12 August, 2008

BAP - Pastoral Exercise

Pastoral Exercise
· Ted and Jane, couple, long-standing friends of yours. Committed Christians.
· Ted’s health was deteriorating fast. He went through ten years of pain and grief due to a degenerating disease. His condition took for the worse in the last few weeks.
· The couple decided to opt of euthanasia in Amsterdam.
· Once back home Jane feels guilty and remorse for helping her husband to die. She writes to you asking for counsel.

Dear Jane,
I have just received your letter and I am still trying to gather my thoughts. I can only faintly imagine the pain and sorrow you are experiencing at this moment.
I know all the difficulties you went through in the last ten years and I am very sorry that – as a friend – I didn’t pick up any hint of Ted’s decision to end his tribulations in this way.
As you know I saw relatives going through similar degenerative diseases and I could not say what I would have done if presented with the same requests as your husband’s.

I know the two of you loved each other very profoundly and I suspect that if Ted was resolved to take his life it wasn’t just to spare himself from what many now would call an ‘undignified death’. Not at all. He probably wanted to free you as well from what he regarded as a burden unfairly laden on you; a burden that in the last few weeks seemed to become the more and more heavy for the both of you to carry.

Remember the love you bore for one another and think about how selflessly and faithfully you cared for Ted in every day of your life together and even more so in the last ten years.

My Dear Friend, ‘Through Love and Faithfulness sin is atoned for’ (Prov 16). Do not torture yourself with guilt but trust in the ever-loving God both you and I believe in, as sometimes it is more difficult to forgive ourselves than to rely on God’s abundant Grace.

I hope we’ll have the opportunity to meet very soon to talk, pray together and to give you the chance to better voice your concerns and fears.
I’ll give you a couple of days to receive this letter and then I’ll drop by on my way from work.
You are in my prayers and my thoughts are with you. You might find it difficult to pray at this stage. Keep with you the words of a hymn we often sing in church: Just as I am.
Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Lots of Love,


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