Pulling up by the bootstraps

I am in transition.

There are a lot of changes as I enter this new chapter of my life:

  • A new job (Pediatrics residency)
  • A new set of people to work with
  • A new environment with a familiar culture
  • A new condo unit with new roomies
  • A new district in Ligaya (a Catholic community) *
  • A new set of friendships to discover
  • A new way of lifestyle, particularly in taking care of my health (I have TB, ongoing treatment)

And, most importantly, a stronger and refreshed Gela whose identity in the Lord has been renewed after undergoing a formidable challenge.

In a lot of ways this feels like an early New Year for me. The kind when I look forward to a future brimming with hope and suffused with dreams. And, inevitably, I look back to the recent past that is pockmarked by hurts here and there, and mistakes that, if given another chance, I would best think twice before doing.

Buti nalang may Diyos na mapagpatawad, kahit hirap ako dun. (It’s a good thing the Lord is forgiving, despite my struggle in that area.)

Truth is, as I look back, instead of inwardly punishing myself like before, I am now more hopeful. More hopeful that I change for the better. I am trying to change for the better. And by changing for the better I mean:

  • Learning to receive and live the love that I have come to know in depth because of the Lord
  • Learning to love myself more by being rooted in God’s identity for me
  • Taking good care of the relationships God has given me and will give me (this is one of the most important!)
  • Being a good and kind friend to myself and to others
  • Showing my family how much I love them
  • Accepting my weaknesses and limitations, repent of my sins
  • Accepting the realities of life that sometimes, what we hoped for wouldn’t turn out the way we expected it to be
  • Accepting the reality that good friendships can be lost, and in the hopelessness of trying to reconcile again, just surrender it to God (this is why bullet #3 is important)
  • Forgiving and letting go. That way I am doing myself a big favor by allowing more room for love.
  • New goals for myself! I am very inspired to be accepted in my top (and only) choice for residency training. I am aiming for research, acing exams, honing my communication skills and being a compassionate Pediatrician
  • I am hopeful for my renewed desire to commit to Ligaya and further investigate its way of life
  • To train my eyes to see the good in people and in circumstances (and thank the Lord for them)

Overall, the goal is to continue having a heart being transformed by God into the woman I am made to be in whatever role I currently take on.

One night as I lay in bed, I counted these new changes and felt overwhelmed. I was on the verge of crying. Not tears of joy, but of anxiety. In my mind I saw myself jumping off a cliff’s edge, trusting I would land on solid ground that I did not see. It was scary.

But thanks to the grace of being able to stand in the strength of the Lord. These changes are for my good. They are His best plans. Though I do not yet see the whole map, I am willing to take the first few steps to wherever these changes are leading me. That entails having the Lord as my sole source of stability and strength.

Here’s to pulling myself up by the bootstraps!

I pray for spiritual and emotional maturity. Please pray for me. 🙂

*A good friend told me these changes are not sure yet. But, I am including it just because it is a potential change.

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Love is (blind) dating

It felt like eons ago since I last saw my two best friends from high school. Coincidentally, we call each other “Mars” for “Mare”, amiga or close friends, the same way my closest friends in Medicine school call each other.

April, Tere and I have been good friends for 15 years now, through thick and thin, good and bad times. April is an aspiring lawyer and currently works for the government. Tere is a mother of three and belongs to the HR personnel in SM Puerto Princesa City.

It was catch-up time with all the people we knew, yet it never felt like there was ever any gap among the three of us.

We have grown, assuming the new roles we have chosen, trying to manage our priorities, lead our personal lives, achieving our dreams. Though I personally have to allot more time for them, they never really questioned the friendship. We have taken good care of each other for fifteen years and counting. I could never be more grateful for such true friends.

Being two of my closest friends, my lovelife (or its absence thereof) has been one of the hot topics of the dinner conversation.

“Hanapan niyo naman ako ng date,” I quipped.

A few rounds of kilig shrieks after, they rummaged through their facebook accounts, searched for possible and eligible men, called up their good male friends and went on to pile a list of names in their heads as to who would be my dates.

That is what you call supportive friends.

It was such a fun time with them compiling names, racking up their brains suddenly making an inventory of their male friends for a date with me.

Nakakatawa. I am excited how this date for me would turn out. *fingers crossed*

 

Parallel Experiences

I can’t help but think, as I am experiencing my uninspired moments in Christ’s Youth in Action staff, that these moments are going to recur when I proceed to Pediatrics residency.

Contrary to popular perception, staff work is actually toxic. It is so different compared to what the students apparently see. There are a lot of stretching of the self, a lot of dying, a lot of breaking, a lot of pruning, a lot of feedback (for me, because I am stubborn) that happen in the background and away from the prying eyes of the university students. A good shattering of expectations leads me to realize romanticizing staff work is not going to work if I want to stay.

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Christ’s Youth in Action Staffers doing a Rurouni Kenshin pose in honor of Flo. Cute namin!

Not that the shattering is a bad thing. It’s part of the process. And in staff, I’m experiencing what it really is like to be a disciple of Christ. And I feel I am not even closer to the woman He has created me to be. The disciplining of the leaders in CYA staff is probably one of the most strict, yet most loving, that I’ve signed up for.

I also cannot help but think, during this seemingly lack of enthusiasm in what I do, that I’ve dealt with similar moments before.

Cases in point: Phi Lambda Delta Sorority and my internship in UP College of Medicine.

Gela with Phi Surgery
I cannot count how many little boys I circumcised. Organizing a tuli mission is one of my main jobs when I was a leader in Phi.

No need to bore you with details, but these two big decisions of my life contained my most uninspiring moments. But look what came out of it: during my term as Phi’s Sister Caritas, Milk Matters was born. Then, I was able to graduate from UP College of Medicine with awards for leadership, service and meritorious performance. I passed the Physician Licensure Exam! Goodness abound.

So as I try to find ways on how to deal with this demoted spirit in staff work, especially since BUSIER days are coming, I have three lenses I can look at that can present me rich strategies I can be creative to use: to look back and be grateful; to look forward and be ready; and to experience the present– find joy in what I do and do the things that bring me joy. (Read Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do it for the Lord and not for men.)

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CYA Medicine just launched out! Here I am taking a two-hour teaching off my doctor work to cater to my brothers and sister in Medicine schools. (PLM and UP Med) High yield ito ang saya! No regrets doing it kahit sobrang pagod ako after this.

I am just afraid of completely missing out on what the Lord is trying to teach me in these moments of dry inspiration. I need grace for a good sense of detachment. Another strong motivation is I just do not want to go back to the old me. Not anymore. I want to learn Your ways, Lord.

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Just because I am radiantly beautiful and happy to be here. Where I am right now. Though I know not the road ahead of me, I trust in the Lord that He will carry me through, victoriously!

Grant me faith for the future. Grant me a grateful heart. Open my eyes to see your work in me and in others.

What are You teaching me? Teach me to persevere and find joy in things that I do, even if I don’t see its fruits.