Friday, March 29, 2013

The Good Fridays Of My Life

It's funny that despite the fact that I have been a parish volunteer for several years now, I never really wondered why we call the commemoration of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, a Good Friday?  I just took it for granted that it is the way it is...up until I listened to the Society of the Divine Word televison presentation of the Seven Last Words this afternoon.  I am embarrassed to say that maybe because this is also the first time that I am giving it my 100% attention, it is only now that I understand why in spite of the terrible events of this day, it is indeed a Good Friday.  The Second Word says it all.

“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)

The death of Jesus and His resurrection is a victory over death, sin and evil. His death was not bad because it sends the message that no tragedy, not even death—can defeat God and anyone who believes this will have eternal life. God's providence, love and mercy will have no end.


This brings to my mind how much God loves me and my family. Today, I would like to share my story of how faithful and merciful God has been to us.

When I was a young girl adverse family events did not really bother me as much as the adults around me. But then I grew up and life was not so easy anymore. We were never rich but my parents have always worked hard to give us a comfortable life. They tried to shelter us from life's stresses and problems but the day came when they could no longer do that.

In July 4, 1976, our youngest brother Teddy met a freak accident.  He accidentally shot himself with a neighbor's air rifle and the pellet entered his left eye going through his brain.  My brother and I were both in Manila studying in UST, him for his pre-med course in Zoology and I, for my first year in Medicine.  My parents tried to shield us from this event.  It was not until almost September that we learned about it because by this time Teddy has been transferred from Bacolod to Iloilo City and was having complications that needed a major brain operation.  With my maternal grandmother, we flew to Iloilo to be able to see my brother before his operation, as my parents were afraid that he might not make it.   But even that trip was not uneventful.  As we reached Iloilo, the airport's landing strip was not visible and the pilot decided to land in Cebu instead.  We were given a choice to go back to Manila and then took the first flight to Iloilo early the next day.  The doctors were kind enough to delay the operation until we reached the hospital. It was shocking to see Teddy radically changed from an active, happy and chubby 12 year old the last time we saw him, to this semi-conscious, thin boy with a swollen head and only one eye.  I looked at him stoically while my other brother broke down.  For the next 3 months, Teddy underwent two more brain surgeries, a total of 5 major operations since July if we include the removal of his eye and angiography.  The pellet remained inside his brain because removing it would mean more brain damage. But in early November, he miraculously started to improve, becoming more conscious (although still speechless) and well enough to begin physical therapy by January 1977.  His x-rays showed that the pellet has moved up almost outside his brain.  His doctors however decided to just let it be.   By March, they were discharged from the hospital and my parents rented a small house in Iloilo since Teddy had to continue his therapy and monthly check-up.   All this time, from day one of the accident, my mother never left his side taking leave from her full-time job as a college professor in La Salle, while my father would go home for 2 days to Bacolod every 2 or 3 weeks to check on the family farm which he was then managing.  Needless to say, the farm was neglected and all funds were diverted to Teddy's hospitalization and our schooling/board and lodging.  To top it all this was also the time when the sugar crisis began!  Our funds were not just running low, but running out!  And to make things worse, just as Teddy was recovering, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer in April (2 years later she developed Toxic Goiter after she helplessly watched Teddy lose his balance in our living room).  She underwent a radical mastectomy on the day I turned 21 years old.  I remember Daddy waking up very early to get the Type AB blood needed for her operation while I got Teddy changed for his daily therapy. Nobody remembered that it was my birthday, not even me.  Our lifestyle changed, priorities were put in place but I can proudly say we all adjusted painlessly.  I believe this is because basically our family has always lived simple, so that the changes were easy to make.  Life went on. 

Looking back, I just realized that as a family we have faced many challenges and adversities, some small, some big...even before Teddy's accident and up to this day.  But because of Divine Intervention, we have always risen above it all.   My personal life journey has been a rollercoaster ride, but through the years, I have learned to take everything that comes with patience and...even joy.    The latest adversity was when I was suspended, then dismissed arbitrarily from my job of 30 years in the 3rd quarter of 2011, and to add insult to injury, almost at the very same time, the lessor of the family farm absconded on his obligations and payments for the years 2011-2012!  Since I am the only one with a regular job in a family of 5 adults and 1 child, with my son still in his last 3 semesters in college (he has since graduated and is now gainfully employed), you can imagine the uncertainty we faced.  My mom is dependent on her meager pension as well as the earnings from the farm which she shares with my father's sister.  With no job, no salary, no earnings from the farm, our situation seemed dire and bleak.  But in all these, God never abandoned us.  He was always there every single step of the way, providing us with our needs.  Less than a year after I was dismissed, I was reinstated by the Civil Service Commission, and although my case has been sent on appeal, I am confident that the truth shall set me free.

