Instead of #LiveBoldly, Strive to #LiveHoly
It's probably the timing that makes me extra upset.
Just as I'm in the midst of working with Mayo Clinic to find a reasonable solution for a recently-diagnosed cervical spine condition, I see this headline on Live Action News:
"People with disabilities do ‘live boldly’ — and they’re not better off dead"
The movie the headline is referring to is called, "Me Before You." I'm totally going to spoil the ending for you, but I really don't care because I'm hoping you boycott it anyway.
In the movie, a young woman, Louisa Clark, falls in love with Will Traynor, a wheel chair-bound quadriplegic whose mother has hired Clark to care for him. Traynor's mother is hoping that Clark can pull him out of his doldrums and convince him that life is worth living. In the end, Traynor opts for euthanasia so that he can leave a bundle of money to Clark and make her life all wonderful with cash that will allow her to "live boldly," as he told her to do.
"Me Before You" sends the message, as Live Action News' Cassy Fiano so aptly put it, that it's better to be dead than disabled.
Are they forgetting that persons with disabilities are human beings with souls that still are able to give glory to God by mere existence? That's true for all of us, by the way—we glorify God simply because he created us in his likeness and image. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1701-1702)
Disabled persons are not in any way to be viewed as lesser persons because they don't give to the world in the same way as those of us without disabilities.
And they certainly are not better off dead!
And even if by some crazy twisty-turn of logic they were better off dead, that's God's call alone. Only he decides who lives or dies.
In my humble opinion, if persons with disabilities are feeling useless and unworthy of life, the rest of us must bear the responsibility to show them otherwise.
Granted, I'm not disabled, nor do I expect to be, unless God has something else in mind for me. I'll cross that bridge if I come to it. However, I am in for some lifestyle changes. One of them includes the likelihood that I will never again make professional trips abroad. There will be some minor changes as well, but that's the biggie, the one that's been hardest to take.
Part of my predicament is the result of having followed wrongful diagnosis and advice from local doctors which ended up causing more damage than I'd sustained in the first place. That's hard to accept, too. So, now I'm in for treatments, and if those don't work, surgery.
Does that make me less of a person?
No, it makes me a person who is loved by God and whose sole occupation is to joyfully follow his will. Not because I'm masochistic, but rather because I trust in my heavenly Father to do what is best for me even when it's very, very difficult.
That's called holiness.
Let me propose something to you. Let's you and I—and as many folks as we can get on board—change this tide. Let's join those in the disability community who already are standing up against "Me Before You" and the mindset it promulgates.
The film’s publicists have devised a hashtag (#LiveBoldly) that they’re using to promote the movie, but along with that, of course, it’s dangerous message will be promoted.
Let’s counter that.
Instead of #LiveBoldly, let's #LiveHoly.
We can do that in three ways:
- Be grateful for who you are, limitations and all. God created you, he loves you, and he will not abandon you. He will sustain you with his grace no matter what.
- Be grateful for who others are, limitations and all. God created them, he loves them, and he will not abandon them. He will sustain them with his grace no matter what. And you will be blessed just by knowing them.
- Receive the sacraments often, for they are your strength and your shield against the nonsense the world throws at you—including bogus messages that you or anyone is better off dead than disabled.
The way to really live boldly is to live holy. Understand that Satan would love nothing more than to see us become instruments of our own demise, and he's working relentlessly to get us to that point.
Don't let him.