Thursday, October 9, 2014

the beauty in dying

Did you read the story of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old with brain cancer in Oregon? She plans to legally end her life on November 1. When I read her story and watched her heart-rending video this week, I was saddened and horrified, especially by the support and encouragement she is receiving regarding her decision.

But then, I'm not dying of cancer. I didn't know how to express my sense of how Brittany's decision seems so wrong. I couldn't lend credibility until I read a post on Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience. Ann's friend Kara Tippetts, a 38-year-old mother of four, also has stage 4 cancer. Kara opens her heart to Brittany, imploring her in love to reconsider her decision that looms less than a month away. It is tender, affirming and loving in every way. Please read and decide for yourself:

"In our dying, He meets us with His beautiful grace," says Kara. How I came to know this truth on my four years of trips to Nashville to be with my dying father. I hated those trips. But I loved them, too. In that last year, as painful as it was to witness Dad's agonizing decline into dementia and death, I emerged on the other side realizing that beautiful grace.

God granted me the beauty of getting to know my father: a man who managed to hide his real self. God showed me how to stretch beyond my comfort and pain-free life to hold the hand and heart of my dying father. He comforted me on every drive home from Nashville as tears fell. God drew me ever closer through music and scripture, speaking to my heart that He had me, and He had my dad.

If this wasn't grace in dying, please tell me what is. Grace. It's a gift, an unmerited gift. My father's death was a gift of grace and powerful love for us both as we drew ever closer.

Had my father been able to take a pill to end his life, well, the gifts and grace and intense beauty would have been stolen. And his life would have ended before God had planned. God creates life and it is He who takes it away.

My times are in your hands ...
Psalm 31:15
As for God, his way is perfect ...
Psalm 18:30

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