True Compassion: Valuing Others More than They Value Themselves

Tuesday, October 6, 2015



Yesterday, California Governor Brown signed into law the so called "Right-to-Die" Bill (ABX215). Physician assisted suicide will now be legal in California, as it already is in four other states.

What really got to me was Governor Brown's reasoning for signing the bill:

"In the end, I was left to reflect what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to consider the options afforded by this bill."

What I find interesting is that more often this "option" is not so much a comfort for the patient, but an out for the family/friends.

If an ill person is so sick that they do not value their own life more than the feelings of others - it is our job to value it for them. That is what it means to show love and compassion to a person in pain.

It is our failure, as a society, to learn how to deal with the pain and suffering of others that has led us to this warped world where patients give up their lives to make things "easier" for their families.

Terminally ill patients did not walk into that doctor's office thinking they would only fight until they were not supported  anymore. That idea seeps in through the little failures of their supporters: failure to smile, to show hope, to just be there, to laugh, to find joy.

To a lesser degree of consequence, I see the building blocks of this failure in many other situations. The new mom isolated at home and completely over her head with this perfectly needy newborn.
The homeless man who misses the days when people would look him in the eye on the street.
The elderly woman who loves people but feels no one is interested in the musings of an old woman.

What they all need is to be valued for their personhood first and foremost.
Not for what they can give society.
Not for how little demand they place on others.

People are worth fighting for because life is worth living. Period. No qualifiers. No maybes. No exceptions.

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