What’s airing on Pro-Life Perspective Today? “Making the Most of Our Lives”

By Dave Andrusko

NRLC President Carol Tobias

National Right to Life President and Pro-Life Perspective Host Carol Tobias invites her listeners to ponder a quite remarkable, if not perfect, column written by the New York Times’ David Brooks about the murder/suicide of Charles Snelling.

It was a remarkable intersection, in that Brooks last year had asked his readers to submit essays evaluating their lives. Snelling, a successful entrepreneur who spent decades serving his community, sent a remarkable piece in which he wrote about how his life had changed since his beloved wife, Adrienne, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years before.

In his essay, Snelling said of Adrienne,

‘She took  care of me in every possible way she could for 55 years. The last six years have been my turn…We continue to make a life together, living together in the full sense of the word; going about our life, hand in  hand, with everyone lending a hand, as though nothing was wrong at all. ‘It’s not noble, it’s not sacrificial and  it’s not painful. It’s just right in the scheme of things. … Sixty-one years ago, a partner to our marriage who knew how to nurture, nurtured a partner who needed nurturing. Now, 61 years later, a partner who is learning how to nurture is nurturing a partner who needs nurturing.”

Yet, as Brooks wrote in his column, “On March 29, less than four months after we published his essay online, Snelling killed his wife and then himself.” Brooks then probes this tragedy—speculating what might have happened–and on a story that the Times had run by Matt Flegenheimer about the deaths which drew a variety of responses.

You will want to listen to “Making the Most of our Lives” at www.prolifeperspective.com so let me add just this. While

“The majority support or sympathize with Snelling’s double-killing”  (some “were impressed by the Romeo-and-Juliet-style ending that Snelling created”) others were greatly upset by Snelling’s actions, Brooks writes.

Brooks wrote

“…I can come to only one conclusion: Either Snelling was so overcome that he lost control of his faculties, or he made a lamentable mistake. I won’t rehearse the religious arguments against murder and suicide…Our job is not to determine who is worthy of life, but how to make the most of the life we have been given.”

Mrs. Tobias observes, “Let me repeat that last sentence: ‘Our job is not to determine who is worthy of life, but how to make the most of the life we have been given.’ You heard that correctly. And, yes, it was published in The New York Times.” 

Brooks observes the tremendous turnaround in Snelling’s feelings and adds an essential question,  “But who is to say how Snelling would have felt four months from now.”

Mrs. Tobias concludes Pro-Life Perspective for Tuesday by quoting Brooks’ eloquent and heart-wrenching ending:

“It seems wrong to imagine that you have mastery over everything you will feel and believe. It’s better to respect the future, to remain humbly open to your own unfolding.

“Furthermore, I bought the arguments that Snelling made in that essay: that his wife’s illness had become a call for him to exercise virtue and to serve as an example for others; that people are joined by suffering, and that the life of a community is enriched by the hard tasks placed before it; that dependency is the normal state of affairs.”

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