January 1, 2013

Never lose hope

As part of reorganizing my blogs with respective focus or niche, I am reposting  (with minor edition) an inspiring experience I had upon resuming my position at the Department of Social Work. Article first published on PADAYON: Our Life Journey.

We were preparing for the reunion of the Department to revive the alumni association. My spirit was low. Time constraints forced us to simplify everything – preparation, expectation, program and other activities. My mood became even lower when confronted with personal and familial concerns. For the nth time, we ran out of budget that I could not even take maintenance medicine to prioritize food and school needs of the kids.

As always, such situation renewed the spiritual ambivalence I experienced since day one of my ill health nearly two years ago. Admittedly, I was about to give in to depression again while struggling on both fronts. In times, like these, there is only thing that holds me back. It is the past experience of God’s provision with the inner voice telling me “not lose hope but keep on trusting God.” Clinging to God’s promise, I kept on doing my work with faith something good would happen.

Indeed, it happened a day before the alumni homecoming and the day after. Few days prior to the alumni homecoming, I made the last ditch effort to ensure attendance by sending text message to remind alumni of the event. After sending to active numbers in the directory, I tried to reach out to the inactive ones, with lesser expectation to receive response. It was then that I came across the number of an alumnus whom I met five years ago. We never met after that and seldom communicated even in text message. Still, I sent him a reminder. Unexpectedly, he responded with an apology that he could not attend due to previous family retreat on same date. However, he indicated his willingness to help in whatever way and set an appointment to see me.

Recalling our first meeting and the circumstances prior to the hibernation of our association, my discussion with Jun shifted to health condition upon learning what happened to me. He shared his healing experience, as well as that of his siblings from personal encounter with a gifted nun in Manila. Much to my surprise, he closed our meeting by issuing a cheque addressed to the hospital for my magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan which has long been delayed due to lack of resources. My neurologist recommended this among other nerve studies/tests many months ago to rule out the root cause of my heat intolerance, extreme thirst and unusual nerve problem. However, my health condition has drained our limited resources.

I was astonished, not expecting that God would answer my prayer through this person whom I met in an alumni reunion five years ago. The following day more surprises came. Prior to Jun’s visit, the only son of our former Department Head brought to the office her video message for our homecoming. Manay Ruth was our invited guest speaker but her health condition constrained her personal presence to grace the occasion. Hence, the recorded video. Pete and I had an interesting discussion on politics, principles and family life apart from the health related topics as we have never met for longer years.

After our successful alumni homecoming, I reflected on God’s providential guidance and provision just the time we needed it. Then I zeroed in on my health condition and the remaining recommended examinations I have to undergo. While I am glad that Jun has unexpectedly shoulder my MRI, I know the amount was not enough. Determined to go through all the prescriptive medical tests, I again asked God for additional resources to supplement the current blessings. Then I remember Pete, the son of Manay Ruth who is now a successful topnotch lawyer in Manila. I started to wrestle with the thought of requesting him to loan me an amount to add to Jun’s commitment. Ultimately my desire for healing overcame my pride and I texted him about my request. Much to my surprise, he immediately responded to give me same amount as Jun has given.

And before my amazement subsided, the more I was overwhelmed by his follow up messages which I saved and shared with my wife: “That’s not a loan. Consider it a small token of appreciation for your support to Nanay and myself when I had nothing…. I have always wanted to help you, Nong. But I was also very careful knowing you. I did not also want to hurt your pride. But it’s good that you opened up to me. It liberates us both.”

I almost cried. Yes, ever grateful to God for the monetary blessings. But more than that, the touching message. Recalling the past, I could not remember very significant act I had done to help him. What flashed back in my mind was a simple act of kindness being expected from me not even a recompense of her mother’s kindness to me, too. I realize the impact of any act of kindness to a person in a particular time can never be under estimated.

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