Little, Sweet Reminders

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Forgive the blur. But this is a recent portrait of me: a LOVED HUMAN who is a FIGHTER!

 

BACKGROUND: It’s been a while since I last wrote in my blog! Well, as some of you dear readers know, med school happened and that means more time spent in academic stuff than blogging. But earlier this morning, during my daily devotional time, the message struck me and I had the urgent need to share my heart out. Despite the fact that it’s hell week as some would consider it (it’s the last week of classes BTW= yehey!!), I’m glad to have this moment of keeping my fingers busy. After all, I need a simple break from all the studying and I can’t deny it; I miss doing this!

THE ESSENTIALS: So the message was to “remind the people” and in the process that I was reminded of such a task, it would bring much bearing if I don’t keep to myself these reminders that are worthy to be shared to the world especially for times like these:

  1. You are loved. By God. By family. By friends. By someone.

After experiencing some challenges recently (in all aspects from sickness to stress to failure), I was able to see a clearer picture of God’s love for me. Sometimes, when life is smooth and everything seems to go well, we lose sight of what we have. We tend to forget the Lord and we fail to appreciate His love for us as we set our eyes on other things that seek our affection. That’s why maybe He allows trials to come our way so that this would not happen. And yet during such times, His love endures and sustains us. It is His love that causes Him to heal our infirmities, that keeps us going in the journey He’s called us (in my case, to continue studying though I feel like giving up), that brings us back to Him after we’ve hurt or failed Him constantly. And you know what I like about His love is that it is expressed in so many ways. Like through the people around you, whom He can use to bless you or mold you. Or just the simple necessities we take for granted: food, water, air, clothing.

And let us not forget Calvary. Oh, just to think how the Son of God was more than willing to give His life as a ransom for sinful man! Every time I meditate on this, it is just so overwhelming! Such a reminder is enough fuel for me to make the best out of my life, to live for Him out of earnest love and deepest gratitude. How about you?

2. You can do this! Through Christ Who gives you strength. (Phil. 4:13)

Being a medical student is such a great privilege but most of the time, it may be a burden with all the responsibilities and expectations laid on you. It is inevitable to be overwhelmed with the stock of knowledge to be dealt with in the absence of luxury of time. And I believe that some would even sacrifice their health or family time just to compensate. Well, this does not hold true for future doctors. In this fast paced world where competition thrives and selfish ambition rules, it is easy to give in to hopelessness, fear and loss of confidence. We are all prone to wear out and give up. But as cliche as this sounds, may this adage remind why you can achieve your goals and pursue your dreams no matter what: “If God puts you to it, He will put you through it.”

3. You are human. With limitations. With weaknesses. But with passions and necessities.

Somehow linked to the second reminder, there’s indeed more to life than just studying. Or whatever it is that we’re bound to do, wherever God called us. In order to keep a striking balance, let us not forget that we also have other needs. Giving ourselves a break by participating in sports, music, art, etc. or just indulging in a sweet treat- these can make all the difference. (Look at me now; I could have studied Pathology but I still feel equally fulfilled with this writing!)

So I guess that’s about it! Just three simple reminders. For myself. For you. For the whole jaded world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Baggage-less 2017

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While I was cleaning my room last Friday (this was my much needed general cleaning), I found this piece of an old calendar. It might be a coincidence that through the mess, this was the only exact paper that was detached from the rest. But with the quote written on it, I can’t help but think that this was divine intervention in ways I may never know or explain.

But nevertheless, what really matters is the timely message I received as I was on the crossroads of a new year- which meant a page of a new 365  page book and writing a good one as Brad Paisley puts it. (Sighs). Yes, I feel determined in achieving that end by God’s grace but sometimes, in the long run, I may get too exhausted or wearied down. (You may have read my entry, the one prior to this which was my last for 2016; it somehow reflects how I failed to apply the quote in the photo above) That’s why it is so important for me to fully let go of all the negatives I have carried in 2016 in order to really start another year the right way!

