When Is It Time To Let Me Die?

My doctor is very clear, if I get CVD-19, it will not go well for me. My stupid lung-sucking disease puts me in the small minority of the population for whom the rest of you are being quarantined.

Perhaps you’re experiencing some of the same vacillating opinions as me where one day (maybe even one moment) you’d like to poke the eyeballs of someone who says, “Well, you know this isn’t even as bad as the flu” and then, on another day, you flip viewpoints when you hear of the woman down the street who, due to quarantining with her abusive boyfriend, landed in the shelter for battered women –  at which point you scream into the abyss: “This BS has to end, God! LET MY PEOPLE GO!”

We’re not only confused from the polarity of the narratives we’re given, but also because our favorite people sometimes view the exact same reality completely opposite than us. Because this pandemic has been usurped and exploited by the political extremes it is fracturing our country into two camps at a dizzying pace. Some are desperately trying to minimize this crisis so their man looks good and responsible hoping he can restore the economy in time for the next election. On the far opposite side are those who are actually wishing for a significant death toll and accompanying pandemonium to portray Trump as an incompetent madman. Either way  (and every way in between) – we must never forget that this whole mess is NOT about politics, IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE.

These are people made in God’s image.

And people matter.

All people.

Initially, when this thing first reared its ugly head and many people said (and continue to say), “This isn’t so serious. It’s only the elderly and those with underlying conditions who are at high risk,” I truly felt as if my life did NOT matter. Those comments have repeatedly made me feel dismissed, disregarded, unimportant and not worth inconveniencing the rest of the people that DO matter in America – the HEALTHY ones.

Oh, don’t mind me. Just little ‘ole me with an underlying condition over here…  I get it that you think I’m already half dead and therefore not worth your suffering. So you just go right ahead and get your haircut, purchase that lawn fertilizer and run to Costco without a mask. I see how you value things in life. The sick and the elderly apparently rank fairly low. But you know – we’re not all that different, you and me. I, too, strongly believe in fighting for the unborn, our religious liberties, and our American freedoms; but it grieves me that now that I need someone to fight for me (and by fight, I mean “stay home”), you won’t.

TIDES DO TURN

We have three California kids and Paul and I have sat and watched the Pacific ocean for countless hours – mesmerized by God in creation. Anyone who has seen the ocean knows the tide comes in, and then goes out. Surfers, boogie boarders and swimmers all know the tide sometimes pulls you north, and some days it pulls you south. One thing that will always be certain in this life: the tides are always turning.

And I’m wondering if the tide has turned for me. I don’t know if the guilt of watching an entire nation on lockdown on behalf of people like me has just become too much or if I’m just sick and tired of the fighting. It just feels like my mindset is shifting and the winds of change are blowing…

  • Is it time for us to say we did the best we could and gave social distancing a good run, but now it’s just too much and it’s time to move on regardless of the consequences?
  • Is it time for those with underlying diseases and the elderly to acquiesce and say “I give” – concluding the devastation resulting from this quarantine is worse than us losing our lives?

Which all begs the question:

WHAT IS MY LIFE WORTH?

I don’t doubt my life is worth more than your hair, your lawns, or your beers. Most of us (Christians, anyway) would, at the very least, SAY that people are more important than money or things. So when I hear everyone talking about the failing economy as the primary reason to open things up, I feel as expendable as a Jew in Auschwitz (who were, btw, blamed for any economic woes in Germany).

HOWEVER…

Because of all the cultural pressure, the noise and opinions coming from the far right, and the collective anger mounting in our country as a result of the quarantine, I’m beginning to feel my life really isn’t worth all this suffering. I’m wondering where we draw the line at what my life (and those in similar situations) is worth.

