My 5 Year Anniversary

It’s September the 3rd.

It was the morning of this very day 5 years ago that my Father fell.

And I’m here, looking up news and updates on what I’ve learned will be my future career.

I wonder if he’d like the fact that I’ve chosen Prosthetics and Orthotics as my career instead of regular medicine. Heh, knowing him, he’d reply with something vague like, “Pues, si lo quieres.” (“Well, if that’s what you want”) When I’m contemplating the course of my life, Gee, thanks old man.

But I can’t blame him for my lack of direction, I’ve only got myself to blame, he obviously can’t make that decision for me, and he knows that. So his thinking would be, “So why would we talk about it? If that’s your path, then that’s your path. Start walking.” He knew what had to be done, and he’d see it to the end. I think if the roles were reversed, he wouldn’t ask me what I thought, he’d simply tell me what he was going to do.

But I have to remember that I’m not my father. I am only me. And my path is very different from his, I cannot compare the two of us, it’s not possible. All I can do is utilize everything he’s taught me to what I’m doing with my life, right now.

And right now, I’m working on making my resolve as solid as possible! God has finally shown me where I’m going to go with my life, and this is it! There’s no more room for doubt anymore, no more room for questions on where I’m going or what my purpose is. This is it. It took five years for me to reach this point and now I’m set on my path.

Heh, I think if this wasn’t my path, I’d be hesitant on writing these words, or there’d be a lingering thought in the back of my mind, but there’s nothing. It’s almost strange. I say almost, because to be honest, I’ve never felt more at peace with all of this. Even researching how far I might have to go for all of this, I’m OK with it. I welcome it! Because it’s only now that it all makes sense: That thought that I’d never be a doctor, The constant reinforcement that helping people is what I must do, The way my heart breaks whenever I see someone struggle with walking or moving in any way less than their normal ways.

I feel like that Agent in Usual Suspects, when he finally sees the big picture. It really does hit you like a truck. Or I guess in this case, it was like walking in the dark and suddenly having the entire room light up, finding yourself exactly where you are, and where you’ve been.

I hope other people discover this feeling. It’s excitement and peace put together. Looking forward to what lies ahead, yet not making out anything for certain. Admiring the unknown, and knowing that it’s there.

It’s a feeling unlike anything I’ve felt before.

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A Punishment to Some; To Others, a Gift; To Many, a Favor

Day 11Memento mori. “Remember that you will die.” Admittedly, this isn’t the most pleasant topic. There is, however, great benefit in meditating on the reality that at some point, you will in fact die. It motivates you to live the life right now that you want to be living. Meditate on this, and write out your thoughts. Does death scare you? Does it motivate you? It’s okay to be honest.

This quote was from Seneca, talking about Death. Heh, Death, my old friend. It seems like when I was young, Death was always around me, in such close encounters, that it can’t be anything more than a miracle that I’m still here in this life. But now that I’m older, Death has taken on a different role in my life. My Father’s own death was just… so sudden and unexpected, we never really got to prepare for it fully, save for the weeks when he had to stay at his job to save on gas, and didn’t come home. Here, Death feels like a cruel thief, stealing someone so important to me, but my Faith reminds me that Death has but only one Master, and that is God, Himself. Yet, my Father lived a life how he thought was the right way to live, despite the things that would’ve liked to have seen, he had all he ever needed within us.

So now to think that I will die, this is a rather interesting thing to ponder over, because some part of me thinks that I’m still young, so I’ve got that idiotic idea that I’ll never die,  but it’s mostly because I’m genually familiar with Death, I can remember that day when all I wanted to do was sleep, not knowing that I’d be sleeping for eternity, and how my family tried to hide their fears under their determination to keep me awake. In the years following, I’ve lived life with a flavor that was unique, and yet, as time has passed, that flavor is all, but gone.

