A Great Start to Spring Break

Today, I dropped off the girls to their school, picked them up afterwards, went to the movies with my Sister and Bro-in-law, and saw Chavez, that was a good movie. Picked up some supplies, playing Disney Infinity with my eldest niece, ate some Pizza, and now I’m starting to watch Game of Thrones, which was a trend I had failed to jump on when it started.

Quite a bit happened in one day, I must admit. If this is a foreshadowing of my Spring break, then I’m going to have a memorable one this year.

Watching Chavez showed me a history, I’ve all but forgotten. My Mexican heritage is full of heroes and martyrs, battles and spilled blood, pain and sorrow and sacrifice and loss. At the end of the movie, I felt guilty. Guilty that I have little to no memory of these things, these things that my people have gone through, that my family has gone through. Here I sit, with luxuries and food and a family, and looking at what I have seen, in the back of my mind, I knew that I have been taking all of it for granted. The labors and pain and sacrifices others have made should never be forgotten by the descendants of those who have made them…

And I will no longer forget my past.

Random Quote #182

Potest ex casa magnus vir exire – ‘A great man can come from a hut’ – Latin Proverb

 

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Sacrifice

My world is defined by it, built by it, ruled by it. It is through sacrifices and what comes after, that my life has been what it is.

The Sacrifices of others, both known and unknown, however distant they may be related, I’ve come to realize that I’m constantly affected by it. I have heart-to-heart conversations with my family and it comes down to the fact that, they’ve given up something or have done something that causes them to be put at some sort of emotional risk.

At first, I had no idea of this concept, until I begin to think about some of the things that I have given up and will give up for the sake of others. My time spent with the girls, the heart-to-heart conversations where I’m having this discovery, and other situations where I’m giving up my own well-being for others. Now I’m seeing through different eyes, but this is a bit of a problem, on the one hand, I can appreciate those close to me, a lot more, I can laugh with them and learn to see them for what they’ve done.

On the other hand, for those who still don’t know of the sacrifices, and act as though nothing has been done, I’m more short with them, thinking that they’re being disrespectful to the one who had sacrificed. But that’s a problem, because the best sacrifices are the ones where no one is aware of what has been done. Otherwise, one would be sacrificing for the sake of acknowledgement and later on, praise, and that’s the completely wrong way to live life.

So needless to say, it’s really I who have a problem. I cannot get mad at people for reasons unknown to them, that’s unfair to everyone, I need to learn to calm down, to let it go.

I’ve been having that problem lately, trying to calm down, but that’s a post for another time.

The point I want to make here, is that I never really realized how much my life was paid for through others. I never knew how many fights there were on my behalf, nor how much time, energy and sanity was spent in order for me to become how I am at this moment. Which is why being the best that I can be has always been crucial to my life, I guess it’s only now that I realized that this had always been the reason. I must be a good man because so many people have given up so much for me! What kind of guy would I be if I simply threw it all away for no reason?!

To sacrifice something for someone else is the greatest sign of love and trust. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the love for the individual, the greater the trust, the greater the potential the individual has to do something or be something grand, because it’s not the energy of just one person, but two in one life, causing the capacity of potential to skyrocket and the quality of life to be richer.

So I need to keep going, and soon, I will be the one sacrificing family, friends, peace of mind, sanity, social life, and eventually my whole life, for the sake of others. And whether or not they’re aware of it, it doesn’t matter, because in the end, I will find a way to love them for who they are, heh, it’s always been in my nature to be an idiot like that, to have hope for the world.

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.

“It’s not too late” said the Rose

It’s funny, despite my fascination with Fire, and my male stereotypical love for destruction of things, I really like gardening.

Today, I spontaneously did some gardening, pulling out weeds mostly, but I liked how I was finger-deep in soil, wrapping my hands around weeds and pulling them out without breaking the roots, and then moving on to the next one.