  • I’m wondering if my life really isn’t worth the collective livelihoods of thousands, maybe even millions, who are now unable to maintain food, shelter and clothing for themselves or their families.
  • I’m now wondering if my life really isn’t worth someone losing their family business they poured their entire life into for the past 32 years only to head into retirement penniless and too old for a plan B.
  • I really don’t believe my life is worth children going to bed hungry tonight.
  • I don’t believe my life is worth soaring suicide rates or increases in domestic abuse. This makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.
  • I’m wondering if my life isn’t worth the broken relationships, the constant fighting, or an insurmountable division in our nation.
  • I’m wondering if my life isn’t worth the words “civil war,” “holocaust,” or “tyranny,” entering our daily vernacular (which, if you haven’t noticed, they have).

I have not seen actual numbers or even predictions of how many people would actually LOSE their lives should the quarantine linger on vs. how many of us will LOSE our lives if the corona boogey man be set loose to come and get us. These numbers are probably impossible to know definitively and impossible to compare. I mean, is it even possible to measure pain and suffering? And then, at what point does intensive and widespread pain and suffering equal the cost of a life? This is my conundrum. Is it unfair of me to suggest my right to a life safe from a deadly virus and with a healthcare system able to accomodate me is worth MORE than the price you are all paying to achieve it?

I have seen some terrible things in this life and I truly believe there are things of this earth worse than death. I’m concerned that as a result of this national shutdown and rapidly declining economy, many people are being forced to face some of those things. Dying while still living is worse than death. That’s been my experience, anyway.

I am 53 years old and maybe that’s why I even dare contemplate if my life has less value than others. Our kids have grown – two are happily married and the other two are soaring. So, even if I were to be robbed of 30 years, I’ve still lived fairly long and I’ve lived well. I certainly can’t speak for anyone younger than me. No one should die with children still at home. The truth is, I don’t want anyone to die. I don’t believe in euthanasia, abortion, genocide, or capital punishment and I didn’t think my abhorrence for gun violence could get any worse until I heard how Ahmoud Arbury was shot in cold blood this week.

I truly do believe Every. Life. Matters.

But…. What if …. What if we are FORCED into a corner and were FORCED to decide whose life matters MOST? Are we there and is it time to have this conversation?

IF SO, WHAT’S NEXT?

If this is a war of sorts, then there WILL be casualties. People will die either as a result of the battle with coronavirus or people will die (or, more likely, their dreams, ambitions, and futures will die) as a result of a too-long quarantine. Either way, both are casualties.

I realize simply opening up America is not an automatic death sentence for me. I realize I can CHOOSE to stay quarantined (and I will) and I can CHOOSE to stay away from people who might be potential spreaders (which is everyone, but still I’ll do it) and I can CHOOSE to live isolated like this for a year or two if necessary. I’m not opposed to quarantining the sick and elderly instead of the healthy. But do not tell me this is like “leprosy” or “TB” – because I do NOT actually HAVE the coronavirus and I basically live as a healthy person, yet I’ll still have to quarantine indefinitely so YOU can get your life back and I can hopefully save mine.

I’m just truly wondering if the time has come for me to “head to the front lines” in this battle against coronavirus in the sense that if America opens back up, my vulnerability and risk of infection and death suddenly skyrockets.

I’m seriously just wondering, is it time to let me die?

26 thoughts on “When Is It Time To Let Me Die?

  1. Mostly speechless but filled with so much love and sadness for the “high risk” among us. Would they be so expendable if they were greatly loved by the ones who so easily dismiss them?

    1. Such a good question you pose, Beverly. And I don’t know the answer. But I guess we have to just personally commit ourselves to loving others the way we would wanted to be loved. The behavior of others is between them and God and in the final analysis, all we can account for is the way WE lived. That kind of freaks me out now that I say it outloud!!!

