Few issues are more difficult and controversial at the same time than the ethical issues around the end of life, particularly assisted suicide. Dealing with the inevitable losses and suffering that come at the end of life are often what motivates a request for assisted suicide. Yet there can be ways of dealing with suffering without eliminating the sufferer. Join Scott and Sean in part two of their interview pro-life advocate Stephanie Gray in a conversation about suffering and the end of life.

More About Our Guest

Portrait of Stephanie Gray

Stephanie Gray is a seasoned and international speaker who began presenting at the age of 18. She has given over 900 pro-life presentations across North America as well as in Scotland, England, Ireland, Austria, Latvia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. She has spoken at many post-secondary institutions such as Yale University, George Washington University, and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2017, Stephanie was a presenter for the series "Talks at Google," speaking on abortion at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California. Stephanie is author of Love Unleashes Life: Abortion & the Art of Communicating Truth as well as A Physician’s Guide to Discussing Abortion. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UBC in Vancouver, and a Certification, with Distinction, in Health Care Ethics, from the NCBC in Philadelphia.

Episode Transcript

Scott Rae: Welcome to the podcast, Think Biblically, Conversations on Faith And Culture. I'm your host, Scott Rae, dean of faculty and professor of Christian ethics at Talbot School of Theology here at Biola University.

Sean McDowell: And I'm your cohost Sean McDowell, professor of apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.

Scott Rae: We're back for round two of our discussion with our friend Stephanie Gray on the subject of assisted suicide, euthanasia and the end of life, in particularly what people experience at the end of life, based on her forthcoming book called Suicide To Assist or Not, a Life Affirming Reflection on The Universal Experience of Suffering. And we suggested in the first episode, that the book is really more about suffering than it is assisted suicide. And there's some good reason for that, because usually people who request assisted suicide, do so out of this overwhelming experience of suffering. And you gave actually a really good definition of despair in the first segment. So I want you to remind us of that. And that's where that mathematical equation I thought was so helpful.

Stephanie Gray: So despair is what can lead to suicide. And so I often draw on the insights, as we mentioned in the last episode of DR. Victor Frankel, who came up with this mathematical equation where he says, D equals S minus M. And what he means by that is despair is suffering without meaning. And what he shares, which I've adopted and certainly tried to promote, is this idea that because suffering is a universal experience that we all have suffered, and we all will suffer, if we don't want to despair, if we don't want to commit suicide in light of suffering.

But if suffering is a part of our reality, then what we need to do is find meaning. We need to look at what we can do because of this new found situation, or what good can come from this very unpleasant experience. And the moment we can attach meaning to the suffering, we no longer are overwhelmed to the point that we want death, that we're despairing, we actually can have a new lease on life, and not make our suffering good, but make good come from our suffering.

Sean McDowell: This relates to the way you phrase it at the beginning of the book, which is again, it's simple, but it's so profound. And it's such a big change, is that when people suffer, the natural question is why. But you encourage people not to ask the question why, but what? So what do you mean by that, and why do you encourage that question?

Stephanie Gray: I think when we ask, "Why did this happen to me, why am I suffering?" It is often hard to come up with an answer that satisfies. I think, for an example of a story I share in the book, of Michael Morton, I have been so moved by this man's story. I've watched the documentary of his life, I have read his book, I have done a lot of research on him.

And so this man was married, had a young child living your average happy life, and his wife was brutally murdered. And he was charged with her murder, except, he was innocent. And he was in a Texas prison for almost 25 years for a crime he did not commit. So this man has lost his wife. He's got a grieve, the loss of his wife. He has a child who's no longer parenting, because he's in prison, he shouldn't be in prison. So he's got all those injustices coming upon him.

And if we just sit back and say, "Why did that happen to Michael Morton?" I don't have an answer that really satisfies, other than to say, "Well, unfairness exists. Evil exists." But again, how satisfying is that? But if we instead say, "What can I do because of this? What can I do now?" There's something that empowers us because we can act in a positive way, and that's what Michael Morton did. Whether he consciously said, "What do I do?" He started to do a series of positive whats while he was in prison. You can get further education in prison.

So he did his undergrad, he did his masters, he started writing, he was writing for small journals. And he was all the while, working with lawyers to try to get freed. And eventually, he was freed, thanks to new DNA testing technology. So here he is, having lost his wife, the relationship with his son, although that's been restored. 25 years of his life, all of these losses, you would think you would just want to kick back and enjoy the rest of his life now out of prison.

