Is Life Really Sacred?

29 01 2008

I was reading Craig Barne’s book, “Searching For Home”, as I studied for this week’s Sunday message.  Something he said caused a thought to brew in me that was both enlightening and disturbing at the same time.

When we banty about the phrase, “Life is sacred”, it is usually in connection with the pro-life issue.  I wonder if we truly believe that statement, though.  Does “life is sacred” only protect the unborn?

As my wife neared the end of her recent 8 month hospitalization, she spent several months in a nursing home for rehab.  They don’t call them nursing homes, or old folks homes anymore.  They have all sorts of fanciful names.  And certainly the later expression would not have applied to my wife. 

It was in the rarefied air of such a facility that I reached a life epiphany.  I discovered, if you will, a new branch to my calling to Christian ministry.  I say that cautiously, because I also want to communicate that this type of calling extends to those who are not presently a Christ-follower.  It’s something that is out there for all of us.  It confronts our society and defines who we are.  It is the calling to love and care for our sick and elderly.  It’s something that we have forsaken (maybe not you specifically, but I can tell you with all certainty that not many people attend to those lost in a nursing home). 

I became witness to stories of patients who see their loved ones for maybe an hour around holiday times.  Some patients didn’t even get that.  There were people who were lost in their own world, and some whose bodies had failed them while their mind was as sharp as ever.  Granted, this is not an easy community to allow into our world.  There might be the smell of urine in the air.  You’ll likely here the occasional, or even the incessant, screaming of a soul now locked into a dark world of torment.  There will be the ones who stop you and want your attention, even though they babble incoherently about some scheme or life event.  Are any of us so important that we can’t take the time for these? 

Is there any CEO or celebrity who is too good to give a few moments now and then to those imprisoned in a life of nursing home food and bedpans?  Is there any one of us so uncommonly special that we are above showing kindness to someone who sits where we ourselves may sit someday? 

Saying that we just don’t have the stomach or ability for this type of mercy is just a cheap cop-out.  If life is sacred, then isn’t it ALWAYS sacred?




4 responses

30 01 2008

Amen. In the past few years I have watched three of my grandparents “go home.” My mother and one of her sisters took care of their parents in such a beautiful, compassionate way. I was struck by their ability to be humble, and get dirty when the caretaking required it. I’m disabled and can’t “do” as much as I once did. I have found, compassion and humility are rare traits.

Thanks for posting these thoughts. Blessings, Michelle.

30 01 2008

My prayers are with you today, Michelle.


31 01 2008

“Life is sacred” would also mean restraining from the death penalty and in the extreme war, although the argument, from what I understand, put forth by just war-theory is something along the lines of some wars save life or prevent massive killing (genocide?).

I actually took up the pro-life cause this year, participating in an entire day of silent protest (including at school) and afterwards reevaluated my stance on the death penalty. I decided cannot judge a man perfectly enough to send him to his death, and that I cannot justify even ONE innocent life lost due to justice system error even if it is in exchange for thousands of guilty and dangerous lives exterminated.

So I suppose in the end I agree with you all life is sacred, the elderly, the sick, the healthy, the mentally handicapped, the guilty, and the innocent.

2 02 2008
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