I was 41 years old when our daughter, Anna, was born. She was born almost 2 months pre-mature and required life-saving surgery two hours after she was born. We, (Anna, her dad and I) lived in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit for eight weeks, many of those weeks not knowing whether Anna would live or not.
During those hours, days and weeks of sitting in a rockng chair, holding this precious bundle of life, reading to her everything I could get my hands on, singing all of the songs I knew or vaguely knew and making up others, telling her stories of her new family, and most importantly how much we loved her, I began to think about all of the things that I thought were important to me – all of the values, the things I would fight for.
In those hours of fright and anxiety and pure joy I realized that most of life – in fact, probably 95% of all of life, is not a matter of life and death! There is compromise and live-and-let-live! Oh yes! There are important things that matter. But, what are the things that are really imprtant or are woth fighting for?
Life! Along with the doctors and nurses, we never forght so hard in all our lives as we did those eight weeks . This child must live! If we could breathe life into her, if we could will her to live, then death would not have the final word. Life is one of those really important things worth fighting for. Every life is worth saving.
Love, unconditional love, is another matter of life and death. Hatred or apathy must not have the final word. It doesn’t matter whether the life and love is for someone we know or for someone we have never met or even has the same beliefs. We must value life and the love for another human being or we will be reduced to less than the human.
Faith is another important thing that matters. We must have faith in an eternal being that many call God and others simply know as that Eternal One. When we have no one else to turn to, we must have something or someone.
We must have faith in others. We trusted Anna’s doctors and nurses. We trusted their skills and talents. Most of all we trusted their sense of compassion to walk with us and to touch Anna withhealing sensitivity that Anna could recognize and respond to. We must have faith in ourselves to do the right, compassionate, life-giving and loving things that we are capable of doing.
Finally, we must have hope. Hope in the midst of despair is what keeps us going. Hope that death, evil, pain and suffering will never have the final word is the difference between life and death.
Life, love, faith and hope – these are the things that are matters of life and death. Everything else is live-and-let live. This I believe.
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