But he even talks about how he realized he felt a big responsibility to try to change the justice system. So it was more just. And he talks about how, I could have just said, "Okay, I'm free now, and just kick back." But he's like, "No, I'm free and I need to make sure this doesn't happen to other people." So that's another powerful example of, "What do I do now? What do I do now that I'm out of prison? I'm going to try to help people. I'm going to try to make the system better."

And so another example that I use is of a young boy who was born with... Patrick Henry Hughes is his name. And he was born severely disabled, and he had no eyeballs, so he couldn't see obviously. And the dad and mom were naturally disappointed that they had a child with a disability, because there were things they'd no longer be able to do, and sufferings their son would face.

And initially it was overwhelming. The dad was thinking, "Well, I'm not going to be able to play sports with my son the way I had envisioned." Why did that happen to them? Who knows why? But then they started to say, "Well, what can we do now?" And this child was a musical protege, he was only a couple of years old, when the dad, who was musical put his son in front of the piano and he started to be able to, buy sound-

Sean McDowell: Wow.

Stephanie Gray: ... Pound out, twinkle, twinkle little star, and everything he heard, the little baby essentially could play. And so he's turned into this amazing musician, all because the family focused on, "What can we do? Okay, you can't play sports, but you can play piano, you can play trumpet, you can write a book with me," which is what the father and son did. So I think there's empowerment that comes when we suffer by saying, "what can I do because of this? What great good can can I bring out of this?"

Scott Rae: I think encouraging people to not ask the why question is really good advice that you have. Because I reflect back on the experience of Job, for example, unspeakable suffering. And his friends tried to give a logical, rational explanation for it. They all fail miserably. And when God comes on the scene, you expect, at the end of the book, that he's going to try to explain to Job why he suffered all this. But you get nothing of the sort. All you get is the assurance of God as a person is present with him to walk through the suffering.

But he never gets a rational, logical explanation for why he is going through these things. And Ecclesiastes brings the same truth out in a number of different places. And the phrase I've used to describe this is that it's fruitless to try to unscrew the inscrutable. And we will know in eternity, how all the puzzle pieces of our life fit together.

But this side of eternity, I suspect that if we saw how all of that fit together, we probably asked for a plan B. Because if we were given the box top for the jigsaw puzzle, we'd probably asked for another one. And so focusing on the what, I mean, is not only good emotionally and psychologically, I think it's also good theologically. Because that why question I think is generally for the most unspeakable suffering is generally unanswerable. This side of eternity.

Stephanie Gray: It is. And I've actually been looking at Job recently, and really wrestling with that, that we don't get that solid apologetic and explanation at the end, but we do get God's majesty. As God points out, "Can you do this? Can you do that? Can you do all of these amazing things that I have done?" And so that's where I've also come to see what we really need to say is, "I am not God. God is God. And I do have to trust that God is good. And that even if this doesn't feel good, or look good, or make sense to me, I just don't understand."

And I use an example in the book, of a parent maybe depriving their child of some really attractive looking candy. They want it, and they're screaming at their parent, "Give this to me, give this to me." And the parent says, "No." And if you're an outsider looking in, it might look like the parent is cruel. And the child may be too young to understand that the child has a severe allergy, and if they eat the candy, they will die. Or they may be too young and their brain under developed to understand the importance of delayed gratification, and the parent actually is going to give them what they want. But it actually is better for them to wait.

Those are just two examples of many possible theories we could put forward for why the parent is depriving the child of the candy they want. But the point is, the parent isn't being mean. The parent actually loves the child, wants the child's good, and knows what the child does not know, comprehends what the child doesn't comprehend. And so we are like that child, and God is like the parent, and that's where we need to say, "I can't fully explain this, but I know you're good, because you died for me. And that's pretty amazing, because I have a hard time sacrificing basic things for people I love, let alone my very life. And so it's pretty amazing that you died for me. So I'm just going to trust in your goodness. What I can't explain, you can. Whether you tell me or not, you can explain it in your good."

Scott Rae: And to those who are giving care to people who are suffering, stop trying to explain why it took place. And be the literal body of Christ to them by walking with them, and being present with them through the suffering that they're experiencing.

Stephanie Gray: To be at the foot of the cross, like Mary and John, foot of the cross. They're just there. They are with the suffering Christ, the crucified Christ. And sometimes when others are suffering, our job is to simply be with. I have a cousin who has been hospitalized for a number of health problems, serious health problems, and I remember, she would often say to me, "Hey, just bring your laptop and just work in my room at the hospital." And she's like, "I promise I won't talk to you." She just wanted me there, because she couldn't leave the hospital, and she was stuck to a bed and an IV pole, and all the other things. But just the assurance that we're not alone, is actually something that alleviates our suffering, even if it doesn't eliminate it.

