”When the time comes’, she insists, ‘just pull the plug: I don’t want you wasting your life looking after me.’
Dying and being ill are scary prospects. No-one wants to have their bum wiped or to be fed or clothed. We want to be healthy and strong; remembered at our best…not as flickering shadows of our former selves.
But it’s not as simple as mum makes out. Because loving someone means carrying them – and letting them carry you too. At times this is unimaginably painful. But it really matters. Who you are is who I am: when you hurt, I hurt too. We’re not self-determining, self-sufficient masters of our destinies, who engage with each other only as long as it’s comfortable.
You and I have needs. We take up space. We have weight. And we need each other. You are a burden gladly borne and I hope I’m the same to you.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
The whole way of Christ is about mutual dependence, not independence. When we let go of pride and embrace our needs we find that – far from relinquishing our dignity, we discover our true humanity.