It is not a healthcare issue, not a healthcare system issue, not a medical care issue, not a legal issue. It’s an existential issue. Which is to say,
It‘s about Life.
When we are born we should be raised in love, gratitude, and hope. Love is the eternal, unconditional embrace. Gratitude makes everything and everyone a gift, and assures us that we, no matter who we are or where we are, have a place. Hope keeps us leaning with anticipation and faith into whatever gift is to come. (And when life is lived with the infusion of love, gratitude, and hope, peace is the inevitable blessing.)
Life is not meant for us to keep. We are born to live, yes, but for the sake of God and the rest of Life. If we choose to live that way, then life is good. “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living,” wrote the theologian/poet in Psalm 27. Goodness is everywhere. God is everywhere. Life is. We are born into it, individual members of that divine Continuum of Goodness. We are to be grateful for the gift and for the opportunity to enjoy it by exercising good will toward all of Life: people, animals, plants, and all the rest of the elements in the Earth, which is God’s. We are to be stewards of Life, enabling all of Life to enjoy the blessing it is, and the blessing of which it is a part.
We should teach from the first that mortality is finite, but that it is enough, however long we have. Which means Life is best lived daily. “Give us this day our daily bread,” taught the Master. Whatever we have each day is enough. Envy, jealousy, covetousness, they make for transgression, make us cross over Life’s natural, God-given boundaries. They harm, instill fear and distrust, result in anger, thereby fragmenting Life. That is sin.
Being taught from the beginning that pleasure is to be our goal, happiness is everyone’s right, that accumulation is the natural order, and no one is to be trusted is perversion. It reorders God’s order and makes us want to get out of Life all that we can, not unusually at the expense of other members in Life, be they people or animals or plants or the Earth itself.
We must accept that Life is that Continuum, and that mortality is a brief but significant God-appointed and meaningful part of Life. And we should be thankful for that, and for our place in it. This keeps us humble, in right relationship with God and the rest in Life. If this can be so, then Advance Directives and the like will be unnecessary because we will all know as we have been known (1 Cor 13) and every decision, especially on behalf of others in Life, will be made in love, which never fails. Thereafter, the challenge will be to live peaceably with those loving decisions regardless of their outcome.
After all (however long “all” is), God has provided for every eventuality. We may not like the outcomes, but the endcomes are perfect.
Can we live with that?