So looking back to yesterday, the first day of 2017, I am peacefully contented and blissfully grateful that I started the process of living life minus the unnecessary baggage. Having surrendered my burdens and committed my will to God, I was able to bring joy (I cleaned my mother’s garden and it brought a smile to her face), perseverance (I got to play my violin again with high hopes that my skills would improve ), faith (I learned to shake off the doubts and just trust the Lord; I’m still learning) and love (This was manifested by all of the following because I wouldn’t want to live right this 2017 if it were not for it. Thank You Jesus for the love!)

(Breathes deeply)

I don’t know how this year would turn out or if all these efforts would end up in vain. Certainly, life is full of uncertainties. But one thing remains certain to me: I’m learning to live life to the fullest now, certain kilos lesser!

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Nanay was not the only one happy on January 1. Look at the plants! How huge their smiles!

The Inquisition

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I don’t know if it’s the hormones or just the holiday blues but I sort of felt burdened/weary recently… Well, human as I am, I am always prone to fluctuations in my mood or emotions. Who on earth is not? There is no immunity no matter how much I consider myself to be a proton. To express myself subtly, here are random questions (some petty, some serious) I’m faced with at the moment and maybe you, dear reader have an answer or two…

Why is it that when you want to achieve something out of good purpose (you’re actually doing someone a favor with your willingness to help) , you end up with ‘antagonism’? But the person who asks something that is not needed at all from that same someone, is met with, ironically, a positive response?

How is it that some people cannot afford to say even just a simple “thank you” especially when it is somehow desirably expected?

 Why do good people still lose friends? 

Why is it that some people are so perplexed and hard to grasp? You are willing to help but why do they still choose to make things more complicated?

How do you get your doctor parents to listen to you? Because seriously, you’re very concerned with their health but they’re like worse than kids so how do you stay patient with such patients?

What should I really feel when people think I’m a high school student? Should I be happy because I still look young or should I feel bad because there might be something wrong with my endocrine system? 

How long will it take for me to get this right? When will the cycle ever stop? 

Why did I allow myself to become like this? I know some things will never be, should never be but why do I feel so inclined to feel such emotions for or to these people?

Why is it that people always seem to see the good in me and put me on a pedestal? Not that it’s a bad thing but how I wish they knew so they could see that I’m also struggling or maybe worse than they could be/are?

Do I have what it takes to become the doctor I intend to be and what God plans me to be?

Will I ever find the girl of my dreams? Or is she already there and I just have to open my eyes?

Will I be ready for the second Advent? (I hope and pray so. I had to answer something for this one. After all, the eternal prize is my most important goal in life.)

(Breathes deeply.)

I think I feel much better now, to the point that I can light up a cigarette. (Joke intended!)

 

Note to ‘My 22 Year Old Self Going 23’

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Wounded and scarred but not for life… Photo taken by: Shannen Cruz

 

BACKSTORY: Hey guys! It’s been a while, I know, since my last post. I’ve been so busy ever since second year of med school started. And finding time to write on my blog just doesn’t fit to my priorities recently. But since tomorrow is my 23rd birthday, I’m taking the time to really put out my feelings especially that the past year has been meaningful and challenging, unforgettable in ways I could not express. Such release will be expressed in a letter to myself, highlighting some (or maybe all) my hard earned and valuable insights or lessons throughout my 22nd year of existence….


Dear Kyle,

How are you? Happy birthday, by the way… Well, happy seems to be an understatement because it’s not happiness that you feel. It must be joy. It is joy. Relentless joy that is merely the outcome of a life filled with blessings from above. God has been so gracious to you in ways that only you know, in ways that you don’t even deserve. But then again, God is love, God is good, as you’ve experienced time and time again.

