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.

July 24-30: A Week of Losses

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“We may lose something or someone but our loving God would not leave us without gain.” – KBH

For my second post on Simple Recall to be late again really proves how busy I am. I returned to Iloilo City just yesterday to attend a burial and throughout my day, I had no time to sit down and write this post. However, the fact that I can write now is because I’m already through with my important things-to-do for today. Spell relief!

Well, this week started with a big challenge for our family: the heartbreaking loss of my uncle Toting (He was the husband of my Aunt Lydia, the eldest sister of my father.) I remember how deeply sad I was upon learning of the unexpected news that Sunday morning. It was only two months ago when an uncle died, you know. So it was another tough ordeal for all of us. However, despite his death, I thanked God that he died peacefully in his sleep. And the best part? He got to see his youngest daughter who arrived the day before from the US so seeing all his children before dying could have been meaningful to him. Talk about the promptings of the Spirit! I guess God must have orchestrated how his daughters could go home out of the blue and spend time with him. His timing is always perfect, don’t you think?

Besides the familial loss, I had my share of losses which I could not describe in detail here because they are too personal. But one thing was and is sure: God brought me up where I stumbled and by His grace, I am fighting on even with all my scars and wounds. No matter how many times I failed Him, He has never given up on me! His love is so everlasting and His grace, so empowering! (Please pray for me, dear reader as I press on in my journey to where God wants me to go and against the things that must go…)

So throughout all my losses this week, I still praise Him for as I can see, I still gained something which He alone can give! And also, the Lord knows what He is doing so I trust His will.He always knows what is  best!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

PHOTO SOURCE: https://static01.nyt.com/images/2010/02/10/health/loss480/loss480-blogSpan

The Greatest Connection of All

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Backstory: Last May, during our family summer trip at Palawan, I was amused to find that the Wi-Fi password for the pension house was JesusChrist. (Please refer to picture above.) I smiled back then and now I have to admit that it’s one of the best passwords I ever encountered. It was big proof that the owner of the place we lodged was probably a devout Christian. As time passed by, I had the prompting to write something about the password. Though it’s such a small matter, it spoke to me in volumes. So let me share the essence of this tiny, insignificant paper…

All around us, each day, we see how life is hugely dependent on technology. Our means of communication with each other entail the use of devices that have become more complex through the years. And for sure, as most of us are users of such, we know how important it is to have good connection. That’s why with the advent of Wi-Fi, everything seems to be faster and easier. (And personally, I couldn’t help but agree to this! There were times that I always inquired if there was Wi-Fi access or ensured that there was such! Yes, for a medical student/blogger/musician like me, Wi-Fi is a necessity.)

But as Christians, we need to ask ourselves the more important questions: How is my connection with Jesus? Am I spending time with Him, in prayer and study of His Word? Am I yearning to come to Him in solitude, to be near Him in spite of the inevitable pressures and constant busyness of  this life?

We all have different answers. And they reflect how we prioritize our relationship with God. But it doesn’t mean that if we perfect this practice daily, we’re in safe hands. Take it from my experience. I usually have my morning devotions and my separate time for my ‘Bible in One Year’ reading. But when assailed by temptation, it was like as if I never read any verse or prayed. I learned the hard way that coming out from the garden with God will not always prevent us from going into the wilderness of sin or hinder us from experiencing diverse trials. Yet, it is undoubtedly VITAL to keep our connection with God strong and especially during challenging times like when you are facing temptation, stronger. Kindly read Psalm 119:11 and 105 as supporting evidence to what His Word can do for us in those though moments.

I pray that these reflections would cause you to pursue a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Lord by assimilating the Living Word into our hearts and minds and cementing them with prayer!

Here’s to a spiritual reboot!

 

July 17-23: A Musical Week

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PHOTO SOURCE: woodlibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/musical-notes

NOTE: I wanted to start blogging about how my week went by and to share the different lessons or notable experiences I had if there were any. This will be written in a context of gratitude to God by which without His grace I know I could never accomplish anything or survive. But since I was busy yesterday (Sunday, July 24, Philippine time), I have to apologize for the delay! You see, I’m back as the official atsoy (helper) of our household. Haha, that’s another topic! Anyway, it’s better late than never as I fondly believe!

