Wednesday, August 31, 2022

He who teaches learns

Went with Sean and his wife, Hannah, to visit an apartment they'd been eyeing to rent. Loved the place: a studio type arrangement, with yellow walls, plenty of parking space, and with just the right distance to their workplaces. Asked if I could take a photo of the landlady's shirt. She was happy to indulge.


Oh: we're wrapping up the end of the first academic year of MSU Biochemistry. Met with the team last night. Ended the meeting on a high note. I still owe them dinner.


Flowers in Surallah


My mother's photos are automatically uploaded to my Flickr account. I ask her permission if I can post some of them here. 


Monday, August 29, 2022

National Heroes Day

My mother’s high school friends are coming over for dinner. On this Saturday evening, they will eat at 6 before they visit their classmate’s wake. It’s going to be a simple dinner, she assured her Notre Dame batch who didn't want to impose. Earlier today, however, Manong, Sean, and I got our instructions to buy a tub of ice cream, prepare lasagna at the last minute, and make sure the house is spotless. We have thrice the amount of food we need. Clearly this will be a party.

There have been many deaths this week, Nanay observed. A dentist she knew from another town passed away. Her distant nephew, who was my age, died in his sleep. I told her that a thirty-something doctor also died because of stage four cancer. She internalizes these news with, “Nauna pa sila sa akon.”

To escape the Batch 73 crowd, I am in the neighborhood café where I reviewed for the internal medicine board exam. I’m rarely here, because the place reminds me of my late father—a weird term to call Tatay, who was always punctual when he was alive. He sat by me as I took notes from Harrison’s. But I have things to write and submit. I welcome the relative peace and quiet, the company of strangers and the Adele playlist.

I’m comfortable in my shorts, t-shirt, and slippers until I hear familiar voices emerging from the other table. There’s my patient, still with her wig, and her high school barkada—younger sisters of my elementary school classmates—enjoying the normalcy of this second life, this life of cancer remission. I wave at them, then go nearer to have a quick chat.

I’m back in my corner of the cafe. I will leave in a few minutes. This is how I’m spending National Heroes Day. I realize that to live, and to do it well, is almost like heroism.


Monday, August 15, 2022

Gentle and lowly

Reading several books this season. One of them is Dane Ortlund's Gentle and Lowly. Beautiful words from the first chapter:

But all Christian toil flows from fellowship from a living Christ whose transcending, defining reality is: gently and lowly. He astounds and sustains us with his endless kindness. Only as we walk ever deeper into this tender kindness can we live the Christian life as the New Testament calls us to. Only as we drink down the kindness of the heart of Christ will we leave in our wake, everywhere we go, the aroma of heaven, and die one day having startled the world with glimpses of divine kindness too great to be boxed in by what we deserve.

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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Ministers of the Word

Spent the early morning meditating on 2 Corinthians 6:3-13. Remembered pastors, Bible study teachers, and campus ministry workers who have labored hard for the gospel so I, and others like me, could grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ. I miss them. Have not seen many of them in years. I treasure and cherish them dearly, and continue to pray for their health, protection, provision, and progress in their spiritual walk and ministry.

Matthew Henry writes:

They were slighted by the men of the world as unknown, men of no figure or account, not worth taking notice of; yet in all the churches of Christ they were well known, and of great account: they were looked upon as dying, being killed all the day long, and their interest was thought to be a dying interest; “and yet behold,” says the apostle, “we live, and live comfortably, and bear up cheerfully under all our hardships, and go on conquering and to conquer.” They were chastened, and often fell under the lash of the law, yet not killed: and though it was thought that they were sorrowful, a company of mopish and melancholy men, always sighing and mourning, yet they were always rejoicing in God, and had the greatest reason to rejoice always. They were despised as poor, upon the account of their poverty in this world; and yet they made many rich, by preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. They were thought to have nothing, and silver and gold they had none, houses and lands they had none; yet they possessed all things: they had nothing in this world, but they had a treasure in heaven. Their effects lay in another country, in another world. They had nothing in themselves, but possessed all things in Christ. Such a paradox is a Christian’s life, and through such a variety of conditions and reports lies our way to heaven; and we should be careful in all these things to approve ourselves to God.

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