The idea that life is designed, intended, entails a radically different attitude compared to the materialistic understanding that life splashed ashore on Earth by chance. If the latter, then snuffing out life when it becomes inconvenient seems justifiable. If the former, we must surely treat it with fear and trembling.
Our friend and colleague Wesley Smith alludes to this point in a remembrance of Rush Limbaugh, whose death was announced yesterday. Agree or disagree with Limbaugh as to the specifics of policy and politics, style or substance, his last days were a heroic testimony to the value of life:
For those who may be unaware, in January, Limbaugh was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. After nearly a year of pursuing experimental treatments, he recently told his audience that his illness has entered a terminal stage. Yet, Limbaugh continues on with his show — if anything, with greater gusto than before he fell ill — only taking time off periodically during “treatment week.”
Limbaugh also hasn’t yielded to the emotional toll a terminal illness surely takes. He never complains publicly. He never feels sorry for himself. To the contrary, his persona — a mixture of faux hubris combined with a passion for conservative politics mediated by a great sense of humor — remains unchanged.
Indeed, if he hadn’t announced publicly that he’s ill, I doubt the audience would be able to tell the difference.
The only change I have noticed after listening to Limbaugh regularly since the early ’90s — and really, the only allusion he makes to the severe difficulties he is surely experiencing — has been a greater willingness to reveal his personal faith, something he rarely discussed previously.
Limbaugh says he believes in Jesus Christ and regularly tells his audience that upon awakening every morning, he thanks God that he’s still breathing. Healthy or ill, such thankfulness is a practice we would all be wise to emulate because you never know what each day will bring.
… By keeping on keeping on, the great broadcaster presents a vivid rebuttal to the usual nihilistic advice these days that committing assisted suicide is the best means to grapple with the suffering caused by terminal illness.
Wesley’s column was reproduced in Limbaugh’s newsletter, with a note from the broadcaster, “Mr. Snerdley recommended that I reprint this piece in my newsletter. I like it, if I say so myself. So I instructed my Editrix to go for it.” That was earlier this month, February 2021. So it appears to be among the last things that Rush Limbaugh wrote. It is an amazing and fitting tribute to the meaning of one great man’s life (I would say), and of life itself.