  2. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gIPMllUV12o&list=RDgIPMllUV12o&index=1

    Not sure if this link will work… Your life is precious in the sight of the Lord and so also will be your death. Precious. Your life is in his hands. All your days are written in his plans and so also your future with him. Just as you bear the image of earthly man, Adam, you also bear the image of a resurrected Savior, our Lord Jesus. You are dear. I love you. Our lives don’t end here, dear one. The parting pierces like a knife but reunion is on the horizon. We need your voice to remind us to wear the mask. That’s beyond a doubt. Thank you for speaking.

    1. Thank you for these sweet words, Laura. You are so dear to me, too. What a comfort to know that “reunion is on the horizon.” This life is but a breath, and soon we will see Jesus face to face! Sometimes I get more anxious for that then I think I should!!! xoxo

    2. I lost my mom to cancer August 2019. We spent last two weeks bedside in hospice. She had 15 grandchildren around here that week. Out finiteness does not allow us to understand the infinite God or His dictionary. Yet His grace is enough, somehow. My terminal leukemia battle has taught me and my children and grandchildren that suffering exposes our Christ-like-ness, or not. And if we can let go of expectation for a care-free life and death, we begin to perceive what a privilege it is to suffer IN Christ, because we realize we are going to share in glorification WITH Christ on the other side of this fleeting life. As I lay near death from inhale to exhale after a bone marrow transplant, Christ was all there was in that utter darkness. Now recovered, I can share that I believe we as humans can go through anything IN Christ hanging on to His guarantee of being in His presence forever. As we give in to that totally submitted and committed faith where thee are no explanations to comfort us rationally, and best of all, there are no explanations needed.

      With love to Cindy and her family, I promise my prayer to our Almighty and Sovereign God. Amen. And AMEN. SCOTT

      1. Wow. Beautifully said, Scott. And SO what I needed to hear at this time! “… to let go of expectation for a care-free life and death, we begin to perceive what a privilege it is to suffer IN Christ…” Oh man. I need that reminder every day. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Marianne! It is always good to discover we are not alone (especially when it feels like we’ve gone off the “deep end” with our rambling thoughts and emotions, eh?)

  3. I am thankful the God decides our time to die
    “ I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart for me. I appointed you as my spokesman to the world”
    I believe those words are for you…..a spokesman for the world of the good news of Jesus.

    1. Oh you’re SO right, Kim! If we didn’t have a gentle Father we could totally trust and know that His sovriegnty is above all, I would definitely fall into despair. He alone can be trusted and that is what sustains me even when I don’t think my life is worth much. All to Jesus, I surrender.

  4. It just makes me sick to think about…how little value life has when we want to please our own flesh. I live with an elderly parent and have a mother in quarantine in a Nursing Home. I haven’t seen her for almost 8 weeks. We also have a family business that is suffering from the economic downturn. One of the questions I have had to ask is this: Do I trust in the economy or do I trust in God? Is my desire for personal comfort more important that someone’s life? God says, we are to “die to self.” In my eyes, that is the only death that needs to occur.

    1. Hi Darla – I just noticed your post so my reply is a bit delayed. I truly appreciate the quote you pose – (and wish everyone would ask of themselves): “Is my desire for personal comfort more important that someone’s life?” And I know when that question is considered, people will respond with: “Not working for 3 months IS uncomfortable!” But still, I don’t buy it. I’ve been privileged to see first hand what suffering in developing countries looks like – America doesn’t have any idea what suffering really is. Inconvenienced by this virus? Absolutely. Causing some financial pain? Probably true for many. Bored, lonely and sad? Yep – true for most of us. But SUFFERING??? Nope – I just don’t buy it. Like you said, we are to “die to self” – completely surrendering our own agenda’s trusting God’s plan is always best. Even if that means we suffer.

  5. Cindy:
    Your candidness is gut wrenching to read. You are a Godly woman and loved by so many. I don’t know the right answers, I just know that God has mandated His followers to pray for their leaders, whether they like their choices or not. Thanks for putting your thoughts on paper. We are praying for you and all those that have underlying health conditions. Hugs ❣️

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers, Becky! I feel them! It definitely sustains me especially in the times when I don’t even know what to pray for myself. I agree that none of us has the answers in this mess, so praying has to be our primary focus – and that we CAN and MUST DO!!!

