Euthanasia and Crazy Aunts

I did a dumb thing last week–I attempted to watch an old Cary Grant film, Arsenic and Old Lace. I say “dumb” because if I had been completely honest with myself, the premise was against my better judgment. But I’d heard so many people say, “It’s so funny!” “Cary Grant makes such great faces!” “I laughed my head off!”

I like to laugh as much as the next person. I like black-and-whites. So I thought I’d try it. Which shows I’m just as easily influenced as anyone, and I must be more on my guard.

If you’ve never seen the movie, the premise is Cary Grant’s character, Mortimer Brewster, visits his brother and two old-maid aunts in the old family home. Everyone thinks the aunts are sweeter than sugar-syrup, the kindest little old ladies you ever hope to meet. But Mortimer discovers his aunts have a warped sense of kindness.

They have developed a habit of poisoning old men who have no family left because they feel so sorry for the lonely old men. At least, that’s the reason they give Mortimer when he demands to know why there’s a dead body in the windowseat. I didn’t watch the whole movie, so I never discovered if they had another underlying reason.

I admit, the first part of the movie, before we got to the poisoning part, was quite funny. And I agree that Cary Grant makes spectacular faces. Excellent actor.

Yet I couldn’t laugh, uninhibited. I sometimes have a morbid sense of humor, but this went beyond morbid. Crazy old ladies who have now poisoned twelve men is not funny.

These two were insane. Obviously. Some insanity results from chemical imbalance in the brain, trauma to the brain, or deterioration of the brain.

And some insanity is the direct result, or the partial result, of demonic oppression. Serial poisoners are demonically insane.

So I’m watching these two cute old ladies defend their actions to their nephew, apparently convinced that their multiple first-degree murders are perfectly fine. A good deed, in fact. And I’m supposed to laugh at Mortimer’s shock and horror?

I could laugh at Mortimer’s brother who believed he was Teddy Roosevelt. I could laugh at one of the first scenes where the poster-child for bachelordom is getting a marriage license.

Or if the movie had been an exploration into human nature, perhaps I could have watched, albeit in horror, and learned from it what I could. I’ve read the movie’s synopsis, and I think some of the underlying themes do make a good point.

But I was expected to laugh at demonic insanity and the havoc it caused. And I found that slightly horrifying.

All that said, I liked one line in the movie very much.

Mortimer Brewster told his aunts that their “kind deeds” were not only illegal, but also wrongWhich shows you a great deal about society then compared to society now. Our current society seems to believe that if we can just get something legalized, it will change from being wrong to being right.

If the majority decides what’s right and what’s wrong, then the Holocaust wasn’t wrong in Germany because the majority believed it was right. (Or at least said they did, perhaps out of self-preservation.)

And the movie begged the question: Is it ever right to kill a human to save them from suffering?

A child who will be born into an Indian slum–abortion would mean he never has to live in misery.

A girl trapped in sex slavery–the easiest way to “release” her would be to give her enough pills for a fatal overdose.

A soldier rendered a quadriplegic in battle–maybe he wouldn’t want to live without the use of his arms and legs.

An old woman dying from terminal cancer–why bother with sufficient morphine? Just give her too much and let her die.

What those two demonically insane aunts were doing in the movie–we call that euthanasia these days.

Mercy-killing.

We humans–who openly admit that “nobody’s perfect,” who constantly affirm that “everyone makes mistakes”–we think we have the knowledge and wisdom to decide when a person should live or die.

Stupid? I think so.

But maybe those who believe euthanasia is okay can’t help themselves. If serial-killing for the sake of kindness is demonic madness, then supporters of euthanasia must be deceived by the devil. So cold logic, however convincing, may never change their minds.

Their mental eyes have to be opened first. And only one Person can do that. Jesus.

I never thought of that before. I didn’t think of human euthanasia much at all, except to think it’s wrong and “How can people do that?” It never dawned on me as strongly as it did after watching Arsenic and Old Lace that the only way to stop euthanasia is to pray.

