Last November, I began a short inventory of things, persons, and events I am thankful for for the year 2007. As December was yet to unfold, I just quipped that the way things were unfolding, I am just excited to experience how the last month of the year goes.
Last December 24th, about 5pm Philippine time, my sister received a call from my mom. We were already on our way to my brother in law’s home in Bulacan where we were to spend Christmas Eve. After just a few sentences, my sister passed the phone to me. I talked to my parents in the US, at four in the morning, East Coast time.
My dad wasn’t feeling well. He said he has this dull epigastric pain (correct me if I’m wrong, Pop. I know you’re reading this!) that prevent him (and my mom!) from getting any sleep. Since my dad isn’t the one to complain about bodily aches and pains, I got quite worried. I asked all questions pertaining to his pain and after a few minutes I readily advised them to seek emergency room consult as soon as possible.
And consult they did. At around 6am (7pm in Manila) they were at the ER and he underwent lab exams. By around 9am (10pm), we got word that he’d be undergoing a surgical procedure in his gallbladder. By 12nn, he was in the operating room. By 4pm he was already home, resting from his Christmas Eve visit to the hospital.
Thank God for this happy ending.
But in all honesty, it was one of the worst moments to be in. I am a doctor, stuck here in the Philippines, aiming to save the world, when I can’t even take care of my own parents. I can’t help but feel… Impotent.
But the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, mercy and faithfulness, on the eve of our celebration of His birth- He gave us a lasting present- health and healing to our family.
It is by no coincidence that my mom FINALLY gained the confidence to get behind the wheel just a couple of months before Christmas. She was the one who drove our dad home from the hospital, going to any and all places for errands, etc. All in God’s perfect timing.
It is also a blessing that our aunt, my dad’s sister, Tita Vicky or Tita Bong (who pops in here every so often) was spending the holidays with my parents in South Carolina. At least my mom had somebody with her (who is also in the health professions) to help her- from sorting through jargon to taking care of our convalescent Pop. All in God’s perfect planning.
While in Bulacan, I can hardly feel the Christmas Eve festivities knowing the state my parents were in. But I know it’s a reality that I’ve to face sooner or later: they’re not that young anymore. That sooner or later the tables will be turned and that they’d be the one who’d need taking care of…
But I am just grateful to the Lord- for His immeasurable gift of life and love. He gave me parents who remain steadfast in the midst of trials, humble in moments of triumph. I am just grateful that on the eve of our celebration of His birth, received our Christmas miracle.
I have to admit that my faith faltered a bit. But sometime, somehow, friends whom I texted to pray with us reminded me to keep the faith. God sent His Son to save all of us. If God made THAT possible, surely it is easy to grant healing to my father as he gets operated on an almost-insignificant body organ. Keep the faith, Ian!
I never realized how apt my pre-Christmas post was until I really (re-)experienced God’s love on Christmas eve. And if God made our Christmas miracle possible and all the happenings of 2007 possible, I cannot begin to imagine how 2008 will turn out to be.