Now, I don’t fear Death, I fear the unknown. Death to me, is like I said before, an old friend. I know my life isn’t even CLOSE to being finished, and yet, I don’t fear the idea that Death can come for me at any time. But I do use the death of others as a motivator, at least in the sense of trying to become stronger/faster/tougher: “What if something fell on the girls? Will I be strong enough to help?” etc. But my own Death? Nah, I’m fine. I even sometimes think about my funeral, who would show, what would happen afterwards, and so on. Heh, it’s kinda fun thinking about Death, but that could also be coming from the mixture of my Mexican side, who respects Death; my Youthfulness, who doesn’t think will die at all; and my Catholic faith, which tells me not to fear Death for it will be bringing me closer to God. I guess in the end, I feel like I owe this Life a lot of things before I meet Death, but then again, it’s up to God to determine that.

Two Days in One

Day 6: Pick a quote from our 80-ish quotes on manhood and reflect on why it stands out to you. Does it reflect a man that you aren’t yet, but hope to be? Does one of them remind you of a great man in your life who you’ve tried to model? If you can’t seem to reflect on a single quote, just take the time to write out a few of them that you like. Doing so will keep them top-of-mind and perhaps lead to some thoughts later down the road.

Day31

From the  many that they’ve provided, I’ve resonated with this quote. I’ve been pondering over trees and plant life lately, to the metaphorical point that we all must continue to “grow”, and now, I have a quote that sums it up nicely! This quote is about becoming a man at the end of a journey; with my feeling stuck in my life, this is a refreshing reminder that the adventure isn’t over, that I still have a lot of years ahead of me and that I’m a sap for feeling stuck in the first place. So to follow the questioning, This is something that reflects a man I wish to be. In terms of modeling, I’ve always wanted to be a man like my Father, tough and strong, yet gentle and kind, he’d make a great oak tree, I believe.

Day 7: You’ve made it one week! Reflect on what this newfound practice has been like. Getting through the first seven consecutive days is truly the hardest part. Have you enjoyed it? Has it been difficult? Has it been what you expected?

Wow, it’s been one week already? It has been one week into the new year, that’s a scary thought! Just last weekend, I took down all of my Christmas decorations, that I had lovingly put up with great joy, and now it’s all packed and put away! But I’ve gotta admit, I’m really enjoying this 31-day Journal Challenge. The hardest part, I’d say would be that sometimes I get to my laptop too late and I can’t write an entry, that’s pretty much it, my mind is comfortably adapting to these various prompts, despite how personal they may be. Hmm, I’m not a man of Expectations, I kinda went into this with a blank curiosity, but I like it.

A Letter for a Day

Day 5: Write a letter to a loved one. Chances are high that there is someone in your life that you’d like to say something important to. Maybe it’s a wife, a parent, a grandparent you never really got to say goodbye to…take the time today to write that out. It can be positive, negative, or anywhere in between. The beauty of this letter is that you aren’t sending it in the mail, you’re simply “voicing” something that needs to be said. Should you choose to share it later, that’s okay, but you don’t have to. Doing this can be a great way to heal anger that’s been pent up inside, or to release a pressure valve of sadness we may have been harboring over something lost.

A Letter to a loved one, eh? That’s interesting… “Something that needs to be said.”

Dear Father,

I know you tried to give me as much as possible, and tried to teach me by your silent example, and I know that there are some lessons that you wanted me to learn and it simply didn’t stick. I also know that there were some lessons that you didn’t want me to learn and I unfortunately did learn. I know you never really understood what I say to you, or why I am the way I am, or even why I laugh at the jokes that I do, but know that your smile always brought me gladness, and that I now know how much pain you’ve had to bear each and everyday, and that, to smile in the middle of all that, only makes me admire you more. Raising all of us wasn’t easy and you’ve stumbled more than anyone’s willing to admit, but with me, at least, I would not have had it any other way. Dad, before you died, I wanted to ask you if you were proud of me, and because I didn’t put much thought to it, I never got the chance to ask you, and knowing you, you’d probably call me a taras and tell me “Of course I’m proud of you!” and probably tell me things that I already know about my being the first in the family with a Bachelor’s or that I’ll be a doctor soon enough, I just gotta “restart my brain.” But the truth is that, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be a doctor, I’m stuck here, Dad, and some might think that your passing has something to do with it, but I thought we were good. We were partners, I thought that we had an understanding and that, despite my last question, there was nothing left between us. I wanted you to know that, I’ll find a way to get out of this, and that I still have you in my heart. We’re doing alright as a family now, David and the girls are getting used to life here in California, Mom’s still strong, and laughing, we’re taking good care of her. I’m not sure how else to continue this letter, so I’ll just say that Dad, I know that you’d say that you’re proud of me, but I need to convince myself that what you think of me was true, and I won’t rest until I become a doctor. Thanks for giving me that void, that space I need, to keep pushing myself.

