Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday: An Unexpected Post

Today, in my meager and humble faith, is the holiest day on the Christian calender. I had thought of not writing a blog today, leaving my mind fallow for a few hours. But then, constantly intruding, constantly interupting, something someone said won't leave me. I've decided to take it as a prompt, so here goes.

Here in Toronto there has been a huge controversy over two babies. One expected to die was to give her heart to one expected to live. The decision made she was taken off life support and ... she breathed on her own. There ensues all sorts of discussion - including whether she should be fed as there is a high cost in caring for her.

I'm leaving that discussion alone. Everyone here at Chewing the Fat knows my feelings about those feelings.

But someone said, "God must have a special purpose for her."

I know, I know that this was meant kindly. But. I do not take it kindly. What does this mean? That there are those for whom God does not have a special purpose? That there are those who's deaths are not tragic? Those not wanted or welcomed home in heaven? That there are those upon whom God does not smile with love and favour?

This disturbs me. It arrests my faith. For, simply, I thought we all had a special purpose. I had no idea that there were those borne for no purpose. I had no idea that God was that horribly cruel. I can't imagine taking a purposeless breath. I can't imagine my heart beating a purposeless rhythm. I cannot imagine living a purposeless moment.

I am here.

I have things that only I do.

I am unique.

There is only one me.

There is a pattern that I have been woven into. I believe, completely believe that that little baby, that those little babies, have their purpose, have their place. I believe that God, the one fully constant love for the entirety of my life, has the capacity to see my purpose, our purpose, his purpose, her purpose, your purpose. I believe that creation begins and ends with God's love. I believe ... well, I guess that's what I wanted to say ... I believe.

In both babies.

In God.

And in purpose.


HeatherUK said...

I understand that we all have our place in the scheme of things, but does it really matter?
If someone needs to think that that baby has a 'special purpose' in order to be loved.
If thinking that way is the incentive or the initial drive to start the love does it matter?
In time that baby shall be loved for the person that they are no matter what started it.
I am not disagreeing with you Dave.
Just chewing the fat.

Belinda said...

I can only say a heartfelt, "Amen," to all that you believe, as well as understanding how people try to make sense of things that are hard to understand.

I, too, believe with every fibre of my being that every life is a sacred thing and precious in itself. That's what this week has been about celebrating with the final closure in Ontario of institutions. No one is less or more.

foodie4access said...

I so agree with you about everyone being special and important, but I think the emotion trying to be conveyed in that phrase is "don't throw away a life, because it is not perfect."

As a parent of two children with special needs, what would I have done back then, if I knew the hard road I would have to take? Looking at the expense, the constant care needed and the loss of hopes and dreams every parent starts off with, what would I do, if I were in their shoes?

I think when people say "that child has a special purpose," they are thinking, "No, they won't grow up to be a doctor, or a lawyer or a soccer pro, but don't discount them.

I think they expouse the very ideas you put forth here today.

If I were those parents, I would take my children home and love them for as long as I had them.

CJ from California said...

This child has purpose just by "being." And yes, it matters.

Perhaps some may be astonished that the "purpose" did not include being an organ donor.

Why, I am not sure.

To all of the Christians here, I wish you a peaceful and happy holiday.

As for me, I will be celebrating my exodus from Egypt.


miss kitten said...

me, i'm a happy little pagan. :)

*every* life has purpose. we just dont always know what it is. when my son was little, he came to work with me, as i was a bus attendant on a special needs bus route. HE taught me, at age 3, that ALL kids are special. that just because this bit or that bit doesnt work like everyone else's, doesnt make them worth less...but differently worthy.

even the kids they considered "profoundly disabled"...well, we had one kid on *that* route that i had to watch like a hawk because otherwise he'd be grabbing my bits every time i got close enough (and to secure a wheelchair, you *gotta* get close enough!). he knew what he was up to.

no one knows what that baby's special purpose is. even if its only to make us remember, for a moment, that life is tenacious, that baby is special...because it IS.

*hugs you* dave, you're extra special too.

FridaWrites said...

I think it's a completely appropriate post for today. Her purpose isn't to live just to be an organ donor, though she may be one at some point.

Unknown said...

Yes indeed.
I honestly think it's a little creepy how every time a child has some sort of supposedly fatal abnormality and lives with it people try to steal that life. :O

Happy Easter to all of you!

S. said...

Amen to that. Though unexpected, this is I think a perfect post for Good Friday. What's observed today means hope for everyone, doesn't it? Not an elect and purpose-filled few.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it seem selfish to concede the notion that every life (especially yours!) has to be "special"? Is it so hard to enjoy this universe and have nothing to do with it?

If I died, if our entire race died, the universe wouldn't even notice.

But I'm cool with that. There's cake. And pie. That's enough reason for me.

Christina said...

I was talking to my sister-in-law about this and she said "well, can't they still donate the organs? the parents can make that decision..." ummm... NO at this point, that would be MURDER. She isn't dead - therefore she has the RIGHT to life. sheesh.

I too am a happy pagan, but deeply connect to the story of easter (and it's not just about the hot cross buns!). Thank you for this really affirming and inspiring post.

Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

I've got to really disagree with your stance on this one, Dave. I think you're confusing "special" with "valuable." Every life has value, every person is unique, but some enter this world to stand out as message/symbol/ideal while others live quieter lives. The best example I can come up with quickly is Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She lived her belief in the value of every life, and worked tirelessly to uphold the dignity of every person. I believe that Mother Teresa herself was special, and offered an amazing example to us all.
I think we are equal in the Lord's eyes, but some of us are given tasks far beyond the ordinary. That's how I see "special" in this context.

Traci, Advocate said...

I read your blog daily, but have never commented. Today, however, I felt I must--your post moved me to tears. Once again, your wisdom and insight into difficult issues amazes me. Wishing a Blessed Easter to you and Joe.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your blog Dave...challenging as ever.
I say amen to all that you say about every life having a purpose...what I come unstuck on is the purpose for the other presumes that life for them will be increasingly difficult and that the road for the parents more fraught and anxious...and that the only joyful resolution will come out of the pain and heartbreak of another family...that's quite a cycle.
So I guess that my question is really a bigger one about purpose...point...meaning.
I'm not sure about the purpose/point of giving joy and then taking it away...and yet it is Easter...well here in the Southern Hemisphere it is almost Easter...and the big point and purpose is being worked out as I write...
Have a deeply joyous Easter...

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Thanks for this post. All I could think of in church on Good Friday were those 2 babies and their families. The way I see it, those parents' hearts are breaking and they are trying to have something good come from it. I don't think that they devalue the life of one infant over the other. They have heart wrenching decisions to make that I pray I never have to make. The father of the child who survived having the respirator removed has commented that he will be guided by his daughter and she has shown her will to live. That speaks of love, in my opinion.

I agree with you and the commenters who say that each life is valuable, each life has purpose. As for where is the joy for those parents? That is something they will have to discover for themselves. But I believe that the potential for joy is there in those little lives as it is in all lives.