The past year has seen you gain a lot of new experiences and new friends worth remembering and keeping. You have learned to overcome your fears and get to do things for the first time like that zip line experience in Palawan or that board exam reviewer task you took . You learned a lot of fascinating things especially in med school. From neuroanatomy to ECG to the Cattell maneuver and recently to pemphigus vulgaris and all those mind-blowing skin conditions. (Wow, med school can really kill you…)

You’ve grown, Kyle; but human as you are, you also had your moments of decline- physical, mental and spiritual. You suffered many bouts of preventable sickness which in turn affected your studies; your academic performance has not been exemplary as before (but that’s okay, don’t push yourself too hard!) and worst of all, you succumbed to the darkness inside you, to the very things that separate you from God. But thank heavens, God is mighty to save! In your greatest weakness, at your lowest points, throughout your pains and sorrows, you learned to survive as you learned to depend on His amazing grace! Out of such events which have left you scarred and jaded, you have come out victorious! And unto victory to victory you shall achieve!

Yes, you have been careless – in a lot of things, with a lot of things, tangible or not. And it is only at the end, when you cannot do anything, that you consider their value. You have been too naïve and look at how some people seem to have manipulated you or used you for their advantage. Well, hasn’t it been like this for a long time already? I forgive you for being like that. Maybe it was high time for you to realize this after all before it could be too late, before you end up being the masochist. All these when a close friend of yours would all of a sudden, distance himself from you? And you gave him space, time to sort things out for himself. But when you tried to reach out in ways that only felt possible, you don’t get any response but just pure, cold treatment. Or is silence worse?  Then you question yourself: “Did I do anything wrong to deserve this? Am I or was I guilty of something unknown to myself which caused this dilemma?” As far as you know, your conscience is clear. And it brings comfort. May it’s better for you when some things are left unspoken or unknown. Yes, comfort yourself with these words and move on! Remember that it’s never your loss. You did what you had to do. You deserve a better life minus the unnecessary confusion and drama. Maybe it’s safe to say you have better friends, the onesyou need to focus on.

Despite your carelessness, Kyle, you can still do something about it. Despite your mistakes and failures, you can always rise up and never do them again. You can become better. You can still choose to look at the bright side of recent trials and past tests. You can still live your life to the fullest!

That’s why you’re blessed to have this fresh start as you leave the portals of 22 and become a year older! With God, altogether with your family and your ‘real’ friends, you are able. You are not alone. You are loved.

Lovingly yours,

Yours truly


P.S. Sorry I had to vent some things out! Writing is sometimes the only outlet I have in order for me to ease the burden…. Your prayers for my personal concerns would be appreciated….

 

 

I Freaking Hate It When…

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Not my usual face but as a human being, I have the right to put on such…

Backstory: I arrived just last Sunday back  to my second home, Iloilo City for the burial of my uncle and for our annual PE before enrollment the next day. And you know what welcomed me? Traffic. Incessant, disturbing traffic. Well, for a highly progressive place that’s become more of a metropolis recently, this is a normal scenario. But with the ongoing reblocking of the street in front of my school, things have worsened.

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Let the picture do the talking!!!

Before, I was already planning of writing about the things that irk me or bug me; in short, things that I hate. And with this very stark trigger, how could I not do that now? (Laughs) But please don’t get me wrong. I do have a tendency to complain at times but that doesn’t mean I’m the squawker type of person. (By God’s grace, may I lose this tendency though!) My initial purpose was to vent out such things as a way of expressing myself and sharing my opinion (I do live in a democratic country.) BUT with tact and dignity. Well, ranting is not the way to go for a Christian like me! You see, human as we are, we all hate something. Or even someone, right? (If this is true for you, then I pray that you let go of the hatred.This feeling is not healthy as Jesus told us in Luke 6:27-28: But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.) But the latter is another topic so I’ll just stick with the things that I dislike because I don’t want to hate anybody. 

And before I forget, this was supposed to be an Expressions Tuesday post! But because I was too busy yesterday, I’d just have to make a delayed one as I did before. Besides, some of my readers live in different time zones so yes, it’s still Tuesday for them! To aggravate this, there was a brownout (this is what we call blackout here).

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Reaching 100 likes inspired me to write this post!!!!