I love you Dad,
Taras

You’re Home, Sister

These last few days, my sister has been trying to get used to the fact that this is her new dwelling place.

She’s so used to doing this from afar and not being there to experience it first-hand, but now she’s here, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and she can’t get rid of that feeling that she’s going to be leaving.

For me, I’m glad that she’s here, in fact, since we’ve had the house blessed, my heart was at peace, for the first time.

Some context:
Before getting the house blessed, my heart knew inside and out, that something was there, to the point where I had to force myself to go to my room, much less go to sleep. and after having the house blessed, I knew the presence was gone, yet my heart kept beating somewhat rapidly in anticipation of it.

So now that she is here, for the first time, my heart felt truly at peace. No ‘sensing’ that something was there, no ‘thinking’ that something was there, just peace.

And now, I remember, that question I never got a chance to ask my father before he died, and now, I’m faced with something similar, I can’t pass up this opportunity to let another person know how much they mean to me. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I will not let another opportunity pass me by, I won’t let another person go unloved and unappreciated.

This is home, your home, my home, our home.

Led by a Child

I was standing there, being told the honest truth from an honest child, my niece Isa, who’s asked me to talk to her in private.

She told me that I was being too serious and that my other niece, Sirena, didn’t like me too much because of it. And it was true, I had been rather short with her and lost my patience with her much quicker than I used to, and so, she took it upon herself to pull me aside and discuss this with me. She asked me basic questions, and then, she asked me, “So, what’s the problem?” and then she somehow, caused me to expand my mind, like I did some time ago.

It felt so familiar, this vastness that I had long forgotten, my mind went to work immediately, throwing out the problems and solving it in, what is seen in my mind, as the space right in front of me. My mouth utters fragments of the processes, in loud whispers, heh, confusing my nieces who’s thinking that I’m talking to her, my eyes move back and forth, fixated on floating objects that cannot be seen by others, my mind utilizing every relevant information, data, and memory, to solve the dilemma. And there it was, my answer, that is, the reason why I was being short with Siry, it was never because of her, but her actions that became a sort of, straw that broke the camel’s back, to frustrations that came from others. I couldn’t stop myself from laughing, this child, who couldn’t possibly understand the vastness of what lies within my mind, has so easily guided me as if she was guiding her pet to water.

So, after a few hours, I immediately sought ways to prevent this from happening again, and, once again, Isa was telling me ways to find peace or to calm down should the situation arrive again, to at least not be short with Siry. And once again, I’ve found my answer, Rakuen, a song from the Trigun soundtrack, a very peaceful song that I would listen to whenever I’m done exercising. This song means a lot to me because one time after exercising, I was laying on the garage floor, and I imagined myself in a place just outside the forest, a sort of campground, there was a boulder for a seat, and two logs forming a triangle, then in the middle was a place for a fire, surrounded by rocks, it always looked blackened, as if the fire was already gone, it was always sunny, and clear, and water can be heard from far away.

It was my paradise. My place of solitude whenever anything got me riled up. But it was also there that I saw my Father, I saw his face clearly, yet I couldn’t see his body. He didn’t say anything, nor made any sort of expression that I could remember, but I knew it was him. I was almost in tears at his presence.

Since then, I’ve always gone back to that place, my Rakuen, my Paradise. My place of Serenity and Peace. Yet, I haven’t seen my Father again in there, I keep returning but he hasn’t come back.

