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From the category archives: Opinions

Mark Pickup

Assisted suicide court ruling is morally twisted

Mark Pickup

February 23, 2015

On Feb. 6, in a unanimous ruling, Canada's Supreme Court struck down the law on assisted suicide. It was a terrible decision that will irrevocably change the character of Canadian society for the worse. It will place the lives of vulnerable people across the land in great danger. It was not a victory for liberty. It was a victory for licence and abuse of human freedom. The Supreme Court said the section of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide was in conflict with section seven of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Suffering contains a call to become more like Christ

Mark Pickup

February 9, 2015

There was a change in how I viewed being chronically ill for more than three decades. I cannot pinpoint when it happened; the change progressed gradually over time. No longer did I see my incurable sickness and handicap as a curse but as a blessing disguised as misfortune. What began with the question "why?" became anger that no answer seemed forthcoming. Eventually the anger simmered and cooled into acceptance and finally acceptance was followed by peace and anticipation. There are questions for which there are no answers, only understanding. They are questions that focus on the deepest meaning of life or eternity.

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Family will struggle to adapt as son faces life in a wheelchair

Mark Pickup

January 12, 2015

It was a freakish accident that had catastrophic results. A few days after moving to my community, 13-year-old Lincoln Grayson fell off his bicycle and broke his neck. He was rushed to the Stollery Children's Hospital where doctors worked frantically to initially save his life and then stabilize his condition. They induced a coma to completely immobilize him and performed a number of surgeries. Lincoln is now quadriplegic.

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Christmas: God's Word comes among us

Mark Pickup

December 15, 2014

I love the Christmas season. I love it for the lights and music and excited anticipation I see in my grandchildren and every other child but mostly because the divine love given to us in the incarnation fills my heart. Such a love is unfathomable. All I can do is take in its warmth. God made man. God is with us. I feel sad for those who have not had an encounter with Christ, do not know or love him, and who do not live within the nurture of the Church. At best, Christmas for the unbeliever is superficial traditions, unfocused songs of vague sentimentality and a silly flaccid caricature of St. Nicholas we all know as Santa Claus. The world often refers to the true meaning of Christmas but rejects the true meaning of the incarnation.

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Will Supreme Court put an end to suicide prevention strategies?

Mark Pickup

November 17, 2014

These are perilous times for the sick and disabled. Canada's Supreme Court is considering whether the country's law against assisted suicide discriminates against suicidal disabled people and those with incurable illnesses. Assisted suicide advocates argue that the incurably sick and severely disabled are denied the physical ability to commit suicide that able-bodied suicidal Canadians have. This argument is so deeply flawed and ridiculous it hardly deserves comment, but I must comment: Just because someone can commit suicide does not mean they have a right to do it. There is no "right" to suicide in Canada. If there was a right to suicide, why would Parliament unanimously support the idea of a National Suicide Prevention Strategy as it did in October 2012?

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When one door of happiness closes, God opens another one

Mark Pickup

October 20, 2014

Helen Keller was deaf and blind from early childhood, yet she became one of the great humanitarians of the 20th century. When news of her death in 1968 came over the radio, I remember my father say, "There goes a great person." I was 15 years old at the time and too self-absorbed to understand. Only much later, in my own disability, did I begin to understand what my father meant. Helen Keller wrote: "When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one that has opened for us."

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In numbing the voice of pain, grief makes it hard to experience love of God

Mark Pickup

September 22, 2014

A family friend recently lost his wife after 65 years of marriage. Ted Byfield is heartbroken, except for one thing: He is a devout Christian. My wife and I sent him a sympathy card. A few weeks later we received a note of acknowledgement from Ted. He wrote, in part: "Many thanks for your card of condolence. I knew of course that my wife was a remarkable woman, but now that I am having to live without her I am discovering just how remarkable. . . .

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Suffering can break one's pride, bring consolation and joy

Mark Pickup

August 25, 2014

I keep a copy of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis beside my Bible on my night table. I read the Bible to begin my days and excerpts of The Imitation of Christ to conclude many of my days. If I were to be exiled to a remote island, they are the two books I would take.

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Shunning former friends closes door to possible reconciliation

Mark Pickup

July 7, 2014

I had a Christian friend who wrote off our friendship, like a bad debt. Perhaps he saw me as a liability perhaps I am a friendship liability. His name is David. I miss him and wish I knew why he severed our friendship so abruptly and without explanation. David has not spoken or communicated with me for over a decade; my overtures went unacknowledged; my attempts to contact him to set things right were met with stony silence. We are no longer friends.

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Brilliant music crafted by composer battling deafness

Mark Pickup

June 23, 2014

I keep a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven on the mantle above the fireplace in my home. It reminds me of the human capacity to overcome adversity to achieve great things. When I doubt myself in my own acquired disability of multiple sclerosis, I listen to Beethoven particularly his Ninth Symphony written in near-total deafness but at the peak of his creative power His Ninth Symphony exemplifies a triumph of human spirit over adversity, sustained by a spark of God's love in a silent world. Although Beethoven used Schiller's Ode to Joy, there is a spirituality or mystical quality to Beethoven's Ninth.

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