To pray God will bind Satan’s deception. To pray God will open people’s eyes so they can truly understand the reasoning against euthanasia. To pray God’s Truth will blaze so brightly it shines through even the blackest of Satan’s deceptions.

-Miss Darcy

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A Wise Man’s Face

I make no secret that Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Last time I read it, I ran across a verse I hadn’t given much thought to:

Who is like a wise man?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
And the sternness of his face is changed.

-Ecclesiastes 8:1 (NKJV)

The second half of the verse stuck out to me.

“A man’s wisdom makes his face shine…”

When we say a person’s face shines, we might say it shines with joy. Or gladness. Or peace.

We never say a person’s face shines with sorrow or pain or misery.

“And the sternness of his face is changed.”

I picked up a thesaurus to look at stern. It can mean “grim; implacable; unrelenting.”

Possible antonyms are “lenient; soft.”

I think we tend to think of wisdom as something that makes you stuffy. Judgmental. Rigid.

Maybe you’ve heard the joke about two boys walking down a country road one day, fishing poles in hand. They passed by a field where a mule looked over the fence at them. And one boy said, “That mule must have my grandfather’s religion.”

Can you picture that grandfather? Long-faced. Disapproving. Never smiling. Never merciful. Oh, he was probably a Bible-reading, God-fearing, prayer-praying, maybe even Jesus-preaching man. Yet was he truly wise?

Maybe as we get wiser, we smile more. We show more grace. We have more joy.

I’m not saying wisdom means you have no strong principles to guide you. No, wisdom has very strong principles. But true wisdom will change you inside so that your face shines.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

-James 3:17 (NKJV)

So the next time someone gives you advice, study their face. And study their attitudes. If they’re negative and hopeless, scowling and severe, you might need more than a few grains of salt to go with that advice.

Because true wisdom makes its owner’s face shine.

-Miss Darcy

This Present Age

The sermon I heard on Sunday was for me. So many things the pastor said blessed me, encouraged me, and challenged me. But today I’ll just share one thing he said.

The Christian’s ultimate purpose is not to live in heaven.

The Christian’s ultimate purpose is to bring a little piece of heaven to this earth.

When I die, I’m going to see my Savior Jesus face to face. I won’t have to fight sin any longer. I will know my God as I’ve not been able to know Him on this earth.

But.

Just because I’m still on this earth doesn’t mean I don’t know God now. I know His grace, His power, His light, His holiness. I know the joy of being in His presence even though I cannot see Him. I know the King of Heaven.

So my purpose is to live under the laws of my King, for I am a citizen of His Kingdom, even though I do not currently dwell there. That way, the citizens of this other land where I dwell–a.k.a. the world–can see a bit of what heaven looks like.

This morning I read in Galatians:

who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

-Galatians 1:4 (NKJV)

Jesus’ sacrifice did much more than save us from sin’s punishment.

He delivered us from “this present evil age.”

And it is evil, wouldn’t you agree? But, though we live here among it for now, it need not have power over us. Jesus can deliver us, and will deliver us when we ask.

I love that word, deliver. It means: “To release or rescue from bondage, danger, or evil of any kind; set free.” Is that not glorious?

Also, did you catch the last phrase in that verse? “According to the will of our God and Father.” It is never God’s will that we be not delivered from this present evil age. Not later. Now.

Mind you, in 1 Corinthians we find that:

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

-1 Corinthians 15:19 (NKJV)

Christians do suffer in this life, and when nothing else can lift our spirits, we look to our hope after death. One day, I will struggle with sin no longer. One day, my body will not fail me. One day, I will have rest and peace and joy unhindered. One day, I will commune with God face to face.

That hope is the culmination, not the beginning, of our deliverance from this present evil age.

In that reality, we press on. We don’t hide from the evil of this present age. We know we’ve been delivered.

And we want to share that deliverance with anyone who seeks it.

-Miss Darcy

Talking of Roses

(I’m not perfectly certain how Jesus came to receive the name “Rose of Sharon.” I think it’s a misinterpretation of Song of Songs 2:1. But, in any case, I wrote this poem several years ago, referring to Jesus as the Rose of Sharon.)

