Do Not Wait Too Long

I recently had confirmation about my impending surgery in the coming days.

It will be a minor procedure that shouldn’t take 30 minutes from prep to post-op, but I am still worried, this will be the second surgical procedure I will have in less than 6 months. But I surrender everything to God, he will take away my fear and replace it with courage so I can go through with this new challenge and come out victorious.

In denial

THE problem I have was old news. It was discovered back when I was in Turkey during a random check. I was not alarmed because I didn’t feel any different. I thought I can wing it until I am ready to face it. When the doctor asked me if I want something done to it immediately, I said I’ll wait until I go home to the Philippines. In my mind, I will feel more comfortable talking to someone in my vernacular and to not discuss details of “the” problem with translators.

I went home for a short break and back to Turkey in June last year, but I didn’t do anything, thinking that it was not serious. I tried to convince myself that I can do something about it once I return in March of this year. But as you already know, I went home in January with a cast on my left leg and was not ambulatory until around early May.

Despite that, I could have gone to have “the” problem checked out sooner, but I experienced some emotional problem during my recovery from my physical injuries. When I was sure, I am stable, after attending a workshop and meeting new people I decided to have “the” problem properly checked by the specialist exactly a year I was supposed to.

Relieved but not out the woods yet! 

From my own perspective, the problem deteriorated after realizing that my health and age is catching up with me.😁 I guess the injury magnified every aches, pain and everything else in my life. But I was still calm about it, although at the back of my mind I was preparing for the worst and was relieved when the specialist said “the” problem is reversible.

I guess it’s ironic that I work in the health field and I am very stubborn to act when something like this comes up. I do have my regular health check and follow doctors advise when it comes to maintaining them, but there are issues I ignore deliberately for reasons even I don’t know.

From the time it was discovered, work and life situations have changed. And because it doesn’t bother me as if I don’t have “the” problem I went on with life and continue what I normally do. But now it cannot be ignored, something has to be done, and I took the first step to make it happen.

Anchor to God 

I attribute the result of the consult as a sign from God. I thank Him and all the saints that intervened on my behalf every day and will continue to do it for the rest of my life.

(Dhidhak Collections / Philippines 2018)
Altar at the Asian Medical Center (Dhidhak Collections / Philippines 2018)

That my deliberate stubbornness didn’t put my life in jeopardy and render it permanently altered. But I am not out of the woods yet. I still have to undergo the actual operation to resolve “the” problem, and until then I cannot rest easy.

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Every time I go to my therapy I pass by the chapel to give praise and thank God for everything. On my way in and out of the main hall, I passed by the statue to Padre Pio and decided I will pray to him for all what I want to happen to my life.

With the results, I received from the doctor, I can’t help but be thankful that some of my prayers were answered. So I like to share with you the simple prayers I say in front of his statue when I am in the chapel and when I am alone in my room.

Padre Pio.JPG

Be blessed.

My Spiritual Journey Begins in Taizé: Silence

When I joined my organization back in 2002, I was invited to attend a pre-departure briefing even though I was working in Cambodia for over four years prior. So I went to France and stayed there for almost 3 months because of the holidays and the list of training I needed to attend.

I’ve been wanting to go to France when I was introduced to the meditative practices of Taize. That was during the preparation for the celebration of World Youth Day in 1995 in the Philippines. I was a young delegate from my parish and my diocese sent out to go around and tell the youth about the WYD celebration and how to prepare for it.

Taize prayers were sung over and over until the self is quiet and the only thing you hear is the song in your head and the beating of your heart. That was the first time I experience to be one with my soul and from then on I said to myself I will go and visit where it all began.

So when I finally found myself in France the first place I decided to visit was Taize and relive all the glory days of the World Youth Day experience I had when I was young. It is an ecumenical community where young people from all over the world gather and experience the presence of God through the other young people, through singing and sharing of stories and their dreams. I wanted very much to be part of that.

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Funny though when I arrived in my hostel in Lyon, not many French youths I met knew about Taize. Luckily the receptionist was from Romania, and he knew about Taize back in his home country. He was working in the hostel as part of his spring job and was happy to show me on the map how to get there.

But during the briefing at the HQ, I met one colleague – Nestor from Benin who had been there and knew some people in France that can help me go there. I was happy to make his acquaintances and over time we became good friends and we kept in touch until now.

(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
My good friend Nestor, the one responsible for me to meet Gerard and visit Taize in 2005. We remain friends until now. (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)

He introduced me to his French dad – Gerard (the one that accommodates him when he’s in France) and he became my French dad too. Every time to return to France I go out of my way to visit him in Verze and we have picnics and return to Taize for prayers. Every Christmas too when I can I send him dried mangoes from home.

(Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
Approaching the big house – Chez Gerard (Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
Chez Gerard (42)
Our trusted Beattle (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)

Gerad was the one who brought me to Taize in his old Bettle. Passing through the backroad from his small village, through vineyards until we reach the hi-way leading to the community. It was a short scenic ride all the time and because it’s close we can always stay until late and experience the prayerful silence of Taize.

(Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
My French dad – Gerard under one of the old trees in the Taize compound. (Dhidhak Collection / France 2005)
(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
Follow the signs … on the way to Taize
2005 Taize (7)
Entering the Taize community compound. The bells are sounded every prayer time. (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (13)
Young people come from everywhere and commune with God anywhere in the community (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (8)
The belfry of the church inside the community (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
The valley around the community (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (16)
The prayer area inside the big tent (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
2005 Taize (17)
The candles that light the whole place … it gives a warm glow that put one pilgrim into prayerful trance together with the Taize prayers sung over and over (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
(Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)
The ICON of Jesus on the cross (Dhidhak Collections / France 2005)

That was my first pilgrimage in France.

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Listen to Taize Prayers here and experience the peace I experience whenever I listen to them.

In the Lord, I’ll be ever thankful

Holy Spirit come to us

Nada te Turbe (Let Nothing Trouble You)