My actual garden looks pretty horrible, due to various reasons that drain my energy enough to brush off gardening on my list of chores. Yet, despite the lack of good keeping on my part, when I was gardening, it felt as if nothing changed, nothing has changed since I last tended to these plants, obviously the plants have aged, and withered a bit, so there’s nothing but stems, but the energy in these plants seemed… dormant. Within a few days of watering, a very beautiful and large yellow rose bloomed, and now there’s more coming. I thought it was fast, to go from nothing but stems to a full blooming Rose.

So as I spend some time this morning pulling out weeds, I was thinking about the plants themselves, I’m a firm believer in the concept that Trees and plants, spend all of their energy in prayer to God and that’s is their only purpose, to grow in both Life and in Faith constantly reaching for the Heaven, which explains why we often associate plants like flowers and roses to Christ. But it’s metaphorical to reflect upon in comparison to one’s life, a plant doesn’t question Heaven why it’s leaves turn red, brown, and orange, it merely lets go of the parts of the tree that it once held on to, for it was time. It braves the winds of the Fall and the cold of Winter, and yet it remains standing, knowing that at its roots, it is stronger than the seasons, stronger than the changes, stronger despite the sacrifices.

And it’s reward? Spring time. When the snow melts and the clouds part and the sun rises high in the sky bring life, the trees reveal the results of their bravery: leaves, strong bark, a solid body, and it still reaches for the sky, for Heaven, for God, not to say, “Why?” but to say, “Thank you.”

And I believe this is true for all plant-life, so when I was gardening, I was thinking to myself that I was, in some small part, helping these plants get closer to the God that loves them so.

So if this is true for plants, what does that mean for me? What does the Tree tell us? Or what words are spoken with the voice of the Vine? When we smell the Rose, what is its reply?

Hope.

All plants tell us that we must keep going, despite our losses and sacrifices, we must press on. There will always be cold, harsh winters,  changes that seem to come out of nowhere, just when everything was nice and peaceful, change always comes right around the corner and sometimes it takes something with it, but none of it can stop you from reaching. Weathering every storm without breaking from who you are is how you can truly bloom in this life, even if no one cared for a very long time, it is never too late to start over and try again, there will always be roots to grow from, and with enough care and effort, you’ll blossom all the more beautifully.

Hope will always continue to grow, so long as you keep reaching with all your heart, through the good times and the bad, with the gains and the sacrifices, with the roots and the leaves.

Hope is the flower that blooms in our souls when we’re faced with the bleak. It is the unmitigated sign that we’ve endured and have not withered. People can always smell the fragrance of a flower, and like a flower, people can sense the hope that lies within one’s heart, hope that encourages them to be who they are, fight their fight, and strive to achieve their goals. It’s intoxicating to those who have sensed it, they, themselves, feel something stirring within them, inspiring them to one end or another, simply because they’ve ‘smelt’ this ‘flower’ that’s near them, the fragrance of Hope fills their senses and they are moved by it, as if smelling the perfume of a tulip.

Maybe, that’s why I like gardening so much, because it lets me interact with God’s examples of what it means to be Faithful, to have Hope in my heart and to show me how to brave storms like they do, all the while, still reaching towards Heaven.

Sacrifices

My brother was telling me that we need to have a talk, and as I raised my eyebrow, concerned at what he needed to talk to me about, he said that it pertaining to my required 4th degree to join the Knights of Columbus. He mentioned that I’m going to be needing to make some sacrifices in order to do so, other than time, apparently.

