Lessons Learned

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, August 30, 2014


I THINK I’ve told you before. Whenever I write this column, I do so based on experiences and realizations that I had during the past six days leading to today. I have since forgotten how the decision to do so came about but most days, it has worked for me. So, the past week, I’ve had several “contenders” for today’s article. I would make mental notes and tentative paragraphs just to map out the flow of my article. All done mentally. Ugh. Sure, I have a good memory but the years have not been exactly kind to my brain cells--I forget more now, than ten years ago. I am pretty sure there was another thing that I had wanted to tell you about other than my “lessons learned,” but since I had written this title down, it is sadly, the only thing I can remember! Have you had that experience before? You said you’d remember something at no cost hence there is no need to write it down. No problem! And then voila, your memory fails you! If I had a thousand bucks for each time that happened to me, I would have a LOT of money!

It is one of those things when you know you should have known better and secretly promised yourself that you WOULD do better, right? And then sometime in the future you realize that it has happened all over again! Tsk. Why is it that you never learn?

Honestly speaking, I have often wondered why there are certain problems that seem to keep recurring throughout life..you know, same problem, only the people involved change from time to time. It has become so common that I actually expect it to happen! My life issues seem to have a recurring theme and they usually occur all too often and without any resolution. Sigh.

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But in time, we come to realize that there is always a reason for everything. Whether we like it or not, things that happen are meant to teach us something or show us that there are many ways to skin a cat (no matter how inappropriate or absolutely distressing it may seem to us). There are times when get exasperated that we just throw up our arms and just want to give up, only that we really cannot do that because what happens is beyond our control. We are thrown life punches that sometimes we cannot avoid or deflect; all we can do is accept the blows and learn to bend to it. At an opportune time, we experience an epiphany, a profound spiritual insight that reveals the answers to the problems that we have been seeking to resolve.

Personally, I have discovered that there are problems that keep happening over and over again for two reasons. The first would be because you have NOT learned the lesson yet. There must be a pattern in that recurring problem that you have yet to recognize in order to solve it. Most of the time you would discover this by the third or fourth time that it has recurred, only you deny that it is a pattern! You ignore it until such time it happens again you want to kick yourself for not being humble enough to accept that at some point, you are at fault and that the resolution of your problem would have come earlier if you just went ahead and accepted it in the first place! Life can be a bitch that it will force you to notice it and accept it as such and when you do, you will realize that you had to learn it the hard way to remember the lesson well and do what you can to never to repeat it again!

More importantly, these problems keep recurring probably because you are being prepared for something big that is about to happen. This, I realized the day I was diagnosed with cancer. It was an unsuspecting day and I was scheduled for a routine exam that ended with me facing the facts of my mortality. It was difficult to suddenly find yourself at the mercy of a disease like cancer, knowing for a fact that you can die from it. In the blur of things, I found myself running to St. Jude church, needing solace and shelter from the obvious shock of my health situation. I was entering the adoration chapel when I heard a voice tell me: “Well. this is why.”

And at that moment, I understood. I had been asking God why I had to deal with disheartening and depressing problems most of my life and that day, the answer had come to me. I was being prepared for a devastating experience and having gone through all those heartbreaking times through the years has somehow made me stronger and more appreciative of the positive things that have happened to me. Realizing this has allowed me to accept my condition and allowed me to get through the hardships of surgeries, chemotherapy sessions and complications that came with my condition. I would like to think that a big part of my positive outlook came from the fact that the tough times taught me to find the good in everything unpleasant that has happened to me in the past and be appreciative that the “good” does exist, no matter how infinitesimal it may be. You know, it too, will pass. Tough times don’t last but tough people do. All these clichés have not lasted this long to become uh, clichés, for nothing!

So you see, no matter what the lesson may be and what it wants to teach us, as long as we hold on and try to listen to what it wants to tell us, we are bound to benefit from it. I actually believe in the fact that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. The only thing we need to really to do is have faith and to hang on till the ups, downs, turns and tumblings of our roller coaster life decides to give us a time to breathe and smile.

Happy Sunday Everyone!! :)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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