And now, I’m here, mind at peace, and all because of this child… a Child… Wait, wasn’t there a child on my spiritual Journey? There was! I never could see who the child was, but I do remember a child and a woman, whom I assumed was the mother… Could Isa, be this child I saw long ago? Causing my emotions to go from perilous to calm and tranquil?

… Ha ha ha! That would be amazing! I mean, I always knew the girls were far smarter than I was at their age, but this is something else entirely! I took that journey way back in RCC, they weren’t even there yet!

This is amazing… For God to have given me, not only these girls as wonderful blessings, but to have one of them, help me on my own life, is something that makes my heart overflow completely.

I know now that this child will be interesting to see grow up, she’s got the potential to change this world, I can see it! To have so easily balanced me out with as gentle a touch one can give, Isa is something special. Heh, and here I have a plethora of quotes and philosophy, wisdom and knowledge that’s been passed down from generations, all laid at the feet of this small child. But the Lord always says, “Keep your faith, like that of a child’s.” I guess this is His way of reminding me of that phrase.

A child has helped me rediscover paradise within my own soul. How more blessed can I be?

 

Confidence is a bit lacking…

A few weeks ago, I went to confession as a good Catholic man should, and this particular priest, who has a reputation for rambling, was rambling about how I should do things to avoid sin, so he eventually asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and I replied to become a doctor, and he told me if I should consider something else… Now here’s the interesting part…

I know it in my mind, body, and soul that I want nothing more in this life than to be a doctor, with every fiber of my being, and yet, I’ve found that when questioned with even the slightest possibility of doing something else, I become hesitant, my voice lowers, my vocabulary shortens, and it seems like I’m almost scared to defend myself in sticking to my goal…

So I was telling the Priest that I cannot see myself and anything else but a doctor, but to his eyes, it must’ve seemed like I didn’t know what I was talking about, or like I had no desire whatsoever. Well, whatever he thought, I’m certain he couldn’t have thought I was as adamant about being a doctor as I claim to be.

So what is it? Why do I act like a frightened mouse when someone comes even close to questioning my motives for wanting to become a doctor. Or even questioning my character, for that matter.

I remember an interview with a representative of a medical school, and when he questioned why some of my grades aren’t perfect, I would explain to him that there are more than a plethora of situations that would require my attention, some family, some friends, and I threw in, “I’m the kind of guy that people would come to for help” And he gave me a scenario,

“a Friend asked for your help, but you need to study for a test the next day, what would you do?”

I told him, I’d help that friend, and then he said with disappointment in his voice, “And there goes that test.” I tried to sound confident but it probably sounded like a whisper when I said, “I cannot deny who I am.” but he didn’t look up from his papers.

So, other than scratching that school from my list of potential Medical schools, that moment where my confidence is shaken, despite what I knew was the right choice, has haunted me for some time.

This is a problem I need to focus on.

But that’s the thing, I have MORE than enough reason to be confident, I’d even go so far as say be angry about this career path! Yet, something in me, doesn’t use it, it doesn’t reach into this pool of motivation, full of various things, when other people have just one and they make it work. Here I am, with so much motivation and yet it’s all gone when it comes to defending who I am or what I do.

Maybe that’s the thing, “A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.” – Segal’s Law, this is describing the fact that conflicting information can cause loads of problems, especially when it comes to making a decision… So in my case, I am seeing these things as separate reasons, the Death of my Father, the Disadvantaged Upbringing, the Earning of my Name, The Path for my Nieces, it all adds up to one thing: Sacrifice.

All of these things revolve around Sacrifice. It was Sacrifice that pushed me to Medicine, it was Sacrifice that carries me, it’s Sacrifice that I wake up to, and it’s Sacrifice that drives me to keep going. I’m going to have to REALLY think about this, because this is what will be the center of everything! What brings balance to my universe, the singular method to all the madness that I will experience, the spark that ignites a raging inferno, will be Sacrifice.

“Sacrifice, which is the passion of great souls, has never been the law of societies.” – Henri Frederic Amiel, has spoken the words perfectly.