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On the side of the downtrodden

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2 hours ago, Tamela said:

Hello, Mark and JTC!

I hope  you don't mind me joining in just a bit. This is a really awesome discussion you have going. I am currently both studying and am engaged in the mental health professions (basic level at this point), and it can be eye-opening and challenging to serve with innate Christian values always resonating within. I am challenged both by God and Jesus, as well as seeing the "other side of the coin" through the eyes of people going through circumstances that bring me down from a lofty perspective, and into the reality of what people face in their lives--situations I may have never personally been in myself. For this reason, I make it a point to expose myself to as many people as I can, and talk with them openly to hear their side of a life story. I also carefully choose documentaries that I feel are candid, as un-embelished as possible (NOT "reality" T.V. for example), and force me to get down into the heart trenches of the suffering--a place where Jesus actually is (He didn't come to heal the well, but heal and serve the suffering).

All of that being said, I have had to face hotter topics such as abortion, mercy killings (right to die), and much more. I am grateful for the exposure. One of the first documentaries that opened my eyes as to mercy killings, is "To Die in Oregon" on Net Flix. I strongly urge anyone interested in expanding perspectives, to watch this well done documentary. I serve at a crisis hotline center, where during training it came up what would we do if an elderly person, or person with a chronic disease, called and asked that someone simply stay with them on the phone while they ended their life (this is called an "in-progress suicide"). They simply didn't want to die alone. What would be expected that I do? Given the nature of my work, we are expected to save that person's life at any cost; if at all possible. I acknowledged that fact, and confirmed that I would honor that agreement. However, I took the time to present "To Die in Oregon" and expanded on the fact that there are times when no one can decide for another whether they should endure pain and suffering beyond that which we most likely can imagine. Who am I to dictate that under any line of reasoning? Who's to say that mercy killings for those suffering with latter stages of cancer isn't any more mercifully rendered by God than an epidural to ease the pain of childbirth? Well...over time I have begun to think that it just might be so. I think the best way to sort it out is to expose oneself to those who have suffered, and to try--if at all possible--to put either oneself or one's loved one in the same position, and candidly reflect on what you might honestly do.

One of the requirements in my crisis paraprofessional training, was to take an in-depth assessment as to my views on abortion. It was highly intense, and I fully took my time--writing out my line of reasoning on each question that spanned over three pages (upwards of 50 questions). I scored neutral on abortion, with a slight preference to choice. What this means is, I do not view abortion through a cut-and-dried lens (consider women who are raped or molested for a small example), and I uphold the right of choice. If I want my rights, the fact is I have to honor the rights of others as well. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. I think societies globally have worked diligently to promote sexual health via contraception--not only for the sake of unwanted pregnancies, but also STD's. Sexual protection is so free and accessible these days, what with the taboos of even talking about it broken down. Yet, people still take the risk. Why? The numbers of unwanted pregnancies and STDs have decreased (in the United States) over the past decade, but we still have a long ways to go. I have deeper thoughts on it all, but that is beside the point. I think a continuing generating of awareness is necessary, along with making prevention accessible always (including for special needs individuals). Of course always helpfully vital--is building a trusted rapport via a supportive, non-judgmental, and empathetic soul-stance.

Kudos to you, JTC for utilizing your circumstance to serve the greater good in all ways possible. You have certainly touched and ignited me, as you obviously have others. Praises to God and Jesus. Thank you so much for allowing me to share a bit from my own understanding and perspective. Any feedback is completely welcome, as I forever have more to learn.

Have a blessed day <3 !


Hi Tamela,  I think it's great that you stay on the phone with a cancer patient while they wait for the euthanasia drugs to work. About 2 yrs ago I heard of a couple in Belgium (I think) who both committed euthanasia because neither wanted to face old age without the other. I think they jumped the gun because they were only in their 60's. They had married kids but their kids had disowned them for some reason. All this got me thinking. What about a person like me with no family or real friends and illnesses that prevent me from getting around. Our current laws don't allow a person in my situation to commit euthanasia but I see our society moving towards that. The better solution is senior citizen centers where older people can go. But we don't have them. It's assumed we all have family. There is a supposed Sr. Cit center where I live but it's really just a way for lazy people to make money and at the same time pretend something is being done. I've called them 3 or 4 times and usually they blow me off the phone. I think they will help a person who's bed ridden or can't walk at all. I'm not that bad yet and I thank God for that. But I'm looking for a lace lonely people can go and play chess, checkers, cards, or bingo, anything really. I'm glad you joined the conversation. 


