What’s it all about, Alfie?
Alfie Evan’s life hangs in the balance.
At nine months, he began experiencing seizures, and caught a chest infection when his parents checked him into the hospital in Great Britain.
Once again, the world witnesses a tug of war between parents who want the hospital to save the life of their child, and a system constrained by bureaucracy, budgets, and bean counters.
Doctors expected Alfie to die.
He fooled them. He improved enough to have his ventilator removed.
Then he had a set back when beset by another chest infection. Ultimately, the medical system in Great Britain said Alfie’s situation was hopeless and insisted that his ventilator be permanently removed.
The parents took the bureaucracy to court and lost. Like Charlie Gard before him, the government-run health system in Great Britain is giving up on Alfie. Other countries, including Italy, said they would take him and care for him. But the bureaucracy won’t allow it.
They are convinced his life isn’t worth saving.
The Culture of Death.
But is it? In this culture of death, have we created systems that are too quick to give up on human life? Is this the system so many want to see established in the United States?
Pope Francis tweeted out his prayerful support:
“Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.”
Bishop Robert Barron echoed the Pope’s feelings:
“Friends, let’s join with the Holy Father in praying for this poor boy and his family. May God bless them!”
Little Alfie’s name evokes a beautiful song composed by Burt Bacharach in 1967 with memorable lyrics by Hal David:
What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie
Then I guess it is wise to be cruel
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie
I know there’s something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in
I believe in love, Alfie
Without true love we just exist, Alfie
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie
When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you’ll find love any day, Alfie
Let’s be fools.
Don’t you think when it comes to this little boy that we should be fools?
Shouldn’t we believe in love, which means to give until it hurts, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta once stated? As Mr. Davis expresses,
“without true love, we just exist.”
Let’s do more than just exist. Let’s embrace life.
Let Alfie live.
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