When patients choose not to be resuscitated when things don’t go well, I never fail to appreciate the tremendous courage it takes to make such decision. But what amazes me most is when I look into the eyes of the person and I see, behind the pain and struggles they are going through, a paradoxical state of serenity and contentment.
“I had a good life,” one of my patients once said.
While we may face the reality that there are so many things that are beyond our control, I believe that we are privileged to receive the gift of the present moment – the great opportunity to choose how we are going to spend our lives. It’s even surprising how many choices we have: hope vs. despair, courage vs. fear, contentment vs. greed, forgiveness vs. bitterness, productivity vs. stagnation, resilience vs. obstinacy, humility vs. pride, and love vs. hatred. Unfortunately, it is so easy to make choices that lead to destruction even if our intention is self preservation. This is the reason why we need to be cautious and wise. We may fail and make mistakes but we have more than second chances so that in the end we can say with confidence that we had “a good life”.
Indeed, it is by embracing our mortality that we truly live.
And by accepting the death of Christ as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, we become free and have eternal life.
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