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38 minutes ago, JTC said:

Hi Tamela,  I think it's great that you stay on the phone with a cancer patient while they wait for the euthanasia drugs to work. About 2 yrs ago I heard of a couple in Belgium (I think) who both committed euthanasia because neither wanted to face old age without the other. I think they jumped the gun because they were only in their 60's. They had married kids but their kids had disowned them for some reason. All this got me thinking. What about a person like me with no family or real friends and illnesses that prevent me from getting around. Our current laws don't allow a person in my situation to commit euthanasia but I see our society moving towards that. The better solution is senior citizen centers where older people can go. But we don't have them. It's assumed we all have family. There is a supposed Sr. Cit center where I live but it's really just a way for lazy people to make money and at the same time pretend something is being done. I've called them 3 or 4 times and usually they blow me off the phone. I think they will help a person who's bed ridden or can't walk at all. I'm not that bad yet and I thank God for that. But I'm looking for a lace lonely people can go and play chess, checkers, cards, or bingo, anything really. I'm glad you joined the conversation. 


JTC,  in case you don't have it here is a Resource Page for Retirees/ Seniors  in NY State Maybe you can locate a recreation center or a Seniors drop in center.



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Hi, JTC!

Thank you so much for sharing more with me. Thankfully, I have not encountered a caller who is in-progress, and asking to be accompanied in dying. However, it did come up as a definite possibility in our training. We would actually be expected to do everything possible to keep that person alive. My point, however, is that there are instances where someone wishes the right to end their pain and suffering at the hands of a latent stage chronic illness. It is one which has been advocated for by people who have agreed to be filmed through their suffering and deaths, and by those family members who have gone through it with their loved ones as well. Rarely is any concept cut-and-dried, and it is always good to be willing to look at all angles, even if it doesn't seem agreeable.

It sounds like you are experiencing both emotional and physical suffering? I am not sure what your physical illnesses are, but have a brief understanding of your emotional pain. From what I can understand, some social interaction would make a positive difference for you, but resources seem limited. Unfortunately, the ones that are available are not very good ones. I am sorry to hear this :( !

I looked at the informational links which Davida left. Did you check any of those out? I am not certain of all resources in your area, but I also answer the resource and referral lines for United Way 2-1-1 (for Illinois region). However, this number will connect you to help in your area as well. It is a free, nation-wide service. I strongly recommend calling them (211). They will be able to brain-storm and look through many options with you. There may be day centers provided in your area through organizations such as the Salvation Army and YWCA. There are transportation services typically available for seniors along with many home services. Again, I cannot say specifically, but it is certainly worth making the call to talk with someone and let them research options for you. Are you a veteran by chance? If so, make sure to include that information when you call, as there may be specific services available for that as well. Resources located through United Way are ones which are affordable and/or simply free. Often times, these may not be easily found via internet browsing. Also, there is emotional support provided 24/7 via that number, which can help in times of loneliness/isolation. Call backs can be arranged also, to make sure solutions are being found, and what more can be done if necessary. Let me know if you try this out, and if anything positive came of it.

I really thank you for your thoughtful reply to my sharing. Controversial topics are not always met so kindly. Though being kind does not mean agreeing, it does mean being willing to listen and consider the perspectives of others. This says a lot about your true Christian character, JTC. I greatly look forward to hearing back  from you. Have a blessed day, and it is wonderful to meet you!





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When I wrote this piece, I was not trying to change anyone's mind on the subject.  I was really speaking to those who are pro-life and are very passionate about it.  We need to speak out, without worrying about change, only God can touch hearts, and that includes mine.  To become bitter, or judgmental in the way the Christ Jesus told us not to do is to become what we are fighting against.  It is important that in speaking truth, we never forget the dignity of those we are seeking to help and be with.

Tamela, you are entering into the experience of those who suffer.  You are not standing outside making harsh judgments, that is not our place, so good for you.  The Lord will use you in a powerful way.

A good friend of mine, who is not a Christian, but a thoughtful man wrote me and disagreed.  He is a man who does care for others, but I feel he goes along too much with the current climate in thought.   Below is my response to this difficult situation.

