It seemed normal in our childhood for someone to patch a worn piece of clothing so that its use could be extended. Today, we only see patches on new clothing as a fashion statement.
It seemed normal in our childhood to take a broken thing to a repair shop so it could be fixed. Today, even if you can find someone who knows how to fix things, it is often more expensive to repair than to buy a new one.
We have learned to view everything as designed for temporary use. Everything, that is, except our bodies. Even though the Bible clearly teaches that our bodies are tents designed for temporary use there is something within us that is driven to patch it one more time.
How do we know when medical efforts have been maximized and further treatment will have no benefit? The medical community is hesitant to make this decision. Doctors live under the pressure of legal liability. They also struggle to maintain the image we have imposed upon them, that of having a patch that will keep our tent from leaking or collapsing altogether.
It is only a culture of prayerful dependence that will set us free to yield to the inevitable “let’s not patch this anymore” and transfer the expiration date of the tent to the One who made it.
I am grateful for the models I have had, who have utilized all medical means, but when all have been exhausted, have been able to say that enough is enough.
Several years ago I heard Professor Stan Hauerwas say that most Christians die as practical atheists. This was said in the context of acting as though the end of life in these tents is the end of life.
Let’s pray for each other that we may demonstrate that the end of life in these tents sets us free to be swallowed up by life. Then, when medical intervention has exhausted its effectiveness, we will be free to say “No more patches.”