I read of a couple who chose to deliver a baby that every doctor said they should abort, because the baby would likely never live outside the womb. They had the baby – they gave him life, named him, blessed him, held and kissed and loved him for the 45 minutes he lived. They cooed and took his picture and said to him, “we welcome you, we love you; we are yours and you are ours; we thank God for you, we will see you again.”
A few years ago, as my brother was dying, I wrote about the saying goodbye – how hard it is, but also how beautiful, and than life should be lived, while it can be.
But this is too sad, it is. Life is so very sad and so very beautiful. Some will scoff: “Beauty? What beauty? What kind of sick mind can find beauty in this pietà? It would be more beautiful to help your brother to end his suffering. Real love has nothing in common with pain. What is to be gained from all of this beside some medieval Catholic satisfaction in suffering?”
I can only answer that question with a question: Do you think that giving my lionhearted brother a “compassionate” needle would truly lessen our suffering, or his? By cutting short the process, do we step off the Via Dolorosa and avoid it all, or do we merely thwart a plan for our own lives? Should we steal from our brother the opportunity for him to reach out a hand and have it immediately grasped, to have everything about his existence affirmed, over and over?
Should we steal from ourselves the opportunity to love?
God is love. The world needs more love, so the world needs more God. We get more God by allowing love and life to come into the world, by opening ourselves to it all, and by not hastening its departure.