Womb to Tomb // Dignity of the Elderly and Dying

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent

Psalms 71:9

Wow! God you always prepare the way. A month ago I picked up the book "Our greatest gift," by Henri J.M.Nouwen, a meditation on dying and caring. Who would have known my family was about to experience a sudden death of a loved one or that we would receive news that my mother would need hip replacement surgery. Both occurrences have brought me to evaluate my thoughts on life and death. What is it to be pro-life?

We often concentrate on the unborn and rightfully so but what about death? What about aging? We live in a society that trembles at both. A society where every waking moment is bombarded by messages of anti-aging and perpetual youth. Old age is thought of as burdensome. As if aging were a crime. "Do not cast me aside"

And what about death? The dignity of honoring the body which housed the soul of a person, who while alive contributed to the world they left behind. We witness news of a society that sees aging infested with diseases of body and mind as a remembrance to its lack of control so it suggests why not speed up the process of death by administrating a legal dose of poison to avoid suffering. Yes, we are prone to declining in our physical attributes and yes the memory is slowing down but does this lessen the human value itself? I'd like to state "old age is not a sin"nor should it be looked upon as one. Nor should death be feared.

Old age may rob us of beauty and deprive us of strength but it does not lower us in being able to contribute or in the love of God. The Lord never casts off or pushes away his people, for we are forever written upon His heart. We are the objects of His care.

So why do we reject the dying and aging? Why are so many abandoned by society? 

Herni, Nouwen tells us that "falling in love makes us look at each other with admiration and tenderness. Commiting ourselves to one another in love makes us look together towards those who need our care; the child, the stranger, the suffering, the poor, the dying. That commitment lies at the heart of every community."

So can we ask ourselves, What is our understanding of life from beginning to death? And how can we prepare ourselves for our death in such a way that our dying will be a new way for us to send our and God's spirit to those whom we have loved and have loved us? This is part of being pro-life to me, this is how I can live the value of the life we are given and maybe just maybe through the grace of God society will receive this message too.

To Jesus through Mary-Susan Sabahi

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