  6. Cindy,
    Love your candor. Grateful for your willingness to wrestle with all the costs and responsibilities of being fully pro life. I find it unconscionable that we can demand sacrifice from an expectant mother considering abortion, but do not find the same level of outrage and conviction for life when we are asked to sacrifice for the weak and elderly. Your life and the lives of all who are created in God’s image are worth far more than my inconvenience over lawn care, hair cuts and yes even my income and retirement. Why are we so anxious about these things anyway? Did Jesus not invite us to consider ‘the birds of the air and flowers of the field?’ Something about ‘seeking first the kingdom of God’ suggests to me that the needs of the ‘other’ – especially the weak (sick) and powerless (aged, inprisoned and poor), should be our highest priority. If we begin our conversation there – ‘all these other things’ I believe will come into their proper focus and perspective.

    1. Thank you, Blaine. This is definitely hard for me – as someone who is emphatically pro-life but starting to wonder if MY OWN life is worth all this sacrifice from others. Thank you for reminding me that if I indeed am now “the other” – one who is weak and powerless – the instructions really are clear for followers of Jesus to take care of me. I find that truth so humbling and very difficult to receive – especially in the midst of this mess we’re in. Grace and peace to you and Kathy, dear friends!!!

  7. Your life has been and continues to be an example for us all. You have sought and followed the Lord’s will, and I’m betting He’s not done with you yet! I’m reminded of a pastors words, “People are limited.” We should be putting others first, we should be loving our neighbors as ourselves. I don’t always do that as well as I would like but know that I care about your health and safety and all who are vulnerable. I’m praying for our wonderful scientists and brilliant minds to come up with treatments and hopefully a vaccine. Thank you for all you do, I’ll keep doing my part as best I can . God bless you!

    1. Thank you, Shelly! Yes, I agree that we all have a part to play in this – whether that be working on the front lines in a hospital, searching for a vaccine, simply wearing our masks or even sewing masks, or just staying HOME – we can and must do our part! As limited people, we need the whole body of Christ to show up and do our part. Thank you for that beautiful sentiment! God bless you, too!

  8. Oh Cindy, I am so deeply grateful for your presence in my life and your presence In the world. Your writing is compelling, and so speaks from a heart committed to kingdom thinking and living…….for such a time as this………Thank you for challenging me to be mindful that how I choose to live has far reaching implications for life and death. All the comments from your blog and your reply have been inspiring…….speaking the Truth In love is transforming everything. I love you.

    1. Dearest Kathryn – These words from you mean so much – as you are MY teacher and guide! Thank you for all you do to share Christ-like love with all those who know you! And yes, as always, let’s keep speaking the truth in LOVE!!

  9. Wow.
    Cindy, that was such a heartfelt blog posting. It was well written, yet painful to read. Thanks for sharing both sides of this situation. Thanks for allowing us to see things from your vantage point.

    God only knows when it is time for us to die. I love your love for life and I love your stance as an advocate for all human life, all the time!

    Again, thanks for sharing.

    Mitch

    1. Hey Mitch – Well, I’m half done with you book and so now I take your feedback with MORE credence than ever! You can write, my friend! And yes, this was a painful blog to write because I have been stuck in a painful place for several weeks now. This whole thing just sucks, doesn’t it? And though my soul aches and I have no answers, I do still trust in God’s sovriegnty and that He alone can be trusted and I certainly do trust His number of my days! Peace, my friend.

