Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sickness Unto Death: An Unexpected Adventure

My friend Geoff King, a Jesuit of the Australian province, was just telling me about an article he wrote in the Melbourne Age about his own take on assisted suicide. Geoff has a motor neuron disease that is slowly deteriorating  his muscles.  For over a year he's been in a wheel chair, unable to stand.  His mind is still sharp as a tack, he teaches canon law at our school of theology in Melbourne; he's also a damn good cook.

The piece he wrote is quite striking for its beauty and its honesty.  Geoff is not living in some dream castle faith-based fairy tale, but he's not shaking his fists and screaming, either. There's a remarkable sense of reflection to him, of taking in what is happening and what will happen, and letting it come, even a sense of wonder about the whole thing. 

I lived with Geoff for about 6 weeks in 2008 and 3 more last summer. He's a remarkable guy.  I hope you'll take a moment to check out his reflections.  They're well worth it. 

An excerpt: 
For me, life is a gift from God. So far it has been an extraordinarily generous gift. I have been able to do things, and to experience things, and to go to places (places of the heart as well as geographical places) that I would never have conceived of when I was, say, 20. I have had a wonderful life, and for this I am immensely grateful. I have now entered into much darker places, but even here I find new life: there is a sense of adventure, for example, in finding how to do even simple things from the constraints of an electric wheelchair.
I know I haven't been writing for about a million years. My plant died -- it was a whole thing. I graduated from UCLA; if you know someone who works in the TV business and might be intrigued by a hard working Jesuit who does not only scifi and drama pilots but sharpens pencils, arranges donuts and takes notes like nobody's business, give them my name! And I'm in Australia for a few weeks checking out the country's upcoming election. A whole other and much more fascinating thing.  

I'm thinking about trying to occasionally post little things I'm finding on the internet, little moments of laughter or thoughtfulness. It's a goal. Consider this a first course.


Michelle said...

The link doesn't work, alas!

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