Yesterday marked two years since Terri Schiavo was starved to death (I know, I’m really up on things, huh?) for having a life not worthy of living. I got very personally involved with the Schiavo case in my own little corner of the world. I don’t know how many emails I sent out during the entire horrific ordeal urging people to pray that her life would be spared. I was pretty devastated that things turned out the way they did, but the whole thing gave me a renewed zeal – especially as a disabled person – to continue to make the most of my life and to show others that all life, even a life of suffering, is worth living.
Sadly I think that it may not have had the same effect on others who may not have seen the starvation and dehydration of an innocent young woman, but only an ugly battle between family members of the treatment of their wife, daughter and sister. In the wake of Terri’s death I heard many people say that they want to make it perfectly clear their intention to have their own feeding tube removed if they were ever in the same situation in order to avoid the conflict that erupted between the Schindler/Schiavo families. And because they would not want to be a burden on their families. This is the anti-life mentality of our culture, it is better to be dead than to live a life of hardship and suffering and it is better to bury a family member than to take the time to love and care for them.
I think that the best way we can learn from this tragedy and truly honor the memory of Terri Schiavo is to love the life that God has given to us and to keep living it despite the many setbacks and sufferings we endure – and to encourage others to do the same. We must promote a culture of life, especially among the weak and disabled. As human beings our intrinsic value is based on the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of a Divine Creator, not on our functional abilities. Life should be cherished as an invaluable gift from God, and now, because of the passion and death of His Son (which we will be remembering this week), even our sufferings have meaning.