Friday, January 12, 2007

To think or not to think

"At my age, sometimes I stop to think and forget to start again."

This is my Dad's signature at the end of all his emails. You might think that this will only be held true for people as old as him, but let me tell you one story--mine.

I was considered by some of my friends as someone as a thinker--too deep, too mature, and sometimes too serious, that a lot of them have come up to me for advice. I do not consider myself as an expert on life's hardships. I do not think of myself as a saint. Nobody sees me during the times that I cry myself to sleep, because even if I can solve someone else's problems, I cannot even get over mine.

Strong. This is the most commonly used term that people describe me as being. And I cannot contest this. Not because I am. It is because I can't.

When people look up to you for advice, you cannot give the impression that you are only human... that you give up easily... that you cry helplessly. And because of these people... because of them, I cannot give up being strong.

When I see my parents sad and worried, when I hear my friends crying and swearing... I cannot show that I am sad and worried, too... I cannot tell them that I have cried and swore the night before.

How can I be of any help at all?

When I got sick, to say that the world crumbled around me is an understatement. Everyone knew of my dreams and my plans last year and the years to come. I was all set, so to speak.

I've thought of everything that I thought was important. I've thought of the job that I am going to apply for, I've thought of my kids, I've thought of a new house, I've thought of my marriage, and finally being whole as a person, changing my lifestyle and my attitude. I've thought that everything will be okay come June.

When I got sick in June, I thought that it was just something that would go away in weeks. I never thought that it would haunt my dreams for eternity. Besides, it's not as if I had cancer.

But when the doctor told me everything, still, I stopped to think.

What is this? Is this death?
Why me? Haven't I had enough of life's problems thrown at me?
I am a sinner. Is that it? Is this why?
Until when? Will you give me enough time?
How will I ever be happy again?

It took me long to realize that all I did in those weeks was think. There were no answers that I plainly saw. Everything was just questions. I was asking all kinds of it... What, why, when, how....

And then, I felt stupid enough to think... Who am I asking them to?

In all the times that I was preparing myself for a new life... in all the times that my life has changed... in all the times that I thought I was nothing... I didn't come up with something. It was a shame.

I never thought of preparing for one of the aspects of our lives that's more important. I never thought that this will help me with the changes. I never thought that this will tell me that to some, I am everything.

I forgot to think of FAITH. I forgot to think of HOPE. I even forgot to think of LOVE.

I forgot that when you are asking no human being, you are asking one supreme being. I was asking GOD. And you know what? In all the times that I forgot to think again, I realized now that He was answering me.

He answered me through things, through places, through the weather, through books... He even answered me through YOU.

I went to the doctor yesterday for my check-up. First, he congratulated me for being the first patient he's seen after the holidays that has normal cholesterol results. Then, he gave a nice speech about being a good doctor, knowing almost everything to know about kidneys, being a professor in UP.

He said that my disease is the nastiest among all the kidney diseases. In all the years that he has been a doctor, he cannot explain how in the world was I still okay today. The protein in my urine was then at 4+, now they can only see a trace. He even told me the first time he met me, that I have, at the most, three months before my kidneys start failing. But who are we to complain, he said. We are buying yourself time before you'll be ready for transplantation.

I have a confession to make, doctor. I wasn't taking my pills religiously as you thought. I didn't go on a diet. I ate what you told me not to. I only did two things that I thought did me a lot of good--I lived, and I prayed.

I lived like I wasn't sick. I went out with friends and family. I sang and danced with the kids. I got sick with them. I cried with them. I went to church with them. I fought with them. I grumbled about doing the dishes. I mumbled when my husband didn't come home on time.

And everyday, while I was living, I kept on thinking.... I kept on asking God. This time, I was not giving Him a hard time coming up with answers that I rarely see. This time I was asking not just for myself but for everyone else. This time I just ask him every morning, "Hey, Lord, what's up for today?" and I just let him unfold it for me.

When I came back from the doctor yesterday, God gave me a wonderful gift. He gave me all three--FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.

But He also gave me back one thing that I lost a long time ago, something I also forgot to see, something that was broken because of all the problems that I have faced, and are continuously facing, He gave me--ME.

Sometimes, I still think too deeply that I have to shake my head to stop. But this time, when I think of things that will make me lose myself again, I intentionally forget... and just ask myself--what was I thinking?

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