The Sunrise of 2014

Like years before, I stayed up all night to see the sun rise for the first time in this new year. I even waited outside in my Assassin’s Creed hoodie, that I got for Christmas, I paced back and forth for warmth, but I greeted my old friend at his arrival signalling the dawn of a new year. After a quick prayer in the cold morning, I went back inside to await everyone else and begin this new year with a Paintballing game.

Taking a bit of a break from my Heart-to-Heart miniseries, ArtofManliness.com gave me their latest article and it was a rather intriguing one: a 31-day Journal Challenge. I quickly glanced through the prompts and my curiosity was hooked, so I’ll give this a try. It sounds like fun.

* * *

Day 1: Start with answering the question of why you want to journal, and beyond that, why you decided to embark on this 31-day experience. Write out what you’d like to get from journaling.

 OK, so this is my first prompt. Why I want to journal? Hmm… I guess I’ve always liked the idea of putting my thoughts into some form that’s in front of me. When I’m trying to study, I imagine the information in floating windows around me like in Iron Man. I also read it in the ArtofManliness.com’s article series of 30-days to become a better man. So it was revealed to me that the great men before me have kept journals to help them focus their thoughts and feelings, and me? Well besides from wanting to be a great man, myself, I could use a lil help trying to focus my own thoughts and feelings. So I wanted to do this 31-day experience to sort out my thoughts, glancing through the future prompts this is going to be somewhat invasive and personal, so I thought this would be of a great help to me. In the end, besides having my mind displayed on these digital pages for future people, I’ve always figured that my death would be cut short, I’ve no idea why, nor how this will happen, but I guess it’s something of a worst-case-scenario for me, so should this lifeline be cut short, I’ll at least have some part of me that will go on… that will be immortal. Huh, weird…

Looks like that does it for today, I have to remember to make an effort to finish my own Heart-to-Heart miniseries before I forget. But I have a feeling that this 31-Day experience will help me with my own experiences.

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A Division Diverted

It was a small favor… no it wasn’t, It was a large mistake. She was scared of so many things, that Greg and JP would be kicked out, that corruption would take the heart, and that all of this pain and suffering would be in vain, and life and dreams would be ruined.

She wanted me to accept her proposition and sacrifice myself, for her fear whispers things in her mind. To my regret, I accepted it, thinking that with my sacrifice, I would be the best candidate for the least amount of damage that this would do. Then she looked at my saddened face, for I knew what this proposition was going to do for the entire family, and she got sad, she hated seeing me sad. After a few hours, I went back to her and told her how to explain it so that it can reduce the damage even more, but still, my heart was heavy and I couldn’t shake this feeling of this mistake.

The next day, we were eating breakfast, and she asked me what was on my mind, because she can still see sorrow in my face, despite my best efforts; I questioned her fears, I questioned her nightmares, and I questioned her proposition, and to my discovery, it was all irrational.

Her fears have already been addressed and reassured, and are now nothing to be afraid of. The nightmare that constantly haunts her will never come to pass, and all of her pain and suffering will be rewarded. My sacrifice was no longer needed, and she thanked me for comforting her.

Man, that was something else! It took me a while day to actually process it in my own mind, but I actually helped the family avoid a problem that would cause it to be separated, this would’ve left a scar of unimaginable proportions!

Now my conscious is getting at me for not fixing this in the first place, but I’m relieved now. I need to learn to think about WHY people are doing these things before I start agreeing to these things. Her fears are valid, true, but the problem is that she’s forgotten everything that’s happened, and have allowed herself to be consumed by said fears, and me, simply agreeing to being part of the cause of a divided house, I’m an idiot!

Luckily, things didn’t happen that way and now, this near-division is only between her and I. I know now, that I have to be careful to what I agree to, to not be persuaded by the fears of others, and to remember what has happened to calm those fears. It’s like remembering why I want to be a doctor, My experiences speaks volumes, all I need to do is remember those times and all my fears will be put to rest.

