Be careful what you ask for, or rather, be careful what you claim.
In this column last week, I had written down that my word for 2013 would be gratitude. Though gratitude is something that I try to practice now on a daily basis, little was I to know then that it was a word that would definitely come alive for me on the first week of the year.
In my journal on Jan. 1 I wrote: By faith, there is nothing to fear.
The statement became a mantra of sorts to repeat in my head when we found ourselves in the Emergency Room of Cardinal Santos Medical Center at 9 p.m. on Jan. 2.
My daughter had been complaining of terrible abdominal pains that went unabated and so mother’s instinct, and I’d like to believe, Divine intervention, dictated that we bring her to the hospital that evening. It was the right decision because her doctor said she was already mildly dehydrated and, the following day, was diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis.
Full house at the ER
In the ER that evening, it was a full house. Young and old suffering from various ills and ailments on the second day of the new year. In the bed next to ours was a man who had a cardiac arrest. Twice that evening, in the span of three hours, I could hear the heart monitor go tooooot, and a flurry of doctors and nurses hovering by his bed.
“By faith there is nothing to fear… 2013 is a year for gratitude.”
Two nights in the hospital, and four IV later, the daughter is healing slowly and we are on our way home. We had gotten her to the hospital on time, averting worse dehydration which could have resulted in more complications and longer hospital stay. How can one not choose to be grateful?
Taking comfort in social media
Social networking, particularly Facebook, was a great comfort, too. I know some people would find it strange that something as private as a hospital stay should be posted online, but my objective, and perhaps the objective of other friends before me who had done the same, was to seek the strength of the Lord through the prayers of people who truly cared.
And boy, did the prayers come flooding my wall, and for each and every one, I am truly grateful. The outpouring of love and concern from friends far and near certainly helped buoy the tired and sagging spirit at
1 a.m. on the second day of the year. I read each one to my daughter and each message was like a balm to a restless and wretched tummy.
One message, from an old and dear friend, Mavie Abad Casas stood out—“God is wise and purposeful in all that He allows… this is a time to slow down at the onset of the new year… may God hasten Pia’s healing.” Wise words from a pastor’s wife, and so true. The year past had been so very busy right until the very end, and to be honest, in spite of a sick child, the last few days we spent in the hospital were very restful for me. I cannot explain it any other way except by way of God’s grace.
On the second day of our stay, we were kept company by family who kept Pia in stitches. Truly, love and laughter are the best medicine.
At the close of Jan. 1, I wrote this as my status on Facebook:
“Ending the first day of the new year with this lovely quote from Neil Gaiman, a combination of his wishes written on New Year’s Eve in 2010 and 2012—“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind…
It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world.
So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: In the world to come, let us be brave—let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them.
And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation.
So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.
In the first year of the New Year, I found myself wrapped in love that came in all forms—from the doctors and nurses in the ER of Cardinal Santos Medical Center to our ever dependable and caring pediatrician Joseph Regalado, who my 21-year-old daughter still continues to choose to see; imbued with the grace of wisdom and receiving kindness from family, friends and strangers online and in the real world. Faith, bravery and joy have marked the first week of my 2013, and if it’s any indication of how the rest of my year will be, then again and again I will chose to be grateful under any and all circumstance, whatever it may be.
Follow the author on Twitter @cathybabao