Your Number’s Up

75. It’s the perfect age to die, according to of the creators of Obamacare. He’s actually thought this through, and figures 75 is the time we all start our final decline, start feeling bad more often than good, start to lose control of our faculties, etc.
He’s apparently never met Leon.
I met Leon last Saturday morning, standing in line at a supermarket pharmacy, waiting for a refill on one of those countless prescriptions I take for one of my countless health issues.
Leon thought that he and I should break open the box of donuts I was holding while we were waiting. Instead, he lightheartedly complained about drug store stuff. Then he told me about his service in World War II, and how afterward he worked at “190 feet” on the launch pads at Cape Canaveral, no doubt where he obtained his dark, leathery tan.
Leon didn’t have the greatest set of teeth I’d ever seen, but he was the most vibrant, alive person I had met in a while. He is certainly in better health than I am. He just turned 97.
People like Leon are national treasures. They are walking history – people who have been there, done that, and can tell us exactly how it all went down. And judging from the news, there are more and more people living longer all the time, which should be giving us more and more practical knowledge of the past than we’ve ever had.
I worry about influential people in national healthcare talking about “the optimal age to die.” Society’s lack of respect for the older ones among us is problematic to begin with. Am I to take such statements as an indication that we’ll be denying healthcare to seniors at some point because it won’t be “cost-effective” to provide? Will I watch my own parents suffer until they die at some time in the future? For that matter, I’m a diabetic. Will I eventually be left to deteriorate and pass because the government would rather spend its money on something more important than my insignificant life?
It sounds like a science fiction novel, like that Ethan Hawk movie Gattaka. Do we really want government deciding who’s life has value and who’s does not? The last time I checked, the choice between life and death was in God’s purview, not ours. Tragic suicide aside, we die when God is ready for us to join His Kingdom. Not when a bureaucrat decides caring for you no longer offers the optimal return on investment.
I’d hate to see the world lose Leon before his time comes, just as I fear for the many people over the age of 75 who still have great things to offer the world. (How about Clint Eastwood, former President Geo. H.W. Bush, Betty White, William Shatner, Bill Cosby? Your parents or grandparents?)
Life is sacred in whatever form it comes, young, old, beautiful, ugly, healthy, sick, rich, poor, and so on. We all have something to offer no matter the circumstances of our life. Sometimes, it’s those more unfortunate circumstances that allow us to make a difference. The life given anyone by God cannot be devalued because sustaining it is expensive, or because numerous lives put a strain on the environment, or because life requires us to reexamine our own ways.
God, and only God should be making the decisions on when we die. All life has value in His plan.

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