Trust lies in Services Rendered

When I first helped my Father on one of our cars, I was not allowed to do anything. I wasn’t allowed to tighten a screw, I wasn’t allowed to hold a wrench, I wasn’t allowed to pour the oil into the funnel, I wasn’t allowed to do anything, nothing but to sit there and watch him, maybe, just maybe, I can hand him a tool he wanted, but that was when I was able to correctly identify which tool he wanted.

When I finally got my license, I wasn’t allowed to drive for anyone. Regardless that I passed my test, I wasn’t allowed to drive for the family, even to the store nearby, I wasn’t allowed to drive for my brothers to pick up something quick, I wasn’t even allowed to drive myself unless it was absolutely necessary for me to, which it wasn’t until I finally got my own car. I wasn’t allowed to do anything but sit there and watch, maybe, just maybe, I can give the driver some help by telling them whether or not it was safe to turn, but that was only when I can see the road correctly, and only when asked.

This was years ago. And as time passed, slowly I was involved more and more into being trusted upon in doing things.

My Father first let me give him the tools he wanted, then he let me go underneath the car with him to see what he was doing, then he started letting me tighten the nuts and bolts and screws that needed it, then he gave me small jobs to do on my own, then in the end, when a job needed to be done, my hands were right there in the car working along side my Father’s.

Initially, I took the Bus to get to college, but then my family let me take the van to get groceries with supervision, then they let me go without it, then they would let me drive for small recreational things, like pizza, while they simply went along for the ride. When I finally got my car, I was allowed to drive myself to school, then I was trusted to drive myself and others to school, and then in the end, I’m considered the “Patient and Good Driver.”

I was, at first, the one who wasn’t allowed simply because I didn’t know any better, I had no experience, I could have hurt myself if I was trusted with something while not seeing what its purpose is initially. But, my patience and curiosity, gained me the trust that allowed me to not only work alongside my Father and drive my family, but to an effect, display that I am someone to be trusted.

Now, rather than worry about trusting me with things, I am now currently the first person to go to in order to get something done. I’ve become someone that everyone can rely on, a dream of mine that also  has ties to my wanting to be a doctor. But, I always feel honored and glad when someone trusts me, it not only brings said person and myself closer, but it tells me subliminally that I’m still a good man, something that I’m constantly striving to be.

It’s strange really, It’s not being given a thing that tells me that I am trusted, it’s being given a responsibility, a chore even, that tells me that I am trusted, that tells me that I’ve shown maturity and patience, that I’m worthy of being given a higher responsibility. This is solidified by two separate sources, one, a quote: “In order to become a great leader, you must be come a great follower.” I can’t remember who said that, although I’m certain that I have the author in my Quote Book. The second source, the Bible: Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” Now, this was spoken by Christ, himself, and I know for a fact that I am not the greatest in this household!

But the idea is there: in order to grow strong in this life, you need to start at the bottom. Heh, something I started saying over at NerdFitness.com “Everyone starts at Level 1.” And in my case, I’ve faced Death in my youth several times, perhaps even more than most people, and all that I got when I remember these near-death experiences, refined by my faith and Catholicism, is a wonderful desire to earn my life here.

I tell everyone, I have to do good, be good, keep trying, try harder, can’t stay still, keep moving forward, keep looking up, keep reaching, pushing, fighting, laughing, smiling. And usually in these moments, that’s enough for some people, but no one asks me “why?” and why I keep doing all these things, why I’m suffering like this with a smile on my face, or why I keep going forward despite the odds, and that’s because I haven’t earned my place yet. If I were to die, right now, my last thoughts would be, “not yet” because, I haven’t done enough to repay my debt to God, to earn this life that was spared from Death’s grip on numerous occasions. This is why, I’ve chosen to live an honorable life, I don’t disrespect my parents, I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs or even sleep around with promiscuous women. I’ve chosen to live a life without regrets and a life with as little selfish desire as possible… Because, let’s be honest, being a doctor is something I want, I don’t know what God has in mind for me… But this is why my mindset is vastly different from other people my age, it’s strange to see them find some ironic sense of accomplishment in doing self-destructive things, while wondering why I don’t follow suit.

