A friend of a friend died today. She was only 17. She had an asthma attack last week and it ultimately left her brain dead. It fell to her parents to face that awful choice to terminate her life support.
As a parent, I tried to put myself in their shoes, but I can't wrap my mind around the enormity of that situation. It's like no matter how hard I try, my mind refuses to fully processes it. It's just too terrible. All I can do is feel something of that horror, abstract as it is, pressing down on me.
Her friends set up a facebook page
to track her progress. It's filled with entries beseeching God for His mercy. Praising Him for the little glimmers of hope - some brain activity, a drop in her seizures or her fever. "God is good" was declared in many of its posts and comments.
When she was gone, those declarations stopped.
What was the point of praying for her healing? Wouldn't it have been better to just pray for the strength for whatever happens? Doesn't every prayer for a miracle just make you emotionally invested for it? Like accumulating pride before the fall, the deeper you hope the more painful the "no."
Is God capricious and sadistic? Inflicting pain of those who try to follow Him - for their own good - while rewarding those who spit on Him? Does He see us as sinners, righteously deserving of exquisite punishment? Does He see us as pridefully dependent on ourselves, ripe for breaking us down to make us dependent on Him - for what? More punishment?
In my heart, I hope, desperately, that I'm wrong.
I found this in one of the facebook comments. I hope, just as desperately, that it's right:
"I will lend you, for a little time,
A child of mine, He said.
For you to love the while he lives,
And mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years,
Or twenty-two or three.
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you,
And should his stay be brief.
You'll have his lovely memories,
As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there,
I want this child to learn.
I've looked the wide world over,
In search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Nor think the labour vain.
Nor hate me when I come
To take him home again?
I fancied that I heard them say,
'Dear Lord, Thy will be done!'
For all the joys Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known,
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him,
Much sooner than we've planned.
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
And try to understand."