Reflection: Re Brittany Maynard: It’s fascinating to watch the judgment of this young woman’s choice to die on her own terms after dealing with what was determined to be a terminal and debilitating illness. It’s easy to look in from the outside and say “she was a coward- she should have fought”, but how do we know that she didn’t? We read what has been told and published by the newspapers, but how many of us were present within her psyche when she had to come to grips with her life? Some say that she “should have prayed harder for a miracle” but perhaps the miracle was finding a place and space that would allow her to ease the inherent suffering for herself and her loved ones. How do we know that she did not make this decision in consultation with the Creator?
Contrary to popular belief, many people make choices to welcome death early on a daily basis. We engage in actions and behaviors that are not supportive to longevity of life. We eat foods that exacerbate our illnesses. We drink when our livers are ill. We refuse to manage stress even though we have high blood pressure and are at risk for stroke. We refuse to exercise when movement is critical to our continued good health. We refuse to forgive and heal our hearts. We say craptastic things and wish ill on people. We Facebook, Tweet and text message while driving. We engage in risky sexual behaviors. We fail to see how these things contribute to our potential early death, but want to judge someone else’s right to do the same.
None of us was with her on her soul’s journey. We are all given free will for a reason and this soul chose to use hers as she felt fit. What happens on the other side is for her spirit and her spirit alone. We cannot pretend to be about God if we choose not to extend one iota of compassion or understanding. Compassion more than anything is needed, along with some deep reflection on the meaning of each of our individual lives. Compassion is also a lesson that many of us will deal with over and over again until we really get it. That said- let’s be mindful of our thoughts, words and actions because we never know how we personally will be called to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.