In a news summary magazine this last week I read the following story:
‘A newborn baby who lived for just 100 minutes has become Britain’s youngest organ donor – and inspired a surge in the number of people registering as donors. One of a pair of twins, Teddy Houlston was born with anencephaly, a fatal condition that prevents the brain developing. His parents had been told he had the condition, but opted to carry on with the pregnancy because they wanted him to have his life, however brief it was. They also resolved that when he died, his organs should help other live. “He lived and died a hero,” said his father, Mike. “It’s impossible to explain how proud we are of him.” ‘
I found this true story moving on a number of levels:
o The bravery of Teddy’s parents to continue with the pregnancy knowing how it would end. I meet so many folk (and so do you I imagine) who are shaped by the death of a child. There is bruising and brokenness with all but in some situations something beautiful comes out of the darkness of that death. I think of close friends who lost a young lad and have a deep desire to suck the marrow out of life. The have loved and lost and have decided to love life once again.
o Teddy’s dad said he died a hero. When I think “hero” I imagine a Fireman running up the stairs of the Twin Towers as flames engulf and weaken the floors above. I think of the single-parent who has been wronged by their partner and yet balances the bills, puts good food on the table and shows their children love.
o Teddy’s twin will live on with his/her brother close to them. Will this be a positive or debilitating experience I wonder? Will the surviving twin be proud of their sibling?
o I was reminded of the film “Jesus of Montreal”; a provocative film about the life of Jesus where some actors put on the Passion play in a contemporary way. When the church powers realise it is a traditional play they try to stop it and the actor who plays Jesus dies. His resurrection? You see his organs being placed in boxes of ice to be given to others so that they may have new life. In some way Teddy reflects the life-giving power that Christians see in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
o The quality of life is at the forefront of this story. As a church at Bessels we are spending a few years on Sundays looking at the life of Jesus in the gospel of John. The series title is: “Life in all its fullness.” This phrase is taken from John 10:10 where Jesus says this is what he has come to give humanity. The Greek word for life used here is “zoe” and it is used 134 times in the New Testament. It refers to eternal life and that should definitely encourage us to think of life with God after this one ends, a life that Teddy is currently enjoying I believe. But it also refers to a depth of life that we can experience here before we die. It is a life of depth where we know God’s presence with us in the ups and downs of life.
o Finally, I was grabbed by the length of this young lad’s life – 100 minutes. Little more than a football match or average Hollywood rom-com. And yet what a difference! How could I use 100 minutes of my life to bring “zoe” life to those around me and around the world?
Did anything grab you as you read the story?
Yours because of Jesus – Neil.