Whether he lives or dies, Charlie Gard, the centre of world attention for most of his little life, will never know that he was the most famous baby in the world, for the saddest of reasons.
The best and the worst of human behaviour has been prompted, unknowingly, by Charlie as he lies trapped in a failing body while bitter arguments rage about his future. Everyone has an opinion, it seems, however much or little they know about his case; lawyers, lobbyists, activists, and the media are involved, some using his case as a means of political statement, some possibly using it as a means to make money, or trouble. The energies swirling around the name of Charlie Gard by those who shout and hate do not help the well-being of a baby who is very ill, who needs peace and love as his future is determined.
They do not help the many other sick babies in hospitals everywhere nor their families, whose anxiety will not be helped by the scenes and stories about Charlie Gard. Great Ormond Street Hospital is caring for more than one child: the stress on all the parents there, and the staff, is unimaginable, and any parent with a sick child will hurt all the more.
Meanwhile, Charlie Gard has evoked love in the hearts of all who have compassion. In so many places prayers are being said for him, and for his parents and those who care for him, beautifully. His name and image summon a tenderness for him tinged with sadness for a situation and dilemma that causes each of us to ponder deeply. We may think we know what should be done, but unless we are in that situation ourselves, we cannot know what we would do.
Love is always the key, and decisions based on loving kindness are right decisions: thoughts and actions based on hatred, or violence, ignorance or selfishness, help no-one. It is sad that Charlie Gard’s fate has to be decided in a Court of Law, but judges have hearts too. Mr Justice Francis will decide according to the law, but with the best interests of this child at the heart of his decision. I hope that is remembered in the days to come.