Come hither, my friend, oh come hither,
Come see the rose buds that here grow.
They’re plumper than when we looked last time.
It promises beautiful show!
The buds we see now, though, will wither:
Our sweet Rose of Sharon lives on! 

Come hither, my friend, oh come hither,
And see all the buds bursting free.
Just look at the colorful petals!
Quite soon they will cloak this rose-tree.
These blossoms, now young, will all wither:
Our sweet Rose of Sharon lives on!

Come hither, my friend, oh come hither,
Examine these full-opened blooms.
What lovely perfume and bright color!
With time it shall all be consumed.
The roses of earth will all wither:
Our sweet Rose of Sharon lives on!

-Miss Darcy

Moving Out

Our house is a disaster. Because this weekend is the big move. Everything into boxes to be stored until we close on our new house near the end of February. Good-bye to Rocket City. Hello to suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee.

Yes, I’m excited about it now. Moving has a certain element of fun. It’s packing that is no fun at all. I’m looking forward to making home in this new place God has called us to.

Meantime, we’ll be staying at a cabin in the middle of Nowhere, Tennessee. Very pretty location.

And… No internet access at this cabin. I’m actually thrilled about that. I have a real love-hate relationship with computers, and I think it will be grand fun to ignore e-mail and social media for a month. It’s gonna be good for my head. (And if I surprise myself and get desperate, I can always scare up a coffee shop with WiFi, I suppose.)

I’m planning days of reading books (my suitcase is heavily laden with research books and novels), writing and editing my own stories (word processors work without internet), working on some crafts I’ve meant to do for a long time (time to use up some scrap fabric), washing dishes (therapeutic for me), and playing games with my family.

And maybe, just maybe, some sweet time with Jesus.

See you again in March!

-Miss Darcy

Sold Out

I think I’m going to ramble today. I have a lot to catch up on. Like why I haven’t written a post in nearly two months.

Long story.

Remember when I wrote about moving last summer? (Wow. Hard to believe that was at the end of August.)

We didn’t move. Turned out that job wasn’t a good fit for Daddy, so he resigned after four weeks.

We still knew it was unlikely Dad would get a job here in Huntsville. The town has changed since we lived here several years ago. So we didn’t unpack.

Which turned out to be a wise decision. Dad got a new job, this time on the south side of Nashville, Tennessee. That was November. We finally got our house on the market December 22nd. We had a contract on the 31st.

So now, finally, we’re set to move. The house closes the last day of January. We’ve picked out a new-to-us house in Tennessee. I’m surrounded by boxes and things that need to go in boxes as I write.

That’s the “Reader’s Digest Condensed Version.” Here’s the inside story.

When Dad quit that first job in Tennessee, we had half the house packed. My mind was totally geared for a move.

Then our takeoff was aborted. After we were about fifty feet in the air. The difficulty of the mental shift kinda surprised me. Yesterday we were moving, today we’re not. Okay. Wow. Readjust. We can do this.

While we waited to see what God would do next, I felt like life was sort of on hold. A lot of my things were packed. Furniture was in storage. I don’t want to sound melodramatic. It just felt weird.

Then Daddy got the new job. He was away all week; came home on the weekends. We were trying to ready the house for the market. We had to paint over our beautiful colors with a fashionable, dull, soft gray.

Christmas felt strange with our house only partly decorated and Daddy gone in the weeks before the actual day. I didn’t even blog about the Christmas carols I wanted to share.

It was one of those waiting seasons, ya know? A test, so to speak. And I flunked it.

Somewhere along the line, I let my daily Bible reading slip. I still read almost every day, but not with the same focus, the same investment, as usual. And I noticed the problem, but couldn’t find the motivation to change it.

I quit praying much.

Confession: I still don’t have this prayer thing down. Far from it. You may have noticed I write about reading and studying the Bible on here, but not so much about prayer. That’s because I wouldn’t know what I was talking about. That is, I know how to do it. I just don’t have the confidence that comes from experience. I’ve had spells of consistency, but somehow I don’t make time for it regularly. Problem? Yes. Ouch.