 

Whoa! Too much for an introduction. Let’s get it on with the 7 (yes, it seems like the perfect number) things or situations that I hate! I freaking hate it when:

  1. I end up in traffic especially preventable, unnecessary traffic. To supplement what I shared above, what bothered me the most with the present condition of Luna Street was the untimeliness of the government project. I have nothing against roads getting fixed but I just wonder why on earth didn’t they start it last summer? I think the reblocking started last June or July and so it would be hard for students to go to school. (By the way, most schools start their classes on June here in the Philippines.) And since it is still rainy season, you could imagine how that would stall the reconstruction. Tsk!!!! I hope and pray that this project would be finished as soon as possible!
  2. I see rampant pollution. As an environment-conscious individual, it makes me sad to see how my country is so dirty compared to its neighbor Singapore. I still haven’t traveled there but I know how strict their policies are on littering and garbage disposal. Well, there are cleaner places in the Philippines but in every city or town, there are always areas where the sight and smell are not pleasant. Goes to show how most of my fellowmen lack the discipline even in just putting trash where it belongs.
  3. Cigarette smoke says hello. Somehow connected to number 2 but with more emphasis on its impact to my and other people’s health. Especially when such noxious air comes from people who shouldn’t smoke or who are in places where smoking is prohibited. I call for strict implementation of ordinances and rules on smoking!
  4. Mosquitoes go on a biting buffet on me. As they dig me a lot, I always end up with the discomfort of scratching! Thank God, I haven’t suffered from dengue or malaria! I hope it remains that way. Ugh! Why couldn’t these creatures just suck my fats and not my blood?!
  5. I see an horrific image on the Internet by accident. I don’t watch horror movies but it doesn’t translate to security from seeing something dreadful. Twice, while I was scrolling my Facebook home page, I saw Valak from Conjuring (‘May masamang balak’). And it freaked me out! The worse part was how my mind vividly captured her image. Good thing, I didn’t have nightmares during those times.
  6. Someone stalks me. Who doesn’t? Actually, today marks the 3rd anniversary of my creepy encounter with my female schizophrenic stalker. I was avoiding her when I noticed she was into me or something. And I guess she got tired of my dodging so in order to get my attention, she threw her Nokia cellphone on me. Because of the impact to my head, it took a couple of seconds for me to analyze the thing that just happened. Plus, my lil’ sis got hit too but worse because it was by  the pointed part of the phone that really disassembled due to the force! I remember that out of my exasperation, I posted a status on Facebook that was so unlikely of me! (Hakuna matata, there were no curse words! Haha….) But as I look back now, I could only laugh at it and be grateful that because of that incident, she never bothered me again.
  7. I make careless, feeling-driven choices. (This one seems to be the most serious and personal.) “Life is what you make it”, they say and with every wrong decision you get to put yourself on the line for another one. I’ve read that making decisions out of feelings always lead to destruction and I got to  experience that the hard way. May it be that by God’s grace, I get to make wiser and better ones from this forward.

So far, these are the things I hate. There may be more than I can remember. But what’s important is that I was able to have a sweet release.

How about yours? I suggest you write them down too so that maybe, just maybe, you can do something about them.

Round and Round….. No More

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Let our constant speech be: “Lord, save me or I perish! I surrender all!”

Have you ever felt like your life is an endless cycle of mistakes and failures? You fall, dust off the dirt, you rise up; you stumble, you rise up again. And it’s with the same things you’ve been battling ever since: some formidable strongholds, darling sins or even secret weaknesses that have plagued you for too long. By and with God’s grace, you recover and experience a plethora of rich blessings and wonderful opportunities making you feel like you’re completely over the things that link you to the past; that you’d never do them again. But before you know it, you end up at the same place you never wanted to return to. With this heart-aching turn of events, the enemy of souls would cause you to think that there is no chance for you to come back to God, to change for the better. And now, you feel utterly hopeless and undoubtedly helpless. Too much for a description huh?  But I guess that’s the way it is when you really experienced such. And if your answer to the question above is YES (a resounding but bitter one), welcome to the club, dear friend! (Here’s my comforting virtual hug!) Don’t get stuck up with these negative feelings though! There is always hope in our Redeemer, Savior and Friend Jesus Christ! And it is my utmost desire to briefly share some insights the Lord has provided me with to you!

