THIRTY MINUTES ago I woke up with a jolt, my eyes still adapting to the dark room, for I had already been asleep for some time. In a corner I saw my brother browsing his phone, then I heard him calling out to me, his voice pregnant with urgency: “Lance, Lance … you passed.”
I knew this time would come—I just didn't know when, or whether the results would make me jump for joy or seek a distant hideout. My first impulse was to thank the Lord for His goodness. What good thing can I do apart from Him, after all? In my heart of hearts, I knew I couldn't have done it without Him. He has seen me through med school; He has seen me through the Boards. All glory and honor to God Almighty!
When I had my moments of doubt and anxiety (and I had many), I turned to the prophet Daniel's account of God's unwavering faithfulness. His account is personal and experiential. God delivered him and his friends from the fiery furnace. God granted him wisdom to interpret the king's dreams. God saw him through, so much so that even King Darius, under whose reign Daniel was thrown into the lion's den, saw the greatness of the God whom Daniel worshiped and said this about Him:
“ . . . For He is the living God, enduring forever; His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, He Who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:26-27)
And God has saved me, in a sense, not from the lions but from taking the Boards again. For that is what any board exam-taker wishes for: to only have to take it once.
I called my parents first. Their first question was when I'll be coming home. In my excitement I forgot to warn my father not to push through with his plan to put up a tarpaulin for me at the Round Ball—a landmark structure at the center of Koronadal City—lest I disown him. My younger brother Sean congratulated me via text: “Doctor ka na. Hahaha.”
Then I called some of my dearest friends from med school, and we congratulated ourselves mutually. “It's finally over,” we said. The sound of relief from our voices was palpable. Some called tonight the best day of their lives.
When I opened my Facebook account, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of congratulatory messages from friends, some of them I haven't seen for quite some time. My phone kept receiving messages, even from my PGH superiors.
What else can I say, but a big “Thank You” to everyone who prayed for and wished me well? Many thanks to Tatay and Nanay and Manong and Sean and the rest of my family. My heart goes out to my local church, Higher Rock Christian Church, and even our local church in Koronadal, for lifting me up in prayer. I also thank friends, especially friends who are practically family, for encouraging and interceding for me.
Congratulations to the UP College of Medicine Class of 2014, to our Post-Graduate Interns, to my blockmates and study buddies. Here comes the rest of our lives.
With Carlos Cuano, Miguel Catangui, Lennie Chua, Franco Catangui, and Elizabeth Ching, on the last day of the Physician Licensure Examination 2014
With Franco Catangui, Rich Chy, Bernie Cid, Charlie Clarion (Top Six! So very proud of you, Charlie), Agnes Custodio, and Miguel Catangui