Sean McDowell: Dune was suffering. It sounds like you're saying is so much the ideas and beliefs that we have that we bring to it. We had [Dougrough Tice 00:11:08] on a earlier episode, and he talked about just his wife through a process of dementia, and he said the toughest challenge was to resist the idea that he knew better than God.

Stephanie Gray: Yes.

Sean McDowell: That was the core idea that just changed whether he could deal with suffering or not. And it sounds like that's what you're saying with people who are going through suffering. Just knowing somehow, "Even though I don't see it, God has a purpose and reason for this."

Stephanie Gray: Yes. And that is hard. I mean, when my engagement ended, I went through a period of great anger at God. And then it doesn't help when you have people, basically communicating things which aren't true. They would say things to me like, "Well, you serve God so much in your pro-life work as though marriage is a reward." I mean, it would be nice if it was, but it's not. It doesn't matter if I've never done this. If I hadn't done the work I'd done, does that mean I wouldn't get married? So we start trying to say things to people, that at the end of the day we just need to say, "This doesn't make sense. I can't explain it, but I know God is good. I'm with you. I'll help you get through this. This is just mystery."

Scott Rae: End of the story. So, let me put your questioning skills to the test here. Let's imagine that I'm 20 or so years older than I am today, and I have just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. In fact, let's say it's a terminal stomach cancer. They've gone in, it's inoperable. It's the kind of surgery where they go in, open you up, take one look, sew you back up, and say, "There's nothing we can do."

And I have three months to live, and I'm going to have intestinal blockages. The amount of suffering is going to be pretty significant. And I don't want to be heavily sedated for the rest of my life. I'd like to be reasonably with it. But I don't see any way that I'm going to be able to escape really, really tough physical pain and suffering over the next three months. In fact, my doctor said, "You will probably spend the last month of your life curled up in a bed in a fetal position wishing to die." What's wrong with my requesting assisted suicide? It seems to me that the laws legalizing this were written exactly for people in my condition. Now, for our listeners, you know I don't actually have this disease.

Stephanie Gray: Right.

Scott Rae: Strictly hypothetical. This is in case my mom is listening to this. So what questions would you ask me? What would you want to know? Let's role play it.

Stephanie Gray: So, I'm just going to narrate for a second, for the listeners, even though you've asked me what's wrong with assisted suicide, I'm actually not going to try to tell you what's wrong with assisted suicide. I think, just because we've been asked a question, it doesn't mean the best thing is to answer it directly. And what I want to do, is try to have you explain more about your fears, and the reality we're currently in, versus what's not yet realized.

So I would start with something like this. "I am so sorry for this situation that you're in." I don't know what that's like, and I don't pretend to know the depths of what you're going through, and how afraid that you are. If I could ask you, and you don't have to answer this if you don't want to, but where are you at today in terms of, you've just told me if you've got three months left, in two months time, your last month is going to be really, really hard. What about today, how is your today, in terms of your pain?

Scott Rae: Well, I'm fairly heavily sedated. In fact, I'm glad that I can be coherent enough to get a sentence out. I'm basically on morphine, almost all the time. Because the pain in my stomach is constant, it's not ever going to go away. And it radiates through the rest of my body. I wish if it were confined just to my stomach and GI tract, that might be tolerable. But I feel it everywhere. And my doctor said, "That's only going to get worse." I'm going to become completely incontinent. I'm basically going to lose control of my gastrointestinal tract as the closer it gets to death.

And that's not one of the painful part, but that's humiliating. I don't want to be a burden to my family to have to deal with all of that. I would much prefer for them just to be able to be done with this, to grieve, get on with their lives. I mean, I would never consider being such a burden to them. It provides this crushing burden on their lives for the next few months. Because somebody's going to have to take care of me completely around the clock. So I think, where I am today, I'm realizing all of that, I'm dreading it. I mean, I don't see any way out of that. It's not going to get better, it's only going to get worse.

Stephanie Gray: I'm not going to minimize your fear and that reality, it sounds very painful. One of the things that struck me of what you said is, having someone take care of you around the clock. Have you ever been in a situation where you've taken care of someone around the clock? Has that ever been a life experience for you?

Scott Rae: Yeah, when my children were young and sick.