I believe that everyone in the world has his/her own spiritual Waterloo. Well, some have become victorious in their battle! (Praise God for that!) But to those who are still on the rocks, we need to understand one important truth: we are wretched human beings, born as sinners and always having the propensity to sin. Paul got it right when he wrote in Romans 7:24- “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (This verse actually has captured the essence of my personal spiritual experience.) Once we come to a full understanding of this, we see that whatever we do, we can’t stop something or change ourselves without divine aid. We are nothing on our own. We surely need the grace of God more than a strong will to overcome! Please echo with me in response to the said text, “No one can save me but Thee!”

But we later realize that God’s grace doesn’t win us all the time when it competes with our sins.It should because His grace is sufficient for us. (2 Corinthians 12:9) However, this is enough to say that something is still wrong or something is missing. You see, salvation is never a once-in-a-lifetime moment. It is a daily process of full surrender (where those things that kept you far from the Lord are not worth clinging to or they lose their power over you) and total commitment to what a ransomed life in Christ entails. What would it profit me if I am saved but I still do the same things that God is against? To add, it could be possible that we depend on feelings and think everything’s okay; only to find out in the end that there was no true conversion within us at all. Let us not forget that “true conversion means a changed life” as one of my favorite authors, Ellen G. White puts it. Or maybe we have been relying on ourselves too much that His grace is nothing more but just a lyric of a song.

Somehow, in assessment of myself, all those factors played a role on why I’m still struggling.But it’s not the end for me yet. I chose not to give up and get away from this mess. I am determined to make things right with the help of the Lord and now, I am humbled to say that I am 100% dependent upon His grace! Through faith, grace by which I stand, by which I am saved, by which I can change.

I don’t know about you but I’m sure tired of going around in circles!

P.S. Here’s a song to complete my post and to serve as a musical add-on!

IMAGE SOURCE: https://adventistmissionary.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/christ-hugging

The Switch

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SOURCE: Miriam Defensor Santiago for President FB Page

13 days to go ’til another historical day in our country begins. When 54.4 million voters get to practice their right of suffrage in order to place the people of their choice into more than 20 positions on the line. When the whole nation unites in making a difference as we, once again, face the elections which would either bring us onto an era of progress and change or back to the same old state of poverty and corruption.

As the Philippines is beset with many problems, either new or continuing, there is no doubt that this year’s elections (especially for the presidency) is one of the most relevant ones throughout the years. With the increasing tension on the West Philippine Sea, we are in need of a president who knows how to deal with this, through diplomacy, tactfully and to fight for our sovereignty rights effectively. With the continuity of corruption as evidenced post Typhoon Yolanda and by previous elections (a disease so inherent within our government that even the ‘Daang Matuwid’ could not correct), we need a leader who is credible and adamant; capable enough to clean up the pretty mess left behind by past administrations; one who cannot be bought by anything. (More importantly, he or she should never be tainted with corruption issues.) And even though our GDP may have increased in the last few years, a 2016 survey spills the bitter truth: 50% of the population rate themselves to be poor. The economy is still improving I believe and there are still lots of unemployed Filipinos seeking jobs and the better life. This situation entails for someone who is rightfully educated and also aware that there is still an economic crisis going on. In addition, realities of worsening health conditions of some fellowmen as AIDS cases increased, of criminality never losing its toll and of the impending doom of climate change, necessitate the citizenry to vote for a person who has full and rich experience in government service. (Whoa! Such heavy burdens for the next president but these are only a few that we are dealing with now, right?!)