My belief is that, I’m not being a good man because I want to, but ultimately for God. This one small belief has an unbelievable large range in various places in my life, from hanging out with friends, to when I’m by myself, and believe me, there are moments when I want to do something, but then I’m reminded of this, and the next moment finds me forcing myself to step away from something I would really want to do, but cannot because said action or thing would go against this belief. And I can’t go against the ideal, because that would be thinking only in selfish terms and I cannot think selfishly because I was given a very important responsibility: A Life.

Ultimately, my final honor and responsibility, is the very life that I live. I’m trusted with this vessel of vast potential, and it’s up to me to make sure that at the end, it’s as good a vessel as possible. Not because I want it to be, but because God wants me to; without even asking me in some grand vision, I’ve found that I’m meant to not live on what I want, but on what I believe is morally right and just. The best way to repay God for all the times he’s saved this life is to return it to him with as much good works and faith as I can fill it with. And when I do return it, I’ll return it with a smile on my face, because of all of the things I will have seen, the smiles on the faces of the people I will have interacted with, the strength people will say I have given them, and all of the things people will say I have left them, when I imagine that God will have made me a witness to all these things, I can’t help but smile. I smile because I will have been useful, because I will be able to rest in peace, and because I know I will have finally earned my place in Heaven, simply because I was trusted with this one small thing.

I want to face the end of this Journey with the ability to say, “I have no regrets…”

“It is your turn to save the world”

I wrote this on a UNICEF Post-it at 0113 hours this morning, after my rosary, in the dark, right before I went to sleep.

Before I wrote this, I was in the middle of my rosary, thinking about my purpose. What I intend to do with all of the responsibilities and ‘powers’ of being a doctor, and how exactly I’m going to do it. I’ve always planned to become an asset for UNICEF, by donating as much Time, Energy, and Money as possible… Yet, I cannot see a plan forming between paying for Loans and other things, Saving money, and making regular activities for UNICEF, all while diving into helping others as much as I can via Giuseppe Moscatii, by inviting those who have nothing to pay with, into my own home. So then I remembered the KoC, and I wondered how they do charities, and would they be able to allow me to perform charities of my own, or at least help me in these manners. And as the rosary kept going, I remembered inspiring quotes from XKCD, a rather fascinating web comic, and one that resonated with me was, “We’re grown-ups, and it’s our turn to decide what that means.” Although the comic was written some time ago and was funny as a whole, those words stayed with me, and started to blend with those feelings of charity that were floating above my head.

And soon, I started to imagine myself in an interview, faced with the question of, “Why do you want to become a doctor?” Granted everyone wants to help people, but what makes YOU (or me, rather) so different? and why take the path of a doctor? You (Me) can help so many others through other means, like Fireman, Police, Nurse, etc. Why be a doctor?

Brutal questions, to say the least, but I started forming my answer…

… But something’s wrong… It’s broken up, bits and pieces… It’s… incomplete. This is what I have so far.

I want to become a doctor, because I want to be able to help people, not just in this hospital, but throughout the world… My desires to help others stem from my own background, when I was one of them, I was on the other side of this interaction, and because I still have that experience I can provide the best services to everyone… I’ve suffered the pain of loss, so I do not have grandeur dreams of being able to save everyone who crosses my path, yet I will try to help as many people as possible… Because I want to be someone who can be an example to all of the people, and with the authority of a doctor I can help people… It’s my turn now to decide how I am going to do this…

…And that’s all I got. That’s pretty discouraging, seeing that the fact that I’ve more than enough experiences to inspire me to pursue this to the bitter end, yet, my answer is still incomplete, I’m still missing something. And as I approach the end of the rosary, all these thoughts and reflections start blending together, and eventually, I came up with this:

IT IS YOUR
TURN TO
SAVE THE
WORLD

… ‘Save the world’? Heh, who am I to save anything? But that’s the problem, isn’t it? I’ve always cut myself too short. I have these desires, this heart that wants to help people, the experiences that help me form who I am, I have no dreams of prestige nor of wealth nor of infamy. I just want to help. I want to be a good man, I want to embody the song ‘Simple Man’ by Lynard Skynard. I want to see the world and help people along the way, I want this world to be a better place leaving it than coming into it.

