Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Living Will

With all that has been happening with my Mother-in-law, we have had the experience of reviewing her living will. It is a simple document that expresses her wishes about life support should she need it. It has me thinking about what I would want my family to do on my behalf.

Talking it over with some of my children and their spouses evoked some strong emotion and maybe even some misunderstanding. If my will does not conform to theirs, someone must be wrong. I think that I should own my will and they can own theirs. The only place I see it crossing is if the situation itself is a grey area that could go either way and others, not myself, would need to make the decision.

My definition of Living Will is a persons' decision about how they want to die when death seems near. The fine line between euthanasia and a persons right to refuse care cloud this issue with heavy dark thunderous storms. While we walk in the land of the living, giving little thought to the process of dying, none of us would say we want to be trapped in a body that can do nothing, causing pain for our loved ones, and entombing them in financial and emotional burdens. We all want to live strong and we may, on this side of the walk, set our will to stopping life that would be lived in that state. The problem I see in this mind set is that the person responsible for making the final decision must agree to terminate your life and conscious mind. It would be different, however, if there was not brain activity to indicate the presence of the person lying in limbo.

Complicated? Very! Not every situation can be covered in detail by a document and even so there may not be time to review the paperwork before a decision must be made. Thus we have devised a simple basic statement that still leaves the family members to decide what should really be done and what the final wishes were.

Christians believe that a heavenly home awaits us through Jesus Christ. We have nothing to fear of death. In fact, it sounds faith filled to tell our family to just let us go and be with God in heaven. Is it? Is it faith to choose for ourselves when we meet our Lord face to face? Isn't faith trusting in God not ourselves?

When I have thought about a Living Will, I always hear Jesus cry out to the Father, "Not my will, but Yours be done!" As a follower of Christ should not my will be Gods' will? Should I not let God decide my fate? I am not saying that we do not need to direct the outlandish efforts made by good minded people who sincerely hope for the reversal of the death process. I am saying that we can let our wishes be known, making sure they do not cross over the line of playing God for ourselves, and then trust God for the grace we need to fulfill our life as He has determined.

God, Giver of life, You have numbered our days. You have chosen the way for us just as You did for Jesus. My mind cries out to understand. I would like to be sure and yet with our new technologies we are forced to make decisions meant only for You. Thank You for letting us see Jesus' struggle in the garden. It make our struggles real and gives us a model to follow. Let Your will be done! Let us love the life You give even though it may not be perfect. Let Your will be done!
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