2016: A Year of Lessons/Realizations

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PHOTO taken by my good friend and brother in Christ, Jared Kaiser

Fresh from a wonderful Sabbath of serving God and fellowship with my family plus friends, I am so stoked to have this post as my last for the year 2016. I was so blessed with the messages I heard from the Divine Service (it was so timely!) up to the AY Program. And it is my utmost desire to faithfully apply these in my life as the new year begins. (So help me God!)

2016 has been a very challenging year for me. In a lot of ways: physically, mentally (more of like academically), socially/emotionally and of course, as evidenced in recent write-ups, spiritually. I have to say I’ve grown for the good but it would be a lie not to admit that I’ve also grown for the worse. But despite all the happenings I went through this year, God has ever remained faithful and gracious to me. May that be reflected in the things I’m about to share.

Instead of writing about my highlights, let me share the lessons (hence, the title) or the realizations I’ve had from out of the different experiences I was in or circumstances I dealt with:

  1. No matter how hard you try to be good or kind to others, there will always be people who will use you, take advantage of your or hurt you for hurting’s sake. But then again, we live in an imperfect world; we can’t please everyone. So I guess I end up reminding myself that it is God Who I need to please or to focus on. And worse, maybe they thought that by dong such, you will go dark. But you will prove them wrong because you choose to let the good in you remain and improve for the better. Ouch! It seems like the first one is salt on a wound but definitely it’s the one that has the most impact on me. As you may have read in a post in the past, I’ve been through one ‘valley’ which tested my faith in God and my will to survive. But the Lord saw me through. So with love and forgiveness in my heart, I will move on to 2017 with this lesson inculcated in my heart.
  2. I’m a garbage collector, a good one. During the general cleaning of my room, I got to see how many stuff I have kept through the years that needed to be disposed. It made me ponder that I probably collected a lot of garbage, not only  literally but also in my life’s room; maybe people, habits, emotions or other things which I definitely need to let go. So with enthusiasm and for a good purpose, here’s to cleaning up my life! (Plastic also serve as part of my collection but hopefully they’re not the people I know!)
  3. You can never survive anything life throws at you without God. Well, I believe I’m not the only one who understands this fully. From the book of Job (which was our topic for the Sabbath School lesson this quarter) to experiencing many tough times, I came to value how a relationship with God really helps during such and what faith in Him entails. Yes, being comforted by your family and friends is a blessing. But to know that the God of the Universe knows your pain and cares enough for You; to add, that He is always in control no matter what happens, is certainly far better. So here’s to enriching my spiritual walk even more as I enter 2017!!!

There are surely a lot of lessons/realizations for this year but these three are the ones worth sharing and heart tugging as well! I just could not overemphasize how deeply thankful I am for God’s love manifested in His guidance, sustenance, protection, and of course His forgiveness! Your grace is truly amazing, dear Lord!

With a grateful heart, a focused mind and a confident spirit, I move forward to 2017! Happy New Year!

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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!)

 

Decembreak (December + Sembreak) Feels

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Forgive the tiny photo but at least it shows how happy I am this Christmas break..

And finally after quite some time, I am back to blogging! It is quite clear to me now that I cannot successfully accommodate the demands of being a med student and a blogger! But I have high hopes that come 2017, I can squeeze in WordPress every now and then as a sort of study break. Well, I sort of just had a ‘lag’ on what to write next due to hunger and yes, I’m forcing myself to finish this post so that I could reward myself with a nice dinner. Anyway, let me share with you briefly what I plan to do this Christmas vacation which also serves as our sem break. (Sorry if I had to break down what the ‘play-with-words’ title was and not leave you to get it! Oh well, that’s me making sure you do! )

It was only last Wednesday, December 14, when our Christmas break began and since then I have been pretty busy juggling work and rest. Coming from the most tiring and challenging semester in med school so far, I was thirsty for a break. Imagine my endurance and patience during the last days of exams when studying seemed to be an obligation and no longer a delight. So yes, you could tell I really couldn’t wait for first sem to be over! And I guess it was the same case for my batch mates. Now that I’m here living out my vacation, I just feel so relieved. Looking back, I can’t help but say “Thank God I survived that one hell of a ride!”

With only three weeks and 4 days already done, I have so much to do in such a small amount of time. And from my history of making lots of goals but ending up not achieving them all, there is just this spark of determination I feel right now for this year’s Christmas vacation to be different. So here’s me hoping and praying I get to achieve the following:

  1.  PROJECT WEIGHT GAIN: Now’s the essential time to gain back the pounds I lost while studying and stressing myself out! It is timely for such ’cause not only it’s Christmas but I’m back home! Nothing beats delicious, home-cooked meals by Nanay (mom)!
  2. Play my violin more and once again . It’s such a shame that I left my Bachendorff to rust and dust. But it’s high time for my fingers to hit some strings and hold a bow. How I wish though that this pursuit of learning the instrument more would involve a violin teacher BUT for free. (Chuckles)
  3. Christmas shopping. Well, it’s the usual routine each year but hakuna matata, I don’t forget the true essence of the season. Actually, I’m the most conscientious among my siblings when it comes to buying stuff for presents and I don’t get myself too absorbed with all the gifts and all. (Jesus Christ is the greatest gift, what more could I or we ask for?!)
  4. Finish my albums. I’ve always ended up failing to finish my two music albums. Hopefully I get to finish them before classes start.(Fingers crossed)
  5. Get more sleep. Although I’m not the type that stays up late, like until 2 am, during school days, I still consider sleep a precious physiological need (more important than sex; there you go, I said it!). I know I get less of it when I’m already a clerk so I’d better enjoy it while I have the chance!
  6. Spend more time with family. Here’s to family worships, movie marathons, scrabble time, jogging, etc. and of course, our annual Christmas games!
  7. Take inventory, plan and renew myself. Spending alone time with God is always a  daily priority for me but it comes with a deeper importance when another new year is near to start. I find joy in recalling memories and events, both good and bad, that happened throughout the outgoing year. But there is deeper joy in laying out goals and ambitions for the future especially when borne out of a loving gratitude to and humble faith in God, the One Who sustains my life until this very moment. In line with that is an overwhelming desire to always become a better version of myself, in all aspects.

