Sunday, January 24, 2010


Heaven on earth is a place you must make, not a place we must find.”-My Mother

Ramón Sampedro’s story reminded me of the advise my mother once gave me. Whether she heard this quote somewhere or came to conclusion that Heaven on earth is a choice rather than a privilege I don’t know. Ramón said that living his life as a quadriplegic was a life without dignity. I understand his statement and I wonder if, he was still alive, he could understand my mothers as well. While I take for granted the privilege of walking, skipping, running, dancing, and countless other things that many differently able people can’t do; I still want to believe that people who rely on other people to help them do things have dignity. I believe this dignity maybe lost in the minds of the needy but discoverable in the person who is helping the lost.

On “Desperate Housewives” Orson has lost the use of his legs since he was in an airplane accident. On last weeks episode Orson was taking Bree for granted and wouldn’t say, “Please” or “Thank You” for all the things she did for him. To retaliate Bree rolled Orson (in his wheelchair) to the front lawn where she poured soap on him and sprayed him with a hose in order to clean him and wouldn’t stop until he said, “Please.” Orson’s response to the unusual punishment was the confession that he would have to say, “Please” for the rest of his life. He made a list of all the things he could never do on his own again: going to the bathroom, showering, getting out of bed, making tea. The list went on and Bree’s reaction was purely sympathetic; Bree realized that while Orson had been wrong for not saying, “Please” his grief and rage had been justifiable. In my mind the story seemed to say that like beauty, dignity is in the eye of the beholder.

There was something about Ramón Sampedro’s story that presented me with a question and an answer: "Why Death" and "Why Not?" While I can’t honestly write that I haven’t thought about death and what it would be like to kill myself; I can honestly confess that I’ve never thought of suicide as a viable choice for me. Nancy Mairs answer of, “Why not” to the question of “Why me?” seems to fit more than just one kind of question. For me death isn’t an option because I’m afraid of what I’ll miss. I haven’t done nearly enough in my life to be fulfilled: I haven’t seen enough of the world, I haven’t fallen in love, I haven’t done anything well, and I haven’t inspired someone. Ramón’s answer to his suffering stuns me on some level because even though he was bedridden and could never touch another human being physically that doesn’t mean that his soul was paralyzed. I agree that death is a choice and shouldn’t be messed with by laws and manipulated by people who like to play God. However, I think that death is sacred just like life is and should be entered into naturally.

I liked this weeks lesson because on the inside I think we’re all a little bit cripple.

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