I’ll write more about this next time. For now, I need to sleep.

The Forgotten

Nikola Tesla, inventor MANY things, including AC power and the Death ray, was overlooked by Edison and his invention of the light bulb, and his fraction of inventions that paled in comparison to Tesla’s. Upon reading more about the man, I’ve made it my goal to one day build my own Tesla Coil… If possible. It’s sad to see how often we over look someone who seemingly does SO much,  for someone else who has done so little. I wonder why that is…

The men and women behind the curtains, fighting the battles that the world will never see, saving it from dangers it never knew it had faced… This always makes a good story, like in the video game Tales of Vesperia, where you play an outlaw who leads a party to make the toughest decisions that saves countless lives, and through circumstance, your best friend, who’s a soldier, winds up taking the credit, despite his knowledge of your actions and sacrifice.

I remember being little, I’ve often told people that I would be one of those forgotten warriors, that I would never be the man people applauded and cheered, but I would be the man behind him, doing everything he could not do; in essence. succeeding where he would fail, reaching peaks that he would never attempt, facing opponents that he would never defeat. And I relished in that idea. I suppose I still do, because in my mind, I don’t want to become a doctor for the prestige, glory, and income that comes with it, I want to become a doctor because I want to help save lives and despite the fact that there are other ways to do this, I believe that this is the only route for me, personally, to take. To be the individual, worthy enough to hold someone’s life, literally and metaphorically in my hands.

I honestly think I can become this man. My only limitations are often the things outside my control, like my car breaking down several times, Mother becoming sick, and other such related events. But as a Catholic man, I am confident that everything happens for a reason, God has a plan to place me exactly where I need to be when I need to be there, I just need to make the effort into getting there. Yet, with my limitations comes knowledge, and wisdom to help me in the future. For example, thanks to my car breaking down, I can change anything on a car from it’s oil to it’s transmission module, which makes repairing my own car easier. Each event that seems to have pulled me back or hindered me in some fashion has helped me obtain experience that I would otherwise not have obtained. And it’s not just practical skills, they’ve also helped me learned patience, humility, to laugh at my own helplessness (which is truly a difficult thing to learn), to dust myself off after a defeat, determination, the values of kindness and compassion, and so on.

I know one question I will be asked is, “What makes you think you’re the One worthy of this?” And for such a long time, I have struggled with the answer, at least a proper response that is satisfactory for it to be my answer. I can’t simply say, “I just know I am.” that won’t do, that’ll just lead me to failure. So how can I properly explain this feeling inside? Not to mention that I must very clear in my answer, otherwise, I’ll end up tripping over my words and I will show signs of uncertainty…

I know that the answer lies within me. Somewhere within… Underneath the scars and the dreams, lie the answer to why I believe that I am the man who can hold life and death in his hands. I did a quick glance at a survey done by Kaplan that said that 49% of medical school applicants are in it for the money, that ‘wanting to make a difference’ and ‘the desire to help others’ are just plain, empty words. Will my words be just as empty? Will I fail to rise to the occasion and meet these penetrating questions without my courage, passion and strength? I should already have all the motivation I need in order to fashion a proper response, so why am I hesitating? What am I missing? Death? Life? Love? What more could it take to rid me of these doubts?!

… I suppose I’m not the only one with doubts, especially in this line of work. I have to do some internal searching and find the truth behind my motives, as deep and personal as they are, if they are asked of me, I will, no I must speak the truth. I’ve begun typing a list of everything that can possibly be my reasons for doing this, I will be sure to keep looking over it and reminding myself of the reasons why I’m in this. I know all of the reasons are within me, but knowing me, I know that I’ll only remember a few at a time and even less than that under strenuous circumstances.

I have all the strength I need to fight this fight, however I cannot allow myself to forget why I’m fighting.