Stephanie Gray: And what was that like?

Scott Rae: It was exhausting. I could hardly wait til they got better. I did, because that's what parents do. But that's not an experience I would want to repeat.

Stephanie Gray: If you could only have had the experience of your children with that experience as part of it, or the alternative was experiencing life without your children at all, which would you pick?

Scott Rae: I would have taken the former, of course.

Stephanie Gray: Why?

Scott Rae: Because there's value in the relationship, regardless of how hard it is, there's value in having those relationships. And we are obviously much richer for having the people who are in our lives, in our lives. It's just I don't want to be that burden to somebody else.

Stephanie Gray: Have you expressed that to your family? What have they said?

Scott Rae: They told me that they don't consider it a burden, that that's what families do. But this is only getting started, we're not down the road a bit, they may change their tune at some point.

Stephanie Gray: But right now, you at least feel that what they're saying about you not being a burden is truth?

Scott Rae: Right. I actually don't think they actually know what they're saying.

Stephanie Gray: Do you think they know what they're saying for today though?

Scott Rae: Yeah, that's fair.

Stephanie Gray: At this moment today. So if I was willing to bring in a doctor to execute assisted suicide right here, right now, for you, in the next five minutes, would you say yes to that?

Scott Rae: Is it my only chance to do it?

Stephanie Gray: No.

Scott Rae: Yeah, probably not.

Stephanie Gray: Why not?

Scott Rae: Because I'm not ready to go meet the Lord yet.

Stephanie Gray: Do you believe the Lord gives us what is sufficient for the day?

Scott Rae: Yes.

Stephanie Gray: So, you're rightly overwhelmed by the thought of the next three months, but it sounds like you're not as overwhelmed about today.

Scott Rae: I'm not. I think that's fair.

Stephanie Gray: And it sounds like your family is also not overwhelmed?

Scott Rae: It's also true.

Stephanie Gray: And so how do you feel about just taking each day as it comes. It's possible that what the doctors have said is going to happen as they've said it, but would you also agree it's also possible, just in the realm of possibility, that things won't happen precisely as the doctor has said, on a technically possible level?

Scott Rae: Yeah, I'm sure. My doctor is not infallible. He's a pretty smart guy, but he's made mistakes in the past. And he admits that he can predict some things on the short term, but not really in the long one very well.

Stephanie Gray: So, if knowing that, technically, what could happen is unknown, and what is happening is known. And what is happening, it sounds like from what you've said, is a situation where you want to continue to live right now, and you do believe that your family is not feeling overwhelmed and burdened by caring for you, that at least right here, right now, you are wanting to live for today.

Scott Rae: Yes, that's right. I can't predict that's going to be that way tomorrow, or in a month, and it's why I'd like to have the option of assisted suicide maybe a month from now, two months from now, when my suffering gets to the place where I deem it intolerable.

Stephanie Gray: What would make your suffering not intolerable? What would bring joy to your days? What would make you want to die naturally, as opposed to purposefully? What would those days have to look like for you?

Scott Rae: I think Having my wife and family around, being able to read a good book, have people who are important to me in my life just be around. But then, I'd say when it comes to, well, maybe the last month when my doctor predicts I'll be in a fetal position, I don't want my kids to see me. I don't want them to remember me like that. I want them to remember me in this condition. I'd really liked them to remember me like 20 years earlier, when I was in perfect health. So I'm not sure I want them to remember me in the way I'm going to be when it gets down to the final days.

Stephanie Gray: If I'm hearing you right though, you do want them to remember you today, as you are today. You want them to experience you today.

Scott Rae: I'm okay with that.

Stephanie Gray: You're okay with that?

Scott Rae: Yeah. It's not my first choice. I'm okay with that.

Stephanie Gray: Who's planned for tomorrow? Do you have someone coming out tomorrow?

Scott Rae: It depends on what my wife has planned. I know she'll be here, that's probably good enough for tomorrow.

Stephanie Gray: So, now I'm going back to narrating though, because I mean, we could-

Scott Rae: Note to listeners, we're stepping out of the role plays.

Stephanie Gray: We're stepping out of the role plays.

Scott Rae: Note, to listeners, that was a role play.

Stephanie Gray: Correct. So I wanted to step out of it, in order to make the point that conversations like this can't happen quickly. And so that's why eventually I thought, well, we're just going to have to break this for the sake of demonstration that, we can't be rushed. For me to try to convince you that you should never have assisted suicide, is not going to help, but can I convince you to not want it today? That was my goal. My goal was, how do I convince you to not want it today? And then my next goal was, who's coming tomorrow? How do I give you purpose for tomorrow?

