So, I realized the other day that the past few posts I’ve written are kind of depressing, and harsh. I apologize. This next post may be depressing, but after a much too long conversation yesterday with my mom, I began thinking a lot.
My mom just recently finished nursing school at Kent State University. I don’t want to get into the ins and outs of why, how, etc., I realized yesterday she’s seen a lot. As a nurse observing, etc., she has seen life emerging and beginning, life being preserved and saved, but she has also seen life ending as well. I hear about all of these times. We were talking yesterday about my grandma. My mom has seen “do not resuscitate” orders taking place on patients, and she described the horrors of the pain that patients have to go through in order for their lives to be saved. Usually DNRs (for short) are used for patients who are older, and I’m sure it’s some legal thing because a doctor has to help a patient write it or sign for it or something. Anyways, my mom wants my grandma to have this.
Now before you decide that my mom hates my grandma and wants her to die, or any other nasty terrible thoughts you’re thinking in your mind, let me take you a step back for a moment. When a DNR order is not in place, the medical doctors have to do everything in their capabilities to keep the patient alive. Listening to my mom speak about this, this means CPR involved intense chest compressions which involves breaking ribs, defibrillator shocks, shoving things down the patients throat to make sure they can breathe, and usually ends in the patient staying alive through a feeding tube and breathing machine, etc. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on this subject, because I’m not. But I call into question what life is. Is life just breathing and eating, laying in bed all day not knowing what is happening around you anymore? Is life to be enjoyed or simply just had? Is life supposed to have a purpose? And ultimately, is life supposed to end at a specific time?
As I was talking to my mom, she told me about how she had a conversation with a family doctor who’s been in our family for a very long time. She told me he said something like this: “In our culture, we are obsessed with prolonging life, instead of accepting death”. This really struck me. It caused me to think about how we now have technology and instruments to keep people alive longer, even when their life has seemingly left their body. It made me think about our culture, and how we long to live longer without realizing the implications of life lost on earth.
It made me wonder, if people who are in a coma, or stuck in a vegetative state who are breathing only through a breathing tube and only surviving because we’re pumping food into their stomachs, if they are in heaven, and if their body is just a cavity in which they once were. I know miracles, happen, and I believe in a God who can do miracles, but what if we hope so much in earthly miracles we forget to see the miracles he’s already done? Why do we feel the need to see miracles with our own eyes when in reality, there are miracles happening spiritually everyday?
I’m not calling for everyone who’s on a ventilator or feeding tube to cease to live, and I’m not saying that their life isn’t worth anything because it is. There is beauty, great beauty in brokenness and dependence. But sometimes I wonder if we let life continue selfishly, for our own good and purpose, to have comfort knowing that someone is still breathing, even if only through a machine.
I apologize because I realize now that this post is still depressing. But to put some light on the subject, in Ecclesiastes 3, it says there is a time for life, and a time for death. And I believe that God has a time for both of those things for all of us. But the trouble is accepting it. There is great, incredible beauty in the pain and loss through death, but I think we should cling to eternal life and not earthly life, because our God is greater than what we see here on earth.