Friday, May 25, 2012

"Everybody Dies"

                          Scene from the final episode of "House" - 5/21/2012

The ending of the story of Dr. House after 8 seasons of conflict tells what we all know about the statistics of medical care...”everybody dies”. * But is this all we can say? 

“Dr. House” ends with review and reflection as he addresses the meaning of death and ends with what looks like a “bucket list” of unfilled dreams.  He certainly makes the case that “life is hell” and that death looks better.  The ambiguous argument is portrayed in a pyrotechnic ending as only Dr. House could do!

In another look at life, Donald Miller in his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned while Editing my Life, sees life as a holy story.   Both narratives testify to pain and suffering, but there is a difference.  Donald Miller’s story also identifies suffering but ends with courage and hope that ultimately comes from his faith. 

“Do I still think there will be a day when all wrongs are made right, when our souls find the completion they are looking for? I do. But when all things are made right, it won’t be because of some preacher or snake-oil salesman or politician or writer making promises in his book. I think, instead, this will be done by Jesus. And it will be at a wedding. And there will be a feast.”

These “life stories” address “the meaning” of both life and death and I am thankful for both.  It has helped us all to see our own stories more clearly.   I love the clarity of the first question and answer in a 16th century statement that addresses the same difficult questions.

Heidelberg Catechism
Lord’s Day 1
Q & A 1
What is your only comfort
in life and in death?
That I am not my own,
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.



Miller, Donald (2009-08-26). A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life (p. 206). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 


  1. I like this, Marv. Thanks for posting. I didn't see the House episode, but I understand it was provocative. Walter Wink, the theologian, died this week, and in the NY Times obituary he was quoted as saying during his last days, "Death doesn't teach you a damned thing." He meant there were no lessons to be learned from slowly succumbing to disease. I had hoped for more, but maybe he's right. If someone interviews me in the same situation, I'll quote the Heidelberg Catechism (along with you).

    1. There is another resource that might interest you. Allen Verhey completed a very serious review, "The Christian Art of Dying: Learning from Jesus". What is most impressive to me is the context. Namely, this book is written in the face of a complicated medical diagnosis. It is amazing how these life events focus our thinking!