Life and Death According to Our Worldview
How each of us views the world determines how we make decisions, what decisions we make, and it is the basis for the forming of our opinions. Whether or not we realize it, every piece of art, every movie, all commercials, songs, books– everything and everybody presents or has a world view. Though I have known this truth for a long time, recently I had the opportunity to unobtrusively observe numerous others as they went about living their daily lives and to give this matter of worldview some deep consideration.
You see, my precious 92-year old father came to live with me one year ago. Even at age 92 he needed no cane for walking, had no Alzheimer’s, was able to attend to his personal needs, and was quite dashing, in my nonobjective opinion. And then six weeks ago as we were sitting together, and I was reading to him, he had a stroke.
I rode in the ambulance with him to the hospital and stayed by his side for the next three weeks. Though he never lost consciousness, vital signs all excellent, and he knew my name and even the names of his great grandsons, still the damage was obvious.
It was a big stroke, the doctors told me, and by Day 5 they recommended to me that I withdraw fluid (IVs) now and refuse food and “let him go.”
“Absolutely not; I will not starve my father to death merely because the stroke damaged his ability to swallow safely on his own,” was my unequivocal reply each time one of the doctors would approach me with that suggestion. The doctors tried reasoning with me, telling me that at the end of life it is natural for people to stop eating. “Yes,” I agreed, “I’ve witnessed that,” but my father was asking for sweet potatoes and telling me (even with horribly slurred speech) how to cook the ham.
Finally they tried to ply me with guilt. “You are not giving him any quality of life,” they sternly said to me.
That’s when the lightening bolt of Truth blazed into my brain: This is a matter of our conflicting world views. “You are right about that,” I said. “I am not giving him life at all because I am not the giver of life.”
The more I thought about the whole situation, the more I came to realize that it was neither from cruelty nor from lack of caring that the doctors gave their heinous recommendation to me; rather it was from their worldview. The doctors are neurologists; they know more about strokes than I will ever know. Indeed, they believed that they were preventing untold hardship, suffering, and sorrow. They view the world through their education in medicine and experience with patients. I, however, view the world through the grid of Scripture– and therein lies the difference. I am not the Creator, the Sustainer or the Giver of life; my part is to stand in the gap for the weak and helpless and to provide for their needs for as long as there is life.
The happy news is that my Daddy is at home with me where he belongs. At this time he is still unable to get out of bed or even to turn himself over, but he has regained full movement of arms and legs, and physical therapy is helping him. At present he receives nourishment via a PEG tube, and a speech therapist is working with him to help him recover his ability to swallow safely. Obviously this is not the way that any of us wish it to be, and the work is unspeakably voluminous. No matter all of that, I have no regret; I am certain beyond any shadow of doubt that the Lord God Almighty is pleased with the choices I have made. He has made the way for us thus far and will be faithful to provide for us in this endeavor until He takes my Daddy home to heaven.
It is all about your worldview– your vantage point and how you view the world. Now you know about my worldview; tell me about yours.