Dying With Grace
My mother and I both read the editorial, “The Art of Dying Well
” (Nov. 16, 2006). We had a particular interest in the piece as her husband/my father has been a dialysis patient for the past three years. Stephen Chavez makes it sound as though anyone with a chronic condition should abandon all medical intervention, pray, and hope for the best.
While we agree there is an art to dying well and a time to refuse treatment by “pulling the plug,” there is also a place for long-term treatment for people who will not be cured, expensive and emotionally draining as it may be.
For my father the past few years have been difficult; but in the past three years he has also lived, and lived well. The dialysis staff says Dad is their healthiest patient. No, he has not traveled far from the clinic, but there have been many letters, phone calls, and visits. He still has usefulness to himself as a person, and therefore to his family and to the world. God can use him in his dialysis chair day after day.
Dialysis is one of those active treatments that is not just for the aged, but keeps many people alive so they can work and live life. This earth is not a perfect place to live, but it is a good place to live, even if one has a chronic condition. We hope Seventh-day Adventists are not ready to deny life to anyone who does not meet society’s definition of “usefulness.”
We’re glad Mr. Buchwald can live without dialysis. We know that Dad would be gone in a matter of days. The time may come when he will say “no more,” but that day hasn’t come yet. So rather than practice the “art of dying well,” Dad will continue “the art of living well,” as long as our good God gives him days.
O. Kris Widmer; Redding, California
Eunice O. Widmer; Lakeport, California
Just a note to say a triple “amen” to the editorial, “The Art of Dying Well.” I am a retired physician, 85 years old, and I have seen many people who are “alive” but not “living.”
Thank you again for the great editorial.
Neal C. Woods, Jr.
Our pastors and members should feel free to make friends with rabbis who often welcome thoughtful conversations about matters of faith.
As a student, after attending Sabbath evening services at the Conservative Synagogue in Washington, D.C., I became a friend of Rabbi Solomon Metz. As a guest in his home, I learned about Jewish beliefs, traditions, and the philosophies of great scholars such as Maimonides. I was invited to participate in a meeting of an elite group of Jewish scientists where Creation and the Flood were discussed. At my invitation, he attended an Adventist camp meeting in Takoma Park. As I was completing studies at Columbia Union College, he called, offering to help me with my living expenses. Beautiful man! Great friend!
Years later, I befriended the rabbi of Battle Creek’s Reformed Synagogue. After attending Sabbath services, I was invited to speak about “Law and Grace” at a Sabbath evening fellowship meeting. A few months later, the assigned subject was “Jesus and the Promised Messiah.” Before leaving Battle Creek, the rabbi and I joined ranks in opposing Sunday closing legislation at a highly publicized congressional hearing. At a farewell event the president of the Jewish Community presented me with a beautifully inscribed silver pitcher in recognition of contributions to the community.
Now retired, I still learn lessons about worship and reverence for Scripture when I visit a California synagogue. Yes, let’s not be afraid to befriend thoughtful Jews.
Questions Without Answers
Thank you so much for the article, “My Journey With Jairus
” (Nov. 23, 2006). While we realize that God still performs miracles, we live in a world of sin and death. For reasons we will only understand in heaven, God sometimes says “no.” So we are glad to see the trend in the Review
of including more articles dealing with when God says “no.”
We, too, lost our eldest daughter. We were living halfway around the world in the service of the King. Our fellow workers rallied around us and were our strength through those dark days. We resonate with the Carl Cosaert’s statement: “I could know that this result was not God’s will. Death is common in this world, but it is not normal, and it is not right.”
Thank you for articulating what we have believed for many years. Telling someone who has just lost a child that it must have been God’s will is cruel. God is not in the business of sacrificing children. If someone reading this doubts that, just read the Old Testament.
Our prayers go with the Cosaert family. Thank you, Carl, for sharing part of your journey.
Grover & Joy Barker
More About Milk
I really appreciated the article, “Is Cow’s Milk Safe to Drink?
” by Drs. Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless (Nov. 23, 2006). In too many churches today this has become a divisive issue between “those who do” and “those who don’t.”
I appreciated the focus of the article contained in these statements: “Our health message is focused on bringing glory to our God, through clear minds and healthy bodies. . . .”
And, “We have to remember that our ‘opinions’ often given in complete sincerity are individual, and may be quite different from facts.”
As one with a genetic B-12 deficiency, I was interested in the little story about Ellen White’s suggestion of an “eggnog” mixture for Dr. Kress. When I recently told my doctor I had been a vegetarian for 54 years, she said, “Really!” She even noted it in my chart.
For me, this statement summed up the entire matter: “The acrimony that attends this argument--as well as others within our church--suggests we have a lot of personal ‘growing in grace’ to do before we are ready to enter the banquet halls of heaven. We are sure that, once there, we will wonder at the energy we expended in useless argument on many issues, rather than in kindly service.” Well said.
I appreciate the Adventist Review, and look forward to every copy.
Beatrice E. Green