Old friend – I sadly read you’re your words of
February 28th. They came as a shock after so many years of not communicating. You wrote
"I am a 64 year old man. I was raised a Christian but no longer believe in any religion. I am a pacificist in a world where many people enjoy fighting. I find that frustrating. I am an advocate of the legalization of the use of marijuana and some other currently illegal substances. Most people seem to need to get high in order to remain sane. I am an advocate of legal assisted suicide. People have a right to die without it having to be a tragedy."
With the exception of the comment about
pacifism, your words saddened me. I knew you as a 34 year old man. We were, at one
time, good friends when our children were small. Back then you had a gentle joy
of life and a sense of decency rooted in your solid Christian upbringing, or so it seemed. Was I wrong? Why did you abandon it? What happened to my old friend?
I am reminded of Christ’s parable of the seed. He
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the
word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil
comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so they may not believe and be
saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they
hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while but in the time of
testing they fall away. The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who
hear, but as they go their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and
pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on the good soil stands for
those of noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering
produce a crop.” (Luke 8.11-15.)
Old friend, I thought you were the seed on the good
soil. As a young man, something deep in you seemed to value purity, character
and truth that are at the heart of Christianity – because Christ is the truth. He
said it elsewhere. I am not talking about believing in a religion: I am
talking about believing in the person of Jesus Christ and following Him.
You went your way, and me another way: You to a
successful career while I was prematurely put out the pasture by forced medical
retirement. Our friendship ended about the time I was diagnosed with multiple
Now I learn that you have become an advocate for legalizing assisted
suicide for the incurably ill. What happened old friend? That is not the spirit
of pacifism, it is violence against community and the human soul. People like me
do not need assistance to commit suicide; we need a reason to live to life’s
natural end. And that reason is love and inclusion. It was/is love (both human and divine) that gave me
a reason to live despite a horrible disease that ripped so much from me.
my darkest days I needed people to lift up my value even when I ceased to value
myself. As a backdrop to my family’s love stood the towering love of Christ. It
was not religion, rather that personal and daily relationship with Christ that
brought hope and sanity to my world in ways that drugs could never do.
Helping people to kill themselves is insanity. It
is abandonment of people in their darkest hour of need; it abandons the
sense of community in which the Common Good is nurtured and protected and where
death is viewed as the last phase of living in which our common bonds of
humanity can be strengthened (not severed).
From one Prodigal son to another, come back to the
the living old friend. Christ awaits you and so do I.