So this got me thinking, I’m curious as to what sort of sacrifices I will have to make in order to be successful in medical school, obviously time and a social life, heh, if I had one. But now I’m curious as to what else I might be expected to give up…

I can see myself giving up sleep, that’s just given, I’m going to have to try to implement some sort of short hours of sleep tied with naps throughout some breaks… or I could completely forget to do this, and sleep at random hours in the middle of the night, and completely obliterate my circadian rhythm… I think I’ll probably wind up with the latter…

But what else? I don’t think I’ll be forced to sacrifice any personal morals, my own opinions on controversial topics, unless it’s required of the grade, but even then, they’ll ask for both sides, and I can argue for a side I don’t agree with, easily enough, but I don’t think that they’ll ever convince me to give up entirely…

Well if I’m forced to go anywhere from out of the city to out of the Country to get to med school, then, I’m obviously giving up the security and sanctity of Home, and the voices and good times that come with my family. But that’s alright with me as well as with my family, sure, they’ll be sad to see me go, but I’ll come back to them, and they’ll deny that they weren’t sad, but proud.

Hmm… but what else?

I’d imagine I would have to leave a number of personal belongings behind, like my Warhammer models, or my Wing-less Charizard who now serves as my paperweight, or even my white boards… Man, I’m going to miss those…

Huh, now that I think about it, I have very little possessions to actually call my own…

I wonder if I have to learn to suck up to other doctors in order to get ahead, sigh… that’s really degrading, I didn’t come to med school just to kiss someone else’s butt, I came to help people, sick people, people who cannot help themselves, not get on someone’s good side. Medicine to me, is to do whatever it takes to help people, good or bad, doesn’t matter, all that matters to me is who can help and who needs help.

Oh well, I’ve always been a Trial-by-Fire kinda guy, so I guess I’ll cross these bridges when I come to them, still, it’s always something interesting to ponder about when I’ve got the time…

Hm… Sacrifices… I suppose I should think, “What am I willing to sacrifice for this?” Now there’s an interesting idea…

Mi Familia es mi Vida

We stood in a line, after the final, closing prayers have been said, and after we each tossed a flower over his coffin, people walked and shook our hands, each telling a summation of what they loved best about my Father.

A majority of it can be summed up in this: “He lived only for us. We were all he talked about everyday…”

As far back as I can remember, I never saw my parents leave for anything close resembling date night, even on their anniversaries, my Father wanted the whole family to be together. He never bought himself a single object that wouldn’t later on be a tool or some sort of part that he would use in the future, however, he spent as much as he could on us, to make sure that we had fantastic childhoods filled with toys and playthings that ignited our imaginations and placed smiles on our faces.

He knew not to give too much as to spoil us, but whenever we needed anything that required currency, there was no hesitation. My first year at LSU, I found myself with my homework online, so I had to stay at the school  library late trying to do my homework, a week later, I came home to find a laptop waiting for me, purchased by none other than my Father on his way home from work.

It’s so interesting to realize how often people go out for their own reasons, whether it be, to relax/unwind, or on impulse, or what have you, yet my Father never seemed to have these feelings, at least not for himself. The moment he got off work, he always came straight home, he never went out for beers, nor to hang out with his co-workers, on any activity, not because he didn’t like them, but because in his mind, family was first and foremost.

It didn’t matter that we’d all be swamped with homework or playing or chores when he got there, he was just satisfied with just being home with his loved ones, his family. He’d always walk into the living room just to check up on us, making sure we were all there and alright, right before he’d yell out, “Good night, Kids!”, to which we’d reply, “Good night, Dad.”

Heh, my eyes are swelling…

This was truly one of my best memories of him, every night he’d say good night, making sure to say it to everyone, regardless of where they were in the house.

This particular trait was one of the best qualities I’ve found within him. To live ONLY for his loved ones, to make sure we were happy, clothed, fed, and taken care of, he loved us so much that he never spent a single moment away from us, when given the chance, he’d rather stay at home doing nothing, than be out hanging out with friends, or co-workers, or even with my mother by themselves, for him, we always stayed together.

Although he had this way of thinking, he wasn’t beyond the ideas of others having to leave, save it was the only choice. Otherwise, his realistic mind kicks in, and he’ll start questioning the reasons why you want to leave, which usually boils down because you really didn’t have a good reason.