Today, my brother Ted who is now in his late 40's is relatively healthy, except for the absence of 1/3 of his skull, partial blindness and right sided weakness/wrist and ankle drop left by his accident. His multiple disabilities have limited his physical activities, yet he has never felt deprived. My father who returned to the judiciary in 1984 passed away of a massive heart attack in February of 1991. He was only 58.  My mother retired from her job as a local school administrator in 1994, is aging gracefully and will be 79 in May 1. She is active in parish work as a volunteer administrator for the parochial pre-school and in the diocese as facilitator and volunteer.  She is one of the Papal Awardees of the Diocese of Bacolod and continues to bravely face all of life's trials with faith and trust.

Yes, sufferings are good and we should not be afraid.  The Seven Last Words give us hope in the face of suffering. That after all our sufferings and trials, we will be with God one day.  I am grateful to Jesus for allowing me to share in His sufferings and that I pray that one day, I will reach my final destination welcomed by God's lovingly open arms.

source:http://blueeyedennis-siempre.blogspot.com/2012/03/seven-last-words-of-christ-on-cross.html

25 comments:

  1. Maritel, your post is the most inspiring I have read so far this day. Thanks for sharing and keep being an inspiration to others. :)

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  2. Your family has been through a lot but I'm sure it made you a lot closer and stronger and also gives you a sense of peace that even if things don't fall into place there will always be a guiding hand that will help make things meet.

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  3. A most inspiring post,I always love such posts.keep posting.

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  4. Inspiring post Maritel- keep on posting and sharing inspiring thoughts.Will bookmark your page now- salamat po :)

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  5. This is one rare occasion to read that sufferings are good .This may be difficult to believe but because of the sufferings I have gone through myself, I know that this is true.

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  6. Coming from a different religious belief, I can only say that you have here a very inspiring post. Indeed, God is our HOPE.

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  7. Your family has been through a lot and your faith in God has kept you strong and together no matter what happens. This is a truly inspiring post.
    - Wanderer Juan

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  8. Just remember to count your blessings always. And when you feel like you're sad, know that He's around to hear your prayers.

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  9. I miss reading your post Doc. Maritel. It's true that life is like a carousel ride...turning and turning. And I know how you feel. And at the end our faith with God will always SAVE us.

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  10. Everything has it's own purpose after all. Sufferings and such are just part of life. Just have faith always :))
    INSPIRING.

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  11. Reading through the post made me sad and yet inspired by your experiences. Keep the faith. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  12. The good part of any difficulties is that there are always better times ahead, which would be something we can look forward.

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  13. I feel your a very strong woman Maritel. Stay strong and God bless you always!

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  14. Like what they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. God will never give you something you can't handle. :)

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  15. very inspiring post! i believe each and every has their own personal problems. I my self had encountered some problems as well. but life goes on. we learn and discover new things that we dont usually know until we have this problems. God wont give us problems that we cant handle I believe everything has a purpose.

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  16. This post is very inspiring, indeed! I feel so nourished with words or hope! :)

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  17. Indeed after the life's adversities, you emerge victorious. Same with the message behind Christ's suffering. He had to endure the most humiliating way of punishment and give His life so we will be saved and have eternal life. God bless your family and good to hear your mother is still very strong and active in the church.

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  18. This is a beautiful post. It is always good to see the positive side of every single thing happening in your life. Let us be thankful for the gift of our families.

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  19. Reading through your post pains me. I can feel how hard it must be to went through all of it but i admire you strength and your love for your family. You can definitely share this inspiring story to even more people by sending this to PDI's Young Blood. :)

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  20. I can feel the pain and suffering you and your family experienced while reading your post. Sometimes we question God for all of this but later on He will let us know the reason and that is for our own good. And that we learn through this and be a better and stronger person. Tess

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  21. very inspiring words, this will reminds us that everyday is a blessing!

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  22. So inspiring post. Life is a wave in an ocean, you'll never know if it will become big or just a small one. But despite of trials you experience, still God is our only hope, our true best friend, the doctor of all the doctors and our father that never turn his back to us.

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  23. those trials made you more closer to God and made you even stronger .. He never abandoned us and never will give trials we can't bear .

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  24. This is a very inspiring post, Doc Maritel. I admire your tenacity, love and faith. I personally haven't experienced such painful struggles in my life, and I don't think I'm ready. But, I know God is always here and like what Dennis said, trials will help us get closer to God.

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  25. It's great that you feel you can turn to God in times of need, faith clearly plays a big part in your life :)

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