“I want to die with dignity.”
The words of those fighting to legalize euthanasia.
This breaks my heart. I’ve wanted to talk about it for a long time, but I wasn’t sure how to put my thoughts into words. This morning I found an article from Relevant Magazine on the issue, that showed me how to talk about it.
I’m going to ignore the huge issue of how God judges suicide (call me a coward…) and ask you a question. What makes dying naturally undignified? I am not pointing fingers at Brittany Maynard. The idea of dying slowly, my brain degenerating, is terrifying, and it isn’t even a reality for me. The idea of Stephen and my family watching me suffer hurts, but I know that they would never look down on me for it, never consider me undignified.
Dignity is a point of pride, and this is where I think our perception of death has been twisted wrongly.
To live a life that wears my body, and my brain out – is dignity.
To fight a disease, to know how to release my life to God and trust Him wholly – is dignity.
To admit that I am scared, a mess, and broken, but then learn to cling to my Saviour – is dignity.
Death, no matter how quick or slow, is a beautiful process of returning to our Father. The process may hurt, it will be scary, but we will leave all our brokenness behind. We will be given the whole, heavenly bodies, the final declaration of our redemption.
Jesus has forgiven me. He redeemed my life on the Cross. He has made my spirit new again, and will make me whole. This will happen in His timing, in His way. If I trust this, if I truly believe this, then death isn’t something to fear. It is something beautiful. I will lose myself and be made whole in Christ’s blood and His presence.
I have been redeemed from a life of death, so I can now reconcile death and dignity.
Death is dignified.
For more reading, check out this beautiful piece from Kara Tippets, dying slowly of cancer, written as an open letter to Brittany Maynard. It’s made it’s rounds through social media, but it touches my heart every time I read it. John Piper also just wrote a great article with big, hard, wonderful thoughts.