Letting things be (and finding something to smile about)

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, April 26, 2014


EVERY week, I write at the last minute. I am usually like this because I usually write about matters that made the most impact to me during the first six days of the week. I try not to write about negative things too, because after all, it is Sunday and well, we all need a respite from the daily groans that we experience during working days. The last thing I would want to do was to remind everyone that tomorrow is Monday again and that after a short course of resting and relaxing, we will all be back to the grind. Errrrr…

I have changed my mind five times since I sat on this seat 15 minutes ago. A lot of things on my mind, I guess. It suddenly dawned on me that for the first time in a long time, I couldn’t come up with a unifying theme for my experiences this week. This process of reflection on the events of the week has been a practice of mine for about seven years. It began when I started chemotherapy for colon cancer. There were bad days and then there were worse days that you needed to find a morsel of goodness in every day to survive the challenges of cancer treatment.

I remember being physically spent from having the chemo meds running through my veins that I could not even lift my head. I remember trying to eat as normal as possible, only to realize that everything tasted like cardboard. I could not drink cold drinks nor touch cold things for a long time because my fingers had become so sensitive to the cold that when I touched ice, it felt like my fingers were burning. I could not stay out in the sun long nor go out as much as I could. The constant pricking, poking, and probing came often and between short intervals that it was starting to get dreadful. There were moments when you felt alone even when there were people in the room, the feeling desolation too palpable to dismiss. Hmp! I figured there just had to be a way to see myself through it. And so I learned to find happiness in the littlest of things and appreciated it. I thanked the Lord for it too.

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Whoever said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” must have been one really insightful person. What seems to be a smart-alecky bitter retort to the existence of unfortunate events in our lives actually has a grain (or more) of sweet truth in it!

We are often derailed from our usual paths by unexpected occurrences. Sometimes we are able to bounce back fast, like it never happened and yet there are those that take more time that we would ever care to spend, recovering from its unforeseen appearance. There is a right time to rage against it and a time to just let things be. Both ways, we are sure to gain something... valuable lessons that will help us along the way.

So for now, I shall let things be. I am accepting that the past week has left me without a unifying them and that my thoughts remain scattered--suspended in many pieces in my head without any way I could possibly lasso them into one coherent thought. I will have to grapple with the fact that this reality has led me to feel less able to share something substantial about life’s lessons and how it is really okay that things do not always work out the way we want them. Again I am bound to feel like an old record, repeatedly churning out the same type of boring music only this time I do so not because I feel that it is important for further emphasis, but because there is nothing else left to say! Sigh.

I will let it be so because sometimes, things should be taken as they are.. Each one of us has had that experience; and no matter how hard we try, nothing good or substantial happens to improve the situation and make us feel better. We just need to let go and save our energy for something else. Move on.

The thing is, there could be a moment in that surrender when you realize that there are things that need to be taken at face value. No explanation needed. It teaches us to roll with the punches so that in the future we are able to bounce back from blows that can strike us down without any form of defense effective against it. It teaches us patience and perseverance to just live through it with humility and a sense of respect for things that we cannot change in any way, at any cost.

In the mean time, we learn to look at other things, find beauty in all the ugliness that seems to enfold us and learn that there is always hope for those who believe that there is. I used to think that reasoning this way was a loser’s way of getting through a tough time--a lame excuse for failing at something others would have breezed through under heavier circumstances. But I was wrong.

Honestly, there is joy in everything. There is happiness all around us if we know where to look and how to appreciate what is given. Develop the habit of waking up believing that today will be awesome and soon you will find that it takes out the ‘bleeechh’ on a bleak day and ‘ugh’ on experiences that are ugly. Just try! Smile!!

Happy Sunday Everyone! :)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 27, 2014.

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