Sunday, 28 November 2010


As Brian comments, today is Advent Sunday, and I'm watching a really rather good Songs of Praise, It's below freezing outside which is my today's excuse for not going out to church. Sorry, vicar! Stiffening muscles combined with end-of-day tiredness is not a good recipe, unlike the excellent lunch we went out to earlier - it was like a Christmas meal, and again the best of company.

From Douglas House website
Our hostess works at Douglas House, the hospice for teenagers and young adults in east Oxford. So I asked her about euthanasia, and she told me that the inpatients there never asked for "mercy-killing". They all want to live and to have a natural death. She also emphasised the importance of explaining the control of symptoms available in palliative care for patients facing death. Fear is a big factor in seeking a short-cut, and that fear, Liz explained, arises out of ignorance. And ignorance is also a major factor in the popular opinion in favour of euthanasia. If people realised that in this country we really do have the ability to control symptoms and pain in terminal conditions, she reckons far fewer people would support shortening life unnaturally. It was impressive hearing a senior practitioner in palliative care talking objectively and yet passionately about something in which she was highly expert.

Returning to Songs of Praise, which has now finished, there was an amazing interview with the Bright family. Their young son Edward contracted a rare strain of meningitis when he was 7, and only survived at the cost of his lower legs and forearms. His parents confessed to having not a great deal of faith but when you're desperate you pray, as his dad said. He has his own blog, in which they wrote: "As we reflect on our journey we have experienced deep despair and desperation, not knowing if our precious son would win the battle he had with death, but win he did, (and he recalls that when he was asleep (on the ventilator) he just knew he did not want to die and that God helped him (Edward's own words)). After the despair and desperation came hope, and with that, the optimism and inspiration we have gained from our son, Edward. He is now blessed with a true understanding of just how precious and fragile life is." In the programme, I think Edward said that in his coma Jesus came to him and told him he would not die. On the website:, you can see how he begins to learn to walk on his prosthetic legs a year later. On Songs of Praise we saw him playing football with, I think, his twin brother William.

I love the wisdom of that sentence, "He is now blessed with a true understanding of just how precious and fragile life is." What a great message of hope and faith for Advent.


  1. Unless I misunderstood it, the child himself was visited by the Child Himself. On a par with Saul?

  2. Yes, I think so too.
    What do you remember? 'Lying down, and then Jesus saying, 'You're not going to die.''
    Is there anything you struggle with? (Pause) "No. I thank Jesus every day."