This idea has lead me to make a pact with myself, to not leave home until I deem it necessary, too often have my friends left home only to bring disappointment or to become someone who’s character is rather untrustworthy. And it has been a rather good decision on my part, I now have a constantly solidifying sense of priorities, and I know what to focus on in the future when I have a place of my own.

But I have learned the ideals of fatherly self-sacrifice and I have an unwavering example of someone who can define what it means to be a ‘Father’ which will be my example when/if I become one, or to be a Father-figure to someone who is not of blood, so that they can see what I saw and learn what I have learned, simply because my Father showed me.

Also tying into Mexican culture, where family ties are rather strong, My Father upheld his cultural responsibilities and I never had a single doubt in his abilities to provide for us, nor ever felt an inkling of loss of control for the family in his hands.

In the end, I’ve learned one major trait I will aspire to obtain: Being there for those I love, regardless of the cost.

My father and I discovering technology.

A Trigger

Yesterday was rather interesting, As I had delivered some blood in vials and tubes to the lab, I was walking toward the door when I realized where I was standing. I was in a light-colored, narrow hallway with doors on both sides, and I realized that this scene was all too familiar to me…

It was almost like that hallway that I saw, but these doors were Green and wood-brown, and those doors were a dark red… and this hallway was colored, and that one was pure white… I opened one of those red doors and saw Heaven, yet none of these doors would ever open anything close to that… They’re not the same. Which leads me to believe that this ‘trigger’ was meant purely as a reminder of that journey I took some time ago…

A rather interesting and random reminder, I’ve walked this hallway before, numerous times and it was only yesterday that I was reminded of this… Great, now I’ll always remember it whenever I do Lab runs… But, I’m curious as to why I’m reminded of the journey I took… It was quite some time ago, and right now it doesn’t serve me any purpose… Or does it?

Hmmm… My mind is circulating parts of  the journey, trying to piece together answers. I should put my journey in here, since this is my journal, but that can be for another time. Well, until it hits me like a ton of bricks, I’m afraid the reason why I’ve been reminded of this will remain as speculation, although I think it might have to do with the Cliff, or perhaps a reminder of what lies within that Straw hut.

Today, I saw a very interesting video about Guiseppi Moscati. In it, I saw a man who held his genuine desire to help everyone above everything else, even his own personal life. The girl of his dreams, a Princess, left him because she refused to wait for him, because he was always out helping others. And even though, he loved her with all his heart, when it came to helping others, there was no hesitation, he’d put on that white coat and submerse himself in helping others. It even got to the point, where he invited all of the people who couldn’t afford hospital care to his own home, which took him days to sort through, he wound up selling all his possessions for medicine for the poor people. He sacrificed SO much, just for the sake of his Passion… And as I’m watching, I’m wondering, “Would I do the same thing? Would I give up my own Life? Love? My very Soul, to help people? How much would I give if it was demanded of me?”

And then, I remembered my goals of trying to help my fellow man, through various means such as UNICEF and whatnot. So if I really want to help save the people of this world, is this what I have to look forward to?

Why all this hesitation? For goodness sakes! I shouldn’t hesitate at all when it comes to having opportunities to help someone! Have I become so shallow that I hesitate thinking about helping others at my own expense? I pray that I haven’t turned into such a coward.

I guess we’ll see how much will be demanded of me when I finally get in. But first I need to get past the MCAT and submit my application. We’ll see what God has in store for me.

For now, I need to just get there. Once I’m in Medical school, I can worry all about the technicalities then, for it does me no good worrying about it now.

So I find myself needing to find ways to keep myself inspired to keep going and trying as hard as possible. Triggers to the Cerebellum that causes inspiration and rekindle the Passion that lies within me.

I have to find these sparks of inspiration, and have them regularly so that I don’t stray from my path.

Finally, I got Chrono Trigger on my Android, so I’m happy about that. So much so, that that pretty much inspired this post.