Are you familiar with Murphy’s Law? It is the adage that goes: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” In our church community, we call this OPPRESSION. Since we’re continually growing in our faith, the devil will always find a way to dishearten us and make us lose our trust in God. This is especially strong whenever we’re on our way to learning more about God, or doing something for the betterment of other people.
My Singles Encounter classmates and I have less than a week left until our Singles Encounter sponsorship weekend, and to write off the past few days as “eventful” would probably be the understatement of the century.
Last Sunday, I woke up early to go for an ocular visit at our retreat venue for the coming weekend. I arrived at our meeting place just in time to catch the morning Easter mass. During the PEACE part, I suddenly felt a bit weird. I felt my chest constrict. I thought it was just a passing feeling, but then it worsened as the seconds passed, and lasted for at least 3 minutes. It wasn’t painful or anything (but then again, I’ve been questioning my pain threshold since 2010), just that I felt like my chest was being squeezed tight by some unknown force.
I panicked, of course, and decided to send an SMS to my two doctors to ask if it was related to my cancer, or the current meds I was taking, etc., etc. It was my first time to feel such a thing, you see, and it was nearing my check-up date, so you could only imagine why I was panicking. My rad-onco was the first to reply, telling me that I should visit him so he could properly check my symptoms and rule out the possibilities of it being related to lymphoma. He said it was probably cardio-related. My med-onco, on the other hand, said it could just be heartburn and that if it persists, I should have it checked. But that aside from that, I just had to keep coming for regular check-ups with my doctors to make sure that everything was in order.
I still visited my rad-onco the next day. He asked me to have an ECG + 2D Echo done to check that everything’s alright. He explained that chemo has a long-term effect on the heart (or actually, on ALL organs), a price survivors eventually have to pay to, well, survive. He assured me, though, that what I went through was probably just a stress-related thing. Which, I would have to admit, was really the case, as the night before, I was hyper-stressing over the pending stuff I still had to do before the retreat weekend.
But anyway, yeah, my heart is fine. I think it just forgot it was April Fools’ Day and not Valentine’s Day. My heart can be too full of itself sometimes. LOLWHUT.
Fast forward to Tuesday.
Before leaving for Makati, my mom and I had this dialogue:
HER: God bless, babes. Always remember: just because you’re serving (the Lord), doesn’t mean you’re exempted from trials.
ME: Umm. Thanks, Ma. But isn’t it BECAUSE I’m serving that I should assume I will never be exempted from trials?
This has got to be the most prophetic dialogue we’ve ever had. EVER. Goes to show just how powerful words can be, and all the lengths oppression will go through just to bring you down. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I wanted to go home early from worship that day so I could get a good night’s sleep in preparation for a job interview I was having the next day. We got to finish early-ish from our harana (praise God for all the donations that came in that day!), but I got on the wrong-ish van going home (it didn’t pass through Skyway, but it did go inside our village, so I’m not really sure how I feel about it). Anyway, when I got home and got to the door, I heard my dad say in an odd voice, “Abby, is that you?” I thought he was just being funny but then when I entered the house and turned the corner, the first thing I saw was him, lying on the kitchen floor, sweating buckets. When I switched on the lights, his face was all red and he said he couldn’t stand up ’cause he was really dizzy. I didn’t know what to do for maybe 2 whole minutes. I debated whether to check the internet for what to give him, call my doctor friends, or call my relatives. I resorted to giving my dad what he asked for, like water and towels, while he was trying to hold himself up and vomit at the same time. I decided to give my nurse aunt a ring (although my dad told me not to ’cause he claimed he was going to be fine). WHATEVER, DAD.
So I called my aunt and she sent my nurse cousin, J, to the rescue (thank God for family as neighbors!). She took my dad’s blood pressure and found it was 200/100. WTF. My other aunt then came by, I went ahead and called my sister-in-law (’cause my brother was working the night shift), my uncle arrived, and we all brought Papa to the hospital.
He was under observation for 5 hours. They conducted tests, gave him lots of meds, and checked his blood pressure regularly. J, sissy-in-law, and I stayed at the hospital the whole time (from 12MN – 5 AM). Around 4:30, I was already panicking ’cause I had to get ready for my interview (travel time to the interview place was 2 hours, so you could only imagine my stress!). Papa was already feeling a tiny bit better but we had to wait for my brother to get back from work so we could pay the hospital bill and have Papa discharged. Everything worked out in the end, though. It did, it really did.
Me & Cousin J in ze ER. (Haggard much? LOL)
Let me just tell you how all things worked together for my good (and Papa’s) that day.
1) No one was home with Papa that night. He had already been lying on the floor for an hour and a half before I arrived. When I got off the van a few minutes prior, I had debated with myself whether to have my prepaid number loaded or not, since I figured I didn’t need to contact anyone, anyway. Since there were no tricycles passing by, I said to myself, “Oh, well, better buy some credits now so I won’t have to think about it tomorrow”. So I did, right? And then I came home to THAT.
2) When I called my aunt, I didn’t know that she was in Mindanao. I only realized she was when everyone except her showed up at our house. LOL. Cousin J is only visiting, as she’s currently applying for jobs here in Manila. If she proceeded with one of her successful applications, she probably wouldn’t be there that night and I’d probably be running around like a headless chicken at home while waiting for the next thing to do. (This was obviously my first emergency situation!)
3) I had gotten home from the hospital on time, left early, and arrived at the interview place on time as well. AND I MADE IT THROUGH… kind of. I passed, but I have to wait to move on to the next stage. WHICH IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME. :D I realized, maybe the reason why God stopped me from sleeping was ’cause he knew I wouldn’t be able to wake up on time. Haha. If that’s so, that’s good enough for me as well! LOL.
4) It was probably a good thing Mama wasn’t home. I don’t think she could handle leaving my dad alone and flying to another country if she saw the state my dad was in. On that note, though, I can never leave my dad alone now. He has to be with someone at all times.
5) My father has finally learned that he is not invincible and that he is aging. So many promises he’s made to himself today. No more drinking! No more missing a dosage! No more overworking!
You know what I felt when I got home later that day from my interview? So magnificently blessed. Blessed because God sent angels to guide me that day. Blessed because he gave us enough time to learn a LESSON, not a REGRET. Blessed because he gave me such wonderful family members. Blessed because of those who cared enough to ask about, and pray for my dad. My SE-mate SMSd me randomly with a: “The Lord has been so faithful to you! <3” T called to ask if I was okay; M sent this to me on FB:
Did I ever mention that God has blessed me with such a wonderful support system? He has. My family and friends are the reason why I’m still alive today. They keep me sane. I love them with all my heart. <3
Ultimately, I feel blessed to be part of a community like Serviam. Since being here, I’ve gone through so many trials, but gained so many victories; I’ve learned to acknowledge and deal with oppression; I’ve learned to curb my anger and look at things at an even greater light; I’ve become a better person. Not completely better, but still better.
As our Singles Encounter Weekend draws closer, I can’t say I’m surprised that all these things are happening. The fact that they are this immense, though, affirms my belief that I’m doing the right thing, and that what I’m about to do is huge. Huge enough for me to deserve all this striking down from the evils of this world.
Do you see this smirk, Oppression? This one’s reserved especially for you. You may be great, but my God is greater. And He makes all things work together for my good.