I tried to have joy in the Lord, and I did. I tried to be cheerful, and I was. I wasn’t totally miserable. I just wasn’t flourishing.

And by now, I should know better. Been a Christian for sixteen years. Should have the fundamentals ingrained so I can focus on achieving new heights.

Why do I have to walk the same roads I’ve walked a dozen times before? Fight the same fights? How do I get cold toward Jesus? He died for me!

This morning I was on my knees repenting of half-hearted devotion to Jesus. I’m pretty sure I did that sometime last year. And the year before that. Probably the year before that. It’s getting tiresome, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing it again sometime. Ach!

I know part of my problem now is stress. I’m in a coping mode, and things aren’t going to be so vibrant in that case.

Part of the problem is I wrote hardly anything throughout December. That was caused by the stress, but it became a vicious circle because writing is good for my mental health. And I wasn’t making time for it.

Part of the problem is my health. I haven’t cared for my body–way too much sugar, not enough exercise. With my family’s history, I shouldn’t be playing games.

But I fear part of the problem is laziness. (I can’t believe I just said that.) Guess I never outgrew my childhood besetting sin.

Probably, this is more than you cared to know. I’m not real fond of spill-your-guts blog posts because they tend to sound depressing. Sometimes I feel like, in the name of honesty, we share too much. Too much of us, not enough of Jesus.

But I am trying to be honest. They say it’s good for you. And I don’t indulge much, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Around the beginning of the year, friends were talking about a word for the year. Something inspiring or convicting. Something either you feel is right to choose, or even something God specifically gives you. I’ve never done that.

But this year I have a phrase. Can’t say God spoke to me audibly, but it fits what I’m going through right now.

Sold Out.

Sold out to Jesus, of course. Not to this world’s pleasures. Not to life’s trials. Not to my own whims. But to Jesus.

Do I know exactly what that looks like? Obviously not completely. But I reckon Jesus can show me if I’m willing to take the instruction. Am I scared? Yes, actually, although it’s silly because the best life possible is one surrendered to its Creator. I want to keep my eyes on the eternal Prize.

The New Year is a good time to try again at something you’ve failed before. Thank the Lord His grace is sufficient, and that He perfects His strength in our weakness. I’ve got plenty of weakness.

And I don’t want to end on a depressing note. Because I believe with all my heart that we can have victory in Jesus Christ. I’ve seen it in others, and I’ve experienced it myself.

I want to find it again. And I will, not because of my own striving, but because Jesus is faithful.

I think I’ll be praying for a lot of grace and strength this year. 🙂

-Miss Darcy

I Am Thankful, 2017

I’m gonna try to keep this short and sweet. (Here’s where you roll your eyes at the idea of me writing anything short.)

In semi-random order, I am thankful for…

  • …the stunning truth that the Creator of the galaxies considers me someone worth dying for.
  • …my priceless relationships with friends and family. I may be an introvert and a writer, but friends that exist only on paper and in imagination don’t really compare to friends who breathe the same air I do.
  • …grace. From God, from my family, from random strangers. I make mistakes. I need grace.
  • …the necessities: food and clothing. I also have a warm home, hot water, a car, modern conveniences, technology, and a host of other things. Maybe if I didn’t have these I could justify my complaining. As it is, I have no reason to complain.
  • …language, written and spoken. Communication through language is an awesome gift from God that I usually take for granted. And it would leave a huge hole if it suddenly disappeared.
  • …the Bible. I don’t know how I’d live without this Book. And it’s in my mother tongue. Invaluable.
  • …that I can write. Even if no one else reads it, writing is a deep source of joy to me.
  • …beauty in nature. God didn’t have to make the world pretty. But, oh, didn’t He?
  • …rest. Sometimes I need it desperately, and it is sweet.
  • …music. Music affects the soul in a way words can’t. Which makes it far more powerful than we think.
  • …health. So many don’t have it, and I’ll enjoy it as long as it’s mine.

Under three hundred words. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Miss Darcy