Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Grace to Live and to Die

Matheryn Naovaratpong, from Thailand, is thought to be the youngest person ever cryogenically preserved

Recently I read about the death of the adorable two-year-old from Thailand seen in the photo above. Her death from a brain tumour is certainly a tragedy but what made the story particularly newsworthy around the world is that she is the youngest person to be cryogenically frozen. Her parents have arranged for her body to be stored in a facility in the United States, and needless to say, this is an expensive proposition with minimal hope. When we are desperate not to lose those we love and are convinced they deserve more we will go to almost any length to save them.

We can imagine the desperation of parents who know that only a few years of life is a cheat, and the same came be said as we watch loved ones suffer from cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Surely there will be a cure? Can't they find another critical trial? Who is to blame for not catching the presence of disease quickly enough?

This can even extend into old age. When son Isaac was a chaplain at a trauma hospital in Montreal he witnessed families demanding extraordinary measures for elderly loved ones whose life was spent. Sometimes it was a single member of the family who could not come to grips with the mortality of mom or dad.

The precarious health of two cherished loved ones has us talking a lot about suffering and aging and the transition from this life to the next. Central to Christian faith is learning to live fully, abundantly, as disciples of Jesus. And essential to our faith is learning to die, to accept death as an inevitability for all of us. Christ can give us grace for both the living and the dying and the hope of life to come.

Perhaps this little girl will be brought to life again. Still, her parents will deal with loss, regardless of whether that happens in the future.

What are your thoughts about all this?

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