“Quality of Life?” It’s All In How You Look At It ~

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build . . . .”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

As I sit in Intensive Care watching my dad breathe on his own, I am overflowing with gratitude for God’s merciful love–no more tubes! .  It has been  six days since he was rushed to the Emergency Room; six days since my brother and I were confronted with making a life or death choice.  The options my brother and I faced were to treat the pneumonia or watch our father die within a few hours. The question we were asked was, “What is his quality of life?'”  Certainly, at eighty-six Dad has slowed down considerably and on some days demonstrates signs of dementia.  But just six hours before, as I left him at his assisted-living apartment, he winked at me and said, “I love you” when I knew he was feeling lousy.

It is funny how the mind works during times of crisis.  As I watched Dad struggle to breathe through the night, I saw flashbacks of him in my mind–black and white photos of him marched through my mind as a much younger man playing his trumpet . . . as a machine gunner in Korea . . . and as a hard working husband and father,  Losing Mom eight months ago was hard, but he had responded well to the outreach of others and seemed to be doing well until he got sick three weeks ago.  He had been using a walker but became so sick and weak he had been using a wheel chair the previous week.  “Quality of life?”  It’s all in how you look at it.

I also thought about my friend and fellow blogger Bill, at Unshakable Hope.  Bill was diagnosed with ALS sixteen years ago.  Through his illness God has used Bill to love and encourage his family, friends and countless people around the world with a message that underscores God’s faithfulness.  In his most recent post he wrote a wonderful tribute to his wife Mary as the greatest Christian he has ever known.  “Quality of life” for Bill?  I cannot presume to answer for him, but I believe it would be safe to say that Bill’s courage and determination to trust in the God he loves has made an incredible difference.

As night turned into morning, even as Dad’s numbers improved on the myriad of machines that surrounded him and he began to respond to the antibiotics–we struggled–were we doing the right thing?  Prayer kept us moving forward but we worried, “What if he ends up needing oxygen for the rest of his life . . . or worse?”  It was at that point when I wondered, “How did we get to the place where death has become the preferred option in the name of ‘quality of life?'”   

Still in ICU but making great progress!
Still in ICU but making great progress!

In our cultural preference for youth and all things material, it seems we have lost sight of God’s orderly plan for the seasons of our lives.  That long dark night with my dad, when I fretted about making the wrong decision, I lost sight of God’s perfect plan being worked out for our family.  Even so, God continued to work despite my fears and doubts, bringing us to a deeper appreciation for His faithfulness.  This morning, as I reflect on the past week I have regained that strength and confidence that rests in His Sovereign Goodness.  Psalm 46 is a Psalm that ministers to those in crisis as it directs us to find rest for our souls in Him:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
He lifts His voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations He has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
He burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress.

“Quality of life?”  It’s all in how you look at it!

All to His Glory!


  1. So glad to hear of Uncle Clyde’s progress, and enjoyed the pictures of him since he wasn’t able to make it to the family get together. He, as well as You, Norm and Diane, are in my prayers. love, Kris


  2. Praying for your family!! Thanks for sharing the beautiful picture of your dad. Cherish every moment. I took care of my grandmother a year before she went to heaven, and every moment and memory is so precious to me. Our senior citizens are very special people and should get all the care they need. Thank you again!!!


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