Well, to start things off, I came from a very tiring yet fulfilling week! The Thursday before, I found myself miles away from home again as I was back in the “City of Love”, Iloilo City. I was there for a chorale appointment which entailed me to practice and although I was already late, I was able to catch up with the rest of the group in learning new songs. Besides the daily grind on my vocal cords, I managed to have a general cleaning of my dorm room every day. I didn’t push myself to clean it in just one time because that was too tiresome. What really mattered was before I leave for home, my room would be decent as possible. I thanked God for helping me with these but there are 3 things that I’m certainly grateful for:

  1. Gracious sustenance: With only 2,000 pesos added to my pocket, I had to make sure that my spending was wise for groceries, payments, etc. And with limited money, I survived! That was because I had 4 free meals within the week! It really helped! Oh, God bless those kindhearted people!
  2. Miraculous healing: As evidenced above, my voice got sore from all the singing and late night sleeping! Sadly, I couldn’t sleep immediately on some nights. I was concerned because the day before our chorale gig, my voice was not in good shape! With appropriate regimens, I sought help by asking my friends to pray for me! And what do you know? On the night of our performance, I was able to sing my heart out as my singing voice came back! Faith and prayer really do wonders! And I thank God again for the healing power of ginger! 🙂
  3. Successful event: Dubbed as the ‘Mystical Moonlight Serenade’, the mini concert of Med Symphony (yep, that’s the name of our group!) proved to be a delight to the listening ears of the Philippine Psychiatric Association. From timeless classics to modern Tagalog compositions and to a fun, concluding Abba medley, I believe the doctors were more than entertained as we were more than overwhelmed with the financial gains we received.Wow! It was just a beautiful evening at a beautiful place (twas my first time in Casa Real, huh!) with beautiful people! #Beautiful na ini! But seriously, we did it on such a short time! And how can I forget to give credit to the Master Musician?
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Photo taken by Fritz Hernz

So yes, that was how my Musical Week went. Musical not only because of #3! But also because, like music, I had my highs and lows but through it all, everything still played well at the end, beautifully! Thank You Lord! Here’s to more musical weeks!

Reigniting That Blessed Hope

 

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Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. – Titus 2:13

 

SCRIPTURE READING: Romans 11:13-14 

This is not the first time I wrote something about the Second Coming. But recent world events spurred me to share something about the urgency of the nearness of this event! With my heart broken, after learning of the terrible news yesterday, I posted this on my FB wall:

‘Feeling sick…. Dhaka. Bangladesh. And now, Dallas…. Jesus is really coming soon! Let us pray for the families left behind and for the world!’

It is just so alarming to see how in rapid succession such acts of terror have happened in different parts of the world! Well, come to think of it, we’re always bombarded with news of the same kind every day. Different crime stories, the usual type of victims, same issues. As Christians, we already know of this as Jesus said in Matthew 24:6-8: And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

But I think what really hit me hard besides the vividly fast rate of big terrorist happenings was the indirect realization that the hearts of people are really waxing cold (verse 12). The level of hatred and misunderstanding has increased through the years and it is not only due to religious differences as evidenced by the killing of those innocent policemen, leaving behind families and loved ones. (Sighs) I just feel like crying!

Well, since such events are bound to happen as long as we are in the world (yes, it’s the cold, hard truth), let us not only pray for the victims and their families, let us do so for ourselves as we work harder now in bringing souls to Jesus. Let us also pray that Jesus would come sooner than we think! (I am so tired of this sin-sick world and the longer I stay, the more I get too attached or weary! That’s why I need to keep my eyes on Him!) Let us (especially me!) wake up from our ‘sleep’ and arise to be prepared to meet our Lord!

It’s now or never!!

P.S. You might want to check out my other poston this topic: https://kylehabaradas.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/never-too-late/

IMAGE SOURCE:

https://www.blessedhope-publishing.com//custom_bhp/images/siteimage