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Friday, 6 February 2015

Tall Orders for Small Stature

   My grandfather Gerrit had the nickname of "Gerrit Mouse" since boyhood.  His adult height was only about 5 feet.  Yet his strength was remarkable.  In his late twenties he cleared an acre of land for a market garden that had been an orchard.  He used hand tools to fell the trees, which he sold for fuel to a nearby baker, and just a hand shovel and a spade to extract the roots.
   Another incident from his life demonstrates his resourcefulness in a desperate situation.  In his village in the Netherlands, my grandfather was a "first responder" with first aid training according to the standards of his day.  One time he was called to the scene where a disturbed man, known to be afflicted by alcoholism, had locked himself in a house with the intent of taking his own life.  My grandfather sized up the dwelling and spotted a small upper window.  He asked the bystanders to assist him in climbing to that window, which he was sure he could fit through.  Indeed, he managed to enter through the window and applied a tourniquet to the self-inflicted wounds of the poor man.
   After all this occurred some said aloud that it would have been better for my grandfather to have left the man to himself and allowed him succumb to his injuries.  However, my grandfather echoed the words of Joseph in Genesis 50:19, "Am I in the place of God?"  It was not for him to decide whether or not this individual's life was worth
saving.
   I wonder if humans are forgetting their place as they decide for themselves when to die and ask medical professionals to assist them.  Playing God is a dangerous business.


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