Oh, you just told me your wife is coming. And then if I was involved in this situation, then also I would be pulling your wife and children aside and talking to them, how are they doing? First of all, from caregiver fatigue perspective, are they overwhelmed the way you're feeling they're overwhelmed? If they are, how do we alleviate that. If they're not, how do we help them help you better? Because sometimes loved ones don't realize that they might be conveying the burdensomeness of the sick loved one.

And so how do we help them interact with you in a particular way that that helps you feel more that you are a burden, then that you are a burden, which is how you're feeling now. And then how do we have them do intentional activities with you that give you joy? So then you start... That was just one little thing I asked. But again, if you had more time, you would really tease that out. What will make you fulfilled. And then being super intentional about making that part of a person's day.

There is a physician in Canada named Harvey Chochinov, who has developed something called dignity therapy, where he works with people to help them leave a legacy that is fulfilling for them. So, if they can't write, then you interview them and you write for them. What are your messages for loved ones? What are your lessons from life that you want them to know? What are funny moments you've experienced? And now they have purpose. "Oh, I'm storytelling, I'm legacy leaving, I'm doing all of this." And, and if people have that, then they're less likely to want assisted suicide.

And then going back to what I said about just focusing on today, is if we look at a situation of suffering and we look down the road, it is completely overwhelming. And all the more reason people want to exit in those situations. So we also want to bring people back to the present. What can we do right now? "Okay. We get through today, and then the next day." And then we start to realize, if you go through 10 good days, if I were to keep talking to you, and you were to have 10 good days, and then a really bad 11th day, where you then say to me, "I've been going day by day, and now I want it. It's day 11 and it's a bad day." Okay, well, it's natural you're going to say that. Because when we're in the midst of total turmoil, that is when we say, "I want to die."

But because we went day by day, in that moment, I'll be able to ask you, "How was yesterday? How was the day before yesterday?" And now you're going to start to tell me, and think through the last 10 days, and then we're going to look that of the past 11 days, 10 out of 11 were good. Is it possible we go to the technicallys? Is it technically possible that day 12 could be better than day 11? But again, it's a slow process, which is why I thought, well, let's just provide some analysis.

Sean McDowell: We hadn't set up all the parameters of exactly who he was. And that kind of came out in the conversation. In the middle, you said something about pleasing the Lord. Like, oh, he's role playing a Christian here.

Stephanie Gray: Yes, yes, yes.

Sean McDowell: How did that change or not change the dynamic for you, how you approach a conversation like this?

Stephanie Gray: Yes, well, certainly, the moment people mentioned things, and I think we stopped shortly after that, but that's why I asked, do you believe the Lord gives us what we need for the day? Because the moment you identify someone's belief system such as being a believer in Christ, well, then also, this is a time to relate to the suffering Christ.

Now, you might not say that at that exact moment, but we are then going to want to work with that person. What do the scriptures say about suffering? Work through the book of Job. Maybe with them. Not in that moment per se, but you're going to learn more, and "How do I help them see that from God's perspective, we aren't to be the ones who take lives including our own?"

Sean McDowell: Do you think it's a fair question? This hit my mind, but I don't know. This is not my world of expertise. When you said, Scott, I don't want to have my kids remember me this way, what hit my mind is, in the big picture of your life, do you want them to remember you as somebody who did choose to take your life, or who went out all the way to the end, trust in the Lord. Is that the kind of question? I'm curious how that strike to you.

Stephanie Gray: I think, definitely, at some point a question like that, I think what would be more helpful, would be to phrase it in a way that's not going to give a yes or no answer. Because when someone's in pain or they're really stressed, they're probably just going to say, "Yeah, I really don't want them to see me going out this way." But if you were to phrase it in such a way that they start to think, "Well, this is a part of the story, and the story is different chapters, and there have been other parts of my life that have been hard. They saw me angry, they saw me fight with my wife, they saw me... But that was the whole of me. And how would I feel if my child gave up on life, because I gave up on life."

Now, they might say, "I would feel fine," but get more specific. How would you feel if your son's marriage broke up and he committed suicide because of that? Because you'd committed suicide. I'll be at assisted when you were dying from your cancer. So now he's seeing, "Okay, my son wouldn't have been in the exact same situation as me, but is it possible that he could extrapolate from what I've done in this situation, and now apply it to just a different type of suffering?" How would you feel? So not, would you be okay with that is going to give a yes or no answer. How would you feel about that, and then see what he says?