If you think deeply on who fits the qualifications for the situations mentioned above, there is no other name but Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago that comes to mind. But she has chronic fatigue syndrome. Worse, she has cancer. And all the rationalization begins which bears fruit to saying no to MDS because she might not last if elected as president. This was my case before as election season went on. VP Binay might be decisive as he says but I don’t want a man with plunder charges or with the tendency of evading questions thrown at him. Senator Grace Poe seemed eager and promising but her lack of experience clearly speaks in volumes of why voting for her is truly unwise. Sec. Mar Roxas looks like a fitting successor for PNoy but come on, if he wins, I guess it will just be the same as his predecessor’s regime. I bet many people would agree with me that they want to experience something ‘new’- wherein every Filipino gets to live fully. And when all hope seemed to be lost, Mayor Duterte came to the scene. With a serious fortitude and a genuine appeal to the Filipino people, one cannot help but decide to support him. To add, he has an impressive background and Davao City is plainly the living evidence. Although he did have a  history of being a ‘bad mouth’, I read from a Yahoo article that he was willing to change that for his country. And for other reasons which I cannot include here, I chose to vote for him.I was willing to give him a shot! My decision was final and I supported him all the way until AFTER, just recently, the rape comment controversy exploded and even became international. Just as one supporter would do, I investigated and searched for the truth. I understood the whole matter completely, considerate of why Duterte made such remarks. Yes, it was uncalled for but it was all street slang. His actions while he was still mayor proved that he despises rape to its very core. How I wish he was just careful with his words then as I hope he would be in the future especially if he would become the president. So, personally, not too good for the ones trying to bring him down through black propaganda!

However, as the news went global, things got from bad to worse for Duterte. And instead of learning from his mistake which might affect subsequent surveys in the next weeks, he has made more controversial statements. One particular thing he did which bothered me was his dare to sever ties with the US and Australia. Although I just learned that it was a hypothetical question according to him as stated in a news article, such conception is too provocative. The page turner for me was a statement indicating that he won’t change who he was; therefore contradicting his words before (which I specified above). It occurred to me that if he was not open to change within himself, then how can he become a model of change for us? With this inconsistency and also with his flippant behavior during debates (how much more his answers which feel more like jokes!), I started to evaluate my decision. Another rationalization began for me and I asked for divine guidance since I know this matter is contributory to how my country would be in the next 6 years. And before I forget, this is my first time to vote so this is meaningful to me somehow. I want to vote according to my conscience despite what the surveys say or what my family thinks. I want to vote wisely, without regrets later.

And with this heartfelt concern that must be addressed with mindfully, the Presidential Debates 2016 last April 24 sealed the deal for me as I made the SWITCH TO SENATOR MIRIAM-DEFENSOR SANTIAGO. My FB status after watching was:

It was a tough choice but I have finally made up my mind! Thank God! Well, more of like changed my mind… 😊

“Despite battling with cancer, I can see the determination of this woman in leading our long lost country. Talk about this selfless and sacrificial willingness which appealed to me through tonight’s debate inspite of her stark struggle on stage! Anyhow, I will vote for the person, though with cancer but has the full potential to spearhead the cure for the cancer (corruption) which has crippled this nation ever since!” – KBH

In support of my views, MDS has less of the controversial side to her in relation to the world community which is beneficial in tackling international issues. Plus, as I don’t want to vote by the ‘lesser-evil’ principle (well, come to think of it, she has not been accused during her political career as far as I can remember) I feel like her achievements and her expertise far outweigh all her opponents combined. And what about her cancer? She has survived a lot in her life already. I believe the Lord can do a miracle for her; sustaining her or the better, curing her. (I will pray for that!) It might not happen but I’m giving her a shot this time. Yes it is a risk but one I’m willing to take because after all, I know deep within, I made the right choice this time- conscientious, free of unnecessary influence, guided by above!

To end, I just would like to ask you, dear reader, to pray for our country. If you are Filipino, please pray for wisdom to select the appropriate leaders. If not, kindly intercede for us to have clean, safe and successful elections come May 9! Without God, our Highest Hope, not the candidates, our country would never survive or flourish. Let Him be our Guide as we enter into a better Philippines as we constantly speak in the words of Miriam: “God preserve this country and begin with me!”

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!