The value of life

Tuesday 12 August 2008

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

~ Some dude

Tyler has a take on embryonic stem cell research which is personal and compelling and is called Andy.

The sanctity of life. How much do we value it? These are the kinds of questions we should be asking ourselves, and each other. If we just take the commodification monster's word for it, he'll commodify us right from underneath our noses and right down to our very bones.

Jane's friend worked in a nursing home for several months, had done a course which required 60 hours' work for her to gain her certificate. Problem was, she just couldn't do it. Working in a place that stunk of urine, with depressed people waiting to die. She felt awful that she couldn't do it. Talked about how starved for affection the people were, that if you reached out and touched someone's hand - not 'cause you were dressing them, just because - it would be enough for some of them to tear up. Living old in this culture must be a hideous thing.

Jane's friend has since worked as a personal carer for a man who required, as part of his help, assistance in the bathroom. She had been positive that she would never be able to cope wiping the bum of a grown man - and yet after a while, it didn't worry her.

Maybe age and death wouldn't worry us as much if we didn't hide them away constantly, where they grow like Gremlins. Some people have never seen a dead body in their lives, apart from the millions of ones on TV, which just exacerbates the unreality of it all. Seeing a dead body makes you realise that you are far more than your body. The essence of the person - though a cliche - has gone.

Imagine growing old in a world where you knew that you were going to be valued for the wisdom you have acquired. That would sweeten the bitter pill just a bit, wouldn't it? In Japan, Jane mentioned, there is a level of social language used specifically for elderly people. Indigeous cultures value their aged and respect them. Us - we shove ours away in nursing homes. 'Cause we're ashamed, 'cause we don't know what to do with stuff that's not shiny.


  1. oh my gosh, the site is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

  2. Love your new digs.

    Oh, and this post was great. One thing I will always appreciate about our former pastor is the way he has cared for his parents. They came to live with him and his family several years ago. His dad got very debilitated and it was like taking care of a child. When they knew the end was near for his dad, Former Pastor lay in bed next to him all night and was there when he breathed his last. What a gift.

  3. Tyler - yes, it is. Like you :) (hul)

    Tina - Thanks :) Wow, that is a beautiful story. Imagine dying with your son lying next to you - how beautiful.


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