Sean McDowell: But that's still way of saying, what you're going through matters, and it echoes to your kids. Even if you can't do the things you wanted to, the way you suffer matters for your loved ones. That's what you're communicating, which takes it to a whole nother level in someways.

Stephanie Gray: Absolutely, again, it's all about what example are we giving? And then even it was interesting. Okay, we're role playing, so I had to work with what you said, but I thought I thought I had... And actually goes to show we can actually think we've got a good direction, and then discover it's not with a particular person. So I thought I went in a great direction, when I asked you if you ever cared for someone around the clock. And I was expecting you to say, "As you did my children," but then when you were like, "I was just desperate for that to end and I wouldn't want to live through it again." I wasn't expecting you to go that way. And that's the thing about-

Scott Rae: Don't tell my children.

Stephanie Gray: That's the thing about interacting with people, is we are all unique, and we're unrepeatable, and irreplaceable, and we can't be scripted. This wasn't to tell someone you will have a conversation exactly as we've done it. It was simply to demonstrate, we got to go slow, we got to ask questions. I want to draw stuff out of you. I want to seek to understand there's this ancient prayer called the peace prayer, and midway through the prayer you say, "Oh, divine master grant that I may not so much seek to be understood is to understand." And so I think the heart of the person talking to the suffering individual is to want to seek, to understand what's going on. And that takes patience, and that takes a lot of questions, and then it takes a lot of listening, and then it takes a lot of praying.

Scott Rae: Well, I hope our listeners have felt like this is a helpful exercise. Definitely, I appreciate you stepping into that role play with me. I know it was putting you on the spot a bit. But I think what came out of this, I think was a couple things that were really important. One is the importance of presence, listening, and asking questions. But the other thing I think is, to emphasize on what is it that will give a suffering person some sort of meaning to help, maybe not entirely redeem it, but to make it tolerable. And I think, to focus on the legacy that you're leaving, "What do I want my kids to remember about me? What do I want to impart to the people who are closest to me?" Maybe a good friend who said, I spent a lot of my life modeling for my kids how to live, and now God's given me the chance to model for them how to die.

Sean McDowell: Wow.

Scott Rae: That's really powerful.

Stephanie Gray: It's the last lesson you will leave.

Scott Rae: And I want to make that one a good one. So I very much appreciate you stepping into that with me, because I think it's really insightful for our listeners to realize the tangible good that they can actually do for their loved ones who are in pain and suffering, particularly if it's not going to be temporary. And that's a big part of our calling as the body of Christ for each other.

Stephanie Gray: And at the end of the day, we are made to love and be loved. And as an elderly person who wants... Let's say they have children, as you described, don't want their kids to see them suffering this way, who once was parenting a young child they loved. Now at the end of life is their opportunity to be loved, and to even get someone thinking when you were caring for your children, and you were exhausted, what did caring for them do for you? When they couldn't communicate? When they were infants, when they were crying, when they were, whatever, how was your caring for them, growth in virtue for you? And then helping them see that your adult childs now caring for you, is your way of doing nothing, but at the same time doing everything, your total and utter dependence on your children is giving them an opportunity to love having been loved, to love in such a way as to be totally transformed in their person, and in their growth in virtue.

Scott Rae: And it's also building virtue into the patient himself or herself by being dependent like that.

Stephanie Gray: Yes. Humility, realizing that it's very humbling. The difference of course, between an old person and a baby, is a baby has never known toileting themselves as an example. But the old person who has been totally independent is now very vulnerable. But that growth in surrender and dependency, and humility.

Scott Rae: Stephanie, this has been so insightful. Thank you so much for agreeing to do part two with us on this. I want to commend your book when it's available, Suicide To Assist or Not A Life Affirming Reflection on the Universal Experience of Suffering. Because the book really is much more about that than it is about assisted suicide. So, we're very grateful for your time with us, for writing the book, continued blessings to you and your pro-life ministry around the world, and we look forward to having you on again at some other point.

Stephanie Gray: Thank you. God bless you both.

Scott Rae: This has been an episode of the podcast, Think Biblically, Conversations on Faith and Culture. To learn more about us and today's guest, Stephanie Gray, and to find more episodes, go to biola.edu/thinkbiblically. That's biola.edu/thinkbiblically. If you enjoyed today's conversation, give us a rating on your podcast app, and share it with a friend. Thanks so much for listening and remember, think Biblically about everything.