A quiet habitation

Old building in Delta

PONDERING ON Psalm 91:9, Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote:

The Christian knows no change with regard to God. He may be rich to-day and poor to-morrow; he may be sickly to-day and well to-morrow; he may be in happiness to-day, to-morrow he may be distressed—but there is no change with regard to his relationship to God. If He loved me yesterday, He loves me to-day. My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in God. He is "my strong habitation whereunto I can continually resort." I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet habitation.

Unborn

THE HARDEST part of going on duty at the OB Admitting Section (OBAS) is having to interview patients who have willfully aborted their children. They come in many forms: teenagers who think an unplanned pregnancy is going to cost them their future, middle-aged mothers who can no longer sustain another mouth to feed in the household, single women who believe raising a child would be burdensome in this harsh and cruel world.

Jesus was a busy man—and He prayed a lot

photo (4)

MANY, if not all, of us, have so-called valid excuses for not praying. School work—upcoming exams, group works, research meetings—would probably top the list. Stress would be second.

I have my excuses, too. But when I reexamine them, I wonder: are these excuses valid? You see, Jesus was a busy man. And yet He always took the time to pray.

Coffee, puto bumbong, and funny words

THREE DAYS into OB-Gyn, and I miss my Community Rotation already. I'm sharing some photos I took during my six-week stint in General Emilio Aguinaldo (the town, not the hero), Cavite.

Coffee beans being air dried—a regular sight in front of houses and major roads. I guess you can safely say I've become a coffee drinker. I was offered coffee every where I went; it was offensive to refuse. The best cup I scored was at Kapeng Bailen, an unassuming stall just beside the Rural Health Unit. A cup cost Php 10—freshly brewed, which gave my tummy the right warmth on cold afternoons. Of course I had to suffer insomnia at night.

Coffee beans

Alice Munro's Open Secrets: eight stories in Carstairs, Canada

JUST FINISHED Open Stories, Alice Munro's short story collection first published in 1994. (And I've convinced myself that I'm on a reading moratorium). The book contains eight stories. All of them mention Carstairs, a town in Alberta, Canada.

What I love about Alice Munro: her writing style, devoid of literary gymnastics, but evoking clarity and complexity at the same time. It's clearly the work a virtuoso of the English language. Its utter simplicity is its beauty.

Also: I get the feeling that a gentle old woman—or maybe my grandmother—is the one who's telling me the stories.

John Piper's When the Darkness Will Not Lift: a wonderful encouragement for the depressed

WHILE MY PRIMARY disposition is sunny, there are days when I'm down and lonely. This is true for most, if not all, people—part of the ongoing, unpredictable cycle of ups and downs we all experience. Sometimes the melancholia goes away after a few hours. Sometimes it goes on for days, even months, but we go on normally with life. However, there's what we call clinical depression, where persistent sadness already interferes with work or relationship. I know of some people, and I have diagnosed some patients, with this clinical condition. Christians, being humans themselves, are not exempt from this.

When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper is a helpful book for me. Piper asks, "How can we help Christians who seem unable to break out of darkness into the light of joy?" I read it in the wee hours of the morning because I couldn't sleep, my mind wracked by so many thoughts and problems that I wished would go away at the flick of the finger.

Blue Jasmine: not your typical riches-to-rags story

I WILL watch anything with Cate Blanchett on it, especially if it's a film directed by Woody Allen.

Blue Jasmine (2013) is about a former Manhattan socialite named Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), at the time in her life when she's just about to hit rock-bottom. Her husband was charged with, and later on incarcerated for, theft. He has stolen from the government and from other people to further his businesses—think Janet Napoles if you're from the Philippines. Her husband would later hang himself in prison.

And all these leave her with an empty, pointless life—for what could she do, apart from holding New York City's most awaited dinner parties or decorating her home or going to galas? She doesn't have any degree. Her stepson has left her. She is alone in a cruel and unforgiving world. Until, as we see in the first part of the movie, she moves in with her sister Ginger, who lives in a small apartment in San Francisco and waits tables in nearby diners.