"I think there is universal access to contraception.  I believe that is another question.  However when the sexual act is reduced to 'play' without regard for consequences is a problem.  Maco, one reason you are interested in the rights of animals is that they are not objects to you, nor are they commodities, they are real living creatures.  I don't always agree with everything you say about animal rights, yet people need to stop looking upon animals as things' and in that I applaud you.

The same goes for the 'fetus'.  Funny, when a woman wants to have an abortion, it is a fetus.  When she wants to keep it, it is a child developing.  We use words to protect us from understanding the evil in what we are doing.  Cruelty to animals for instance.  We can call it sport, or scientific experimentation etc.  That way we don't have to face the suffering we cause other animals.  We label them.  We also label the life in the womb as a 'fetus' or 'mere tissue''.   Or the 'Woman's right
 to choose ', mind-numbing repetitions to cover over the conscience.  I can't believe that during the democratic convention a woman got up a bragged about getting an abortion, how it helped her in her career.....so the life in her womb was a commodity, mere tissue, if she wanted the child, I doubt she would think in those terms.  Abortion is murder, that is legal, just as mercy killing in this country will soon be.  When something becomes a law, it matures, grows and can get out of control.  Like in the Netherlands.  Doctors are starting to choose on their own who is to live or not.  That was not the intention of 'mercy killing', yet when doctors overstep they are not persecuted.  Roe and Wade was introduced with the intent of allowing abortions for women in danger......now it is a right for all woman.

However, the issue goes beyond my thoughts on the issue, or yours.  It is here to stay; like I said. for it to lessen significantly or to even go away, cultures would have to change in ways that are impossible.  So all anyone can do who is pro-choice is to stay calm, loving and compassionate.  Life is very, very, very, messy.  Becoming violent, insulting and physically aggressive only makes things worse for everyone.

My post was not directed at people who are pro-life but towards those who understand the sacredness of life in the womb so that they will not despair, or get angry or violent.  I do not underestimate our potential for violence, in  me, you, or the gentle old lady who lives in her apartment."





Edited by markdohle

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Hi, Mark!

Wow....so very well stated, and a lot of serious food for thought, Mark. It definitely can be--and is--a slippery slope to be sure. Should rights be withheld from everyone due to those who abuse it? Well...no, but on the other hand, I think those who abuse such rights outweigh those who don't, unfortunately. I would be completely wrong to deny that fact for sure. There definitely should be regulation, but those boundaries get blown through often times as well. I prefer to stand for the underdog, even within controversial issues, because they do exist and should have an advocating voice. None of the less, I can definitely understand all of your valid thoughts, and I feel many agree with you, Mark. I really thank you for giving me the opportunity to share other perspectives, while also keeping your own in focus as well. It should be kept in focus, frankly says. Some of these issues are like putting a loaded gun in a child's hand to be sure. So much discernment is required, and perspectives can run ever deeper. It has been a true pleasure talking with you, and I hope to enjoy the opportunity again. You have given me a lot to think about, and I thank you for that <3


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You have a heart similar to mine, although much younger. I wanted to be a psychotherapist because I wanted to help people. I still like to help people. When I help others I help myself as well. I've known many people who can't fathom this but then there's people like you who also have a heart to help. I thank God for people like you.

I didn't try those links yet. Which is the phone # you want me to call, 211?  I have a strange phone. It's called the Assurance wireless phone and it's free because I'm on disability. The catch is every call counts towards the 500 minutes they give me each month. Even 800 numbers are charged for. But lately I've had enough minutes. Actually it's sad. No one wants to speak to me so I haven't even used the 500 minutes the past 2 months. In the past 5 years everything I have tried turns up negative. I don't even feel like trying anymore but I know I have to. Maybe a miracle will happen for me.

About 7 yrs ago I met a young woman who was in grad school working on her PhD for Psy. She was surprised to hear I almost became a psychotherapist which surprised me. 45 yrs ago psychotherapy was still an occupation done mostly by men. I see that has changed and I think that's good. Women are more compassionate by nature than the average man is. Of course not men are average, like me, I'm not typical. But I like the way I am. I just wish God had blessed me with a family. 

So I guess I'm totally off topic here. I hope you stick around Tamela. 

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