Archive for October, 2014

Dear Brittany Maynard

You don’t know me, and sadly, I don’t know you. Why should you care what another voice among the millions is saying? Because, I believe I have good news. Like so many, your story has crashed into my world, just as cancer crashed into yours. As expected in your very public decision, you have captured the world’s attention and brought the cause you mistakenly want to “attach your name to and leave as a legacy,” to the forefront.

In interviews you have shared that it is “cancer that is ending your life,” but you are “choosing to end it sooner with a lot less pain and suffering.”

Suffering is a part of life, and no one escapes it. Some, like my father have suffered for many decades. I imagine when he was told at 30 years old, that he would never walk again, and would live every day in incredible pain, he may have seriously considered in the particularly painful days, ending such misery. I thank God every day that he did not. What my father, and many others like him who suffer, have taught the rest of us, is that we are stronger than we think we are-that even in the midst of a disability, cancer, or even terminal illnesses, there is something essential they have to teach the rest of us. Something so valuable, that when one prematurely chooses to end their life, humanity is robbed, especially those closest to them, of an important lesson.

What is that lesson?

Dignity. Our worth, both healthy and strong or terminally ill, is priceless. We are not just animals whose value is measured by productivity or contribution. We all have irreplaceable worth just because we are human, and loved into existence. We are a unique and unrepeatable gift brought to humanity. There will never ever in all time and history, be another you!

Here is the good news to the question that has haunted humanity forever; why is there suffering? John Paul II, a man who knew great personal loss and suffering said this in 1987, in an Apostolic Address to Americans and Canadians, “suffering is present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whole of human civilization into a ‘civilization of love.’” For me, this has been the very key that has unlocked the greatest mystery of humanity. It makes sense out of the senseless.

Why should you or any other human care what a deceased Pontiff had to say? Because we recognize truth when we hear it.

Think about what happens when we hear of the plight of fires, tornados, senseless shootings, or 911 victims? As human beings we naturally want to respond out of concern and love. It is often those kinds of events that shake us out of our busy-ness, our lethargy, and self-centeredness. When illnesses, disasters, and human suffering present themselves they are opportunities to respond to total strangers in love with works of mercy, kindness, communal and financial help. It releases love on the receiver but also on the giver. In giving love, we are gifted in return in love, and thus transforming civilization.

I know you are scared, who wouldn’t be? It is ok to be scared to death-but you are not alone, and never will be. Ending your life prematurely, is not “dying with dignity.” Rather it is robbing those closest to you, and those you don’t even know, of the rare and beautiful opportunity to pour out love in abundance on you in your time of greatest need. I imagine this is already happening to some degree. Your mother said it best, in it being an “honor to take care of you.” Anyone who truly cares about you would do whatever it took to be with you, and to spend every single second of your precious natural life, by your side. If you end your life, they will only be left wishing they would have had more time with you.

I congratulate you for not ending your life and extending the time with your family. Never feel pressured to go through with your original publicized decision. Know there is grace in abundance, strength, and fathomless love available to you as you walk this journey. Pray and never stop believing in miracles, they happen all the time.

I beg you instead, to consider letting your legacy be an instrument that released tremendous love on humanity. We desperately need your witness. Thank you for your courage. It is already through your witness that love is growing and we also got a chance to meet the beautiful young woman we would have never known without this event in your life. Be strong and take heart, you are no



Watching the rhythmic ocean waves hit the shoreline can be calming and I’ve found reassuring as well. It makes me think about the constancy of God’s love for each of us. It is always reaching out for us, consistently, gently. Always beckoning and inviting us that we might encounter love’s embrace.

We don’t want to get wet sometimes though in the surf, or get sand in our suits because it can get a little messier than we like. So we stay at a safe distance, away from loves reach. Sometimes we just want to get our toes wet, or get used to the water little by little, not trusting that it is safe there, or even FUN…if we let go of control.

This is me at times. I love to watch at a distance. I am afraid of what lies below the surface.

However with God’s love, unlike the ocean, we have nothing to fear. Loves warm embrace longs to enfold us, protect us, caress us.

So throw caution to the wind, and dive into the riches that await when we let God love us and lead us to happiness.