' What life?

I know that on a blog that professes to talk about matters of faith, such an opinion, stinky in its own right, seems misplaced. Aren't we to cling to that hope for a miracle rather than letting her go? Couldn't one more year have made a difference? Friends, faith does not always provide a blanket answer to questions of life and death. Where might faith have been properly directed in a case like this? A couple places.

First, faith in medical staff that they knew what they were doing. Seven years of medical training isn't for nothing. These people are making use of talents and passion that they've been given and God can work through them as instruments. Part of that involves trusting their expertise rather than our own ten minutes of internet research.

Second, faith that we belong to God in life and in death, and neither can separate us from the love of God. Terry was God's beloved child in life, including her deterioration, and how much moreso in death that removed such a burden from her.

Finally, faith that we as witnesses to the drama and tragedy that surrounded this entire affair might become better informed so that if a moment of decision similar to this case rests with us we might thoughtfully and prayerfully make the best one for those whom we love.

Life goes on, one way or another. That is what faith tells us.

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