  10. “Is it time for me to die?” Those words bring tears to my eyes. I worked with terminally ill persons for 25+ years; I heard those words expressed.  Life is precious. All lives. Each life. No one should have to voice them. More than that, no one should ever feel they need to die for the convenience of another. You’ve raised important points & thought-provoking questions, neither of which can be easily addressed or answered.
    This is a time unprecedented in our life-time, our world, our nation, our communities, families, and ourselves individually. There is much unknown, including the multi-faceted, far-reaching, & long-lasting effects of the sheltering-in-place & business shut-downs. Sadly, politics & partisanship have further complicated it. Truth is hard to find. Emotions run high, opinions cause division, and people, ultimately, are both the culprits & the victims.
    All lives matter. Yours as much as mine, & both of ours as much as anyone else’s. Are you an inconvenience to some? Yes–and so am I, and so are all people, in some way, to someone. Inconvenience is a part of relationships and of life on this earthly soil. But no man is an island–we all are earth’s inhabitants, interdependent and deserving of equal consideration; yea, each life is worth sacrificing for. The shut-down isn’t only to protect the vulnerable, it’s also to protect the average person; and ultimately, to hinder the spread of the virus. You needn’t feel guilty as the cause of it; neither are you to blame for the resulting consequences and whatever casualties occur, whether the wealth or the health of others.
    I recall the wording on bracelets which were a fad some years ago– “What Would Jesus Do?”. Perhaps we should re-word that, and ask “what would Jesus have me do?” Sacrifice led our Savior to the Cross–what is it He asks of me?

    1. Oh Ruth! Thank you so much for these powerful words. I agree wholeheartedly. In my heart I KNOW my life is worth as much as anyone else’s, but cognitively, this whole coronavirus has started really messing with me. I’m not sure anymore that I’m worth the things some people are saying I’m (representing the sick and elderly) are causing. I love your thoughts of just living by the mantray of what would Jesus have me do? If we ask ourselves that every day, and we feel confident that it aligns with scripture and Jesus’ own actions, then we go forth and do it! I love how you shine for the kingdom. Blessings!

  11. Cindy – we have never met but you know my sister Mandy T (DGKT). She shared this article with me. Thank you for writing it. I think you put into words what many in your situation, including Mandy, are feeling. It really resonated with me.

    First, let me say this clearly: Your life is worth any inconveniences that we are currently experiencing. My sister’s life is worth it. My mother’s life with COPD is worth it. My mother-in-law’s life as she is receiving rehab in a nursing facility is worth it.

    Second, you should not feel guilty! Guilt implies that you have done something wrong. You have done nothing wrong. You have no control over other’s actions. Those of us who are following the safety protocols recommended by respected health officials are generally doing this out of our sense of responsibility to our fellow humans. I am doing it for those I care about but also for those I don’t even know. This is my choice for a purely selfish reason. I cannot imagine my life without my sister in it. I will not, knowingly, be the reason someone else has to face that situation.

    I agree that there are issues that we are facing during the shelter in place – domestic abuse, mental health, and food and financial insecurity. Rather than fighting with each other about a virus that is not Republican, Democratic or even Chinese, we should, instead, be fighting these issues. We can volunteer at, or make a donation to, a food bank. We can call and check on our friends and neighbors. We can meet them for a walk – wear a mask and keep our distance. We can help connect them with the resources they need. This is where our energy should be spent, in taking care of each other.

    Thank you for your honesty in writing this article. Please stay safe. I, for one, will be doing my part to help.

    1. Oh my Sandy! These are such beautiful and constructive words! Thank you so much! I think of Mandy often and how she is in a similar situation as me. And my heart just aches for her. I know that I have issues because I can see that MANDY’s life is worth the fight against this virus (including an indefinite quarantine!) but I can’t consent to MY life being worth it. Okay… now I can really see how badly I need a therapist!!! Anyway, I do agree with your sentiments that we need to fight against the evils of this world – whether they are a result of the coronavirus or not – like abuse, suicide, lack of food, homelessness, etc. and realize our mandate, whether in the midst of a pandemic or not, is to take care of the least of these. That, I feel called to do and am eternally committed to! Thank you for your precious reminder of all good things. Peace.

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