So far these are the most worth-sharing TTDs I have for Decembreak! How about you? What do you intend to do?  What can you do to make your experience during the holidays more meaningful and more special? Whatever it may be, it is my wish that you enjoy this year’s Christmas and never lose sight of Jesus, the One we celebrate!

Merry Christmas!

Finding Joy in Medicine

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Isn’t it great that the one who shot this is the actress who played a significant character in the movie? Credits to Jade Marie

 

While watching the short film entry of our batch ADeoS entitled Joy in Medicine this afternoon, I was having ‘goosies’ all over me. The emotional masterpiece has appealed to my soul and no matter how I may try to prevent the surge, it has brought back certain emotions attached to hurtful or unwanted memories in my not-so-distant past. Trying to find composure within myself through prayer as I was on my way home, I was so moved by the film that I had the prompting to write what I felt because of it. And it was so funny and weird at the same time when I reached the shed going to the main gate of the campus ’cause the song playing was Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. When I was near the gate, that’s when the song ended and for the duration of seconds I listened to it, my walk was all the more emotional. (Yes, this speaks volumes.)

(Sighs…) I’ve come to realize that medicine is not only an academic challenge because it affects other aspects of your life- physical, mental, social, emotional and sometimes sad to say, spiritual. But I guess what’s important is that you learn to adjust and accept things for what they really are, believe in yourself and in the people who are worthy of trust and learn to commit everything to God in faith. (That first small group session we had before the screening really helps to set things into the right prospective now.) Unlike one character in the film who clearly lost all hope to live, I choose to see and focus on the bright side of a medical student’s life. (So help me God!)

Through the inevitable that is to come, here’s to finding joy in medicine!

 

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….

 

 

My First Day of School

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When a happening got you thinking…

My first day of school was cancelled.

Ouch! As for most of my classmates I believe that means hurrah, it spells disaster for me and that is what I’m going to share through this post. I felt the urge to share what I went through today before I hit the books.

You see, I was absent on the real first day of classes which was last Monday, August 8. This was a great disappointment for me, of course but what can you do when you get infected with a virus? I suffered from viral exanthema for roughly 2-3 days and I thank God I recovered quickly so that I was able to return to Iloilo yesterday. (Thank God even more that it was not dengue or chikungunya! Spell relief!) So yes, I missed out a lot on the 1st 2 days  of 2nd year which is considered as the hardest and is even dubbed as “Hell Year.” But I got to move on with that!

However, what happened this morning seemed to tell me that I belong to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. I have to say that what happened wasn’t grievous  but it wasn’t non-stressful. Well, for someone who was absent for two days already (and one lecture on one day to be exact), I was looking forward to having one full, regular class day at Roxas Hall today. To add, we were to have our first meeting for Jericho Walk, an annual event of CCC, a college organization I joined. I was going to speak. So yes, my plate was full and before I forget, I even had to go to my aunt’s house to have her sign my excuse letters.

With my exigencies written, you could imagine how busy my day could have been. And with the rain not cooperating with me, it was a challenge to keep my white pants clean and spot-free. After visiting my aunt, I was on my way to school when I learned that classes were cancelled. Burn baby, burn! Wow. That was hard to swallow. (And yes, if I were to swallow such, it would still be really difficult because my throat still hasn’t cured completely and eating these days is a painful experience.) Anyway, in a time where some would lash out the S word or get mad, I’m glad right now I chose to laugh it off. I can’t remember if I prayed but the Lord knows how dependent I was/am on His will. I wish I did and more importantly, I  wish to be more prayerful. Good thing, the org head was communicating with me and with encouragement, it was decided that we push through with the first session. She and her best friends would come just for the event! (May God bless these precious, passionate souls!) So there I was, walking my way to school while other students were going home. I will not deny that I felt a bit downtrodden but God was good enough to encourage me so yes, I walked with determination along the muddy puddles of water.

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With the wind so strong, my bag looked like it swam in a pool.

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(sighs)

And as if my sickness and the weather/class suspension combo were not enough, some of the people who came for the event had to leave because it turned out they still had one class. Talk about such relentless opposition from the enemy of souls! But it was clear as Rejine (our group coordinator) expressed: we were doing something right as God would be doing something powerful through us and Satan doesn’t like it; hence, all these. But we still pushed through with the first session. We could not afford the devil to succeed with his intentions and plans. With Arvey and Jib (God lovingly provided him to add to the company), I shared my prepared message on renewal and we closed the session with a prayer. Matthew 18:20 comforted me as it says, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.

So yes, that was how my first day of school went so far! With a trial (or was it a test?) that didn’t prevent me, didn’t hinder us from doing what must be done for the Lord and with Him as well. I will still be looking for reasons why the Lord allowed such especially throughout today. But once again, He has gently reminded me that no matter what happens, He is always there, He is always in control.

On a brighter note, I can still have classes at my room. So, let’s study!!

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.