Christmas experience-A A +A
Monday, December 31, 2012
I JUST got back home after being discharged late this afternoon (Dec. 29) from the Cebu Doctors Hospital where I was confined since Christmas eve (Dec. 24) for some alarmingly low and irregular heartbeats.
This caused me a momentary light-headedness and a fainting sensation while attending a Christmas eve holy mass at the San Pedro Calungsod Shrine Church at the Cebu Archbishop’s Residence compound.
Early morning that day, Dec. 24, I attended the 5 a.m. misa de gallo. Then, I distributed some foodstuffs among sidewalk beggars and street children under the heat of the sun until the afternoon.
Possibly, the activity was too much for my senior citizen body. But I just felt like doing it in the spirit of the yuletide season--perhaps as a Christian obligation or as some remaining inertia of my previous civic affiliations as a Rotarian with a Lion's spirit.
Or perhaps, I was doing it for some selfish reason--I felt good doing it.
Just like a politician, also called euphemistically a public servant, who almost always has two reasons: the good and the real. The good reason is public service, but the real reason is self-service for the honor, for the power and/or even for the money.
I used to pray to God to harden my heart so that I could bear to witness the miseries of so many poor people around.
Karon ako na hinuon ang tabangunon. Ni-action man hinuon og gahi ang akong kasingkasing. That prayer might have slowed down my heart beats. Now, I ask God to soften my heart for the poor.
I am always reminded what Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was reported to have said: "An act of mercy to a needy is more pleasing to God than a thousand heads bowed in prayer or a million hands raised to the heavens."
I was scheduled to undergo a heart pacemaker surgery on Christmas day, but with the help of the Good Lord and fervent prayers of family and friends, the operation did not push through because all the lab tests showed that it was not necessary.
And so, instead of getting a heart pacemaker, I was advised instead to be a peacemaker. For, indeed, peace is good for the heart and for the world.
On hindsight, I think that the fleeting episode of dizziness I experienced during the Christmas eve holy mass was a wake-up call for me.
That brought me to sleep on a hospital bed and to spend my noche buena at the emergency room of the hospital where I was only allowed to drink water at the strike of media de noche and then at the cardiovascular unit on Christmas Day itself where I was the sole and only patient confined.
Alone, but not lonely (what, with the pretty nurses around!), I had more time to reflect on and find meaning from this unexpected incident.
Perhaps, I had overworked myself or over-occupied my heart, confident that my heart has four chambers and therefore may be able to tackle four agonies or four ecstasies or even accommodate four occupants at one time. Upon serious reflection, however, I
have come to realize that only one is enough.
What a Christmas Day experience!--Amay P. Ong Vaño, Cebu City firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 01, 2013.