“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
The above verse served as my mantra during childbirth. Boy was that experience painful, but I pushed through it (literally) and received a wonderful gift at the end. Life is like that. Experiences can be tough, even unbearable. But what I feel I cannot endure or accomplish on my own, Christ can accomplish through me. And in the end I will receive the greatest gift…an eternity in heaven.
The recent story of Brittany Maynard frequenting the feed on my smartphone has driven me to meditate on this part of my faith. She has chosen to “die with dignity” as she puts it, and while I do not agree with her choice, I do not judge her and I pray for her and her family during this heartbreaking and painful time.
I do understand what drives her decision. I understand the fear of the pain, the suffering and ultimately what that last day might be like. My dad had cancer and my family watched him die an awful death last year. It ravaged his body and he suffered so much. I like to think he received a gift through his suffering that none of us can understand until it is our time.
“The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” Romans 8:18
We all can learn something from Maynard’s experience whether we agree with her decision on how she plans to die–the way she has chosen to live. Faced with her cancer diagnosis, she has made a bucket list and is striving to accomplish all the things she has ever dreamed with the people she loves by her side. Let’s not wait till we are faced with our own mortality to make our own dreams come true and to ensure those we love know how much we care.
“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?” Max Lucado