This feeling of contagious positivity, have you felt it?
In a world filled with sad people, thinking and overthinking of the ways and means that things could go wrong, i.e. Murphy’s Law, what is left there to believe in? I have been a victim of the mental anguish of pessimism. I still am, for one does not easily escape Ivan’s Devil (read: The Brothers Karamazov), but I’m learning to try again and rekindle the fire of passionate optimism and rebelliousness that were brutally murdered in the face of the “real world.”
High School, I’ve formed a dream of becoming a doctor. My parents winced at the idea, knowing the financial void that they have to fill up to fulfill my foolish dream. I know, and I remembered, that the reason why I wanted to become one is because of my brother who suffered under the hands of an uncompassionate stethoscope. That doctor unkindly told my parents one time “Bakit niyo pa dinala sa ospital na to? Alam niyo namang mahal? Bakit hindi niyo na lang dinala sa Mandaluyong Medical para mas mura? Nanggaling pa kong St. Luke’s para lang mapuntahan ang anak niyo, tapos walang pambayad?”
I’d like to kick his balls had I been more knowledgeable about things during that time. But, alas, I was a kid, and I learnt of it only when I was already done with my first year in High School, and my brother had already been dead for a few months, his ashes now in an urn with solemn candles placed around it.
Now my brother is smiling at me. He never used to visit my dreams, but in the last one that I had, he was there, talking to me, smiling a smile that I haven’t seen for years. It’s as if to affirm the correctness of my decision to veer away from Graduate School and finally continue pursuing Medicine against all odds.
I have been a victim of dangerous practicality. The self-serving mindset that you are sacrificing your dreams for the greater good, for the betterment of those around you who shall be relieved of the responsibility of raising your education for another 4 or 5 years, for the betterment of those who will have to suffer your meager income as a doctor, the one thousand pesos a month allowance in internship, the building of a reputation, battling perhaps the most renowned names in medicine here in our country, and, of course, the rigors of specialization.
I killed my passion. My dream. I aimed only for a simple life. I asked God to just give me a peaceful family with a stable income so that I could finally fulfill my parents dream of seeing me happy and fit.
But, alas, after graduation as a Biology student, I was never happy.
Rationalization had sustained my comfort in the real world, but only for a while. I justified the paths that I’m choosing. I used to think that all of these are just necessary steps in order to fulfill my toned down “dream”. But the feeling of emptiness lingered. It is the feeling of purposelessness that will kill everyone even under a continuing heartbeat.
I’ve grown tired of criticism, to my image of having a constant aura of superiority because I made a “selfless” decision. I’m tired of the JM whose only use is to streamline projects because he has the ability to critique and make more critiques because he knows what “reality” is. I’m tired of him. I want to believe again.
And believe again I did.
With the help of the Jesuits, of two of my High School friends who upholds the ideal of Spark, of the events that have transpired, and of His influence over my life, I was reminded again of how to look at possibilities instead of follies. I scoured various medical schools for scholarships, and I found one school which stood out, where, as I look upon its scholarship forms, seemed to emit a fragrance of immense opportunities and possibilities. I am hyped up. I am excited.
As I look into Facebook, Fr. Xavier Olin, SJ posted a picture of the first batch of Medical Students graduating at Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH), I felt the urge, the fire, and the kick to join them, to be one of them, to become a doctor once again.
All of this is so irrational, so dependent on many things, more so the very difficulty of getting into the particular medschool which I now dream to become a part of is very real. But I will do it anyway. I will do it. I will apply to ASMPH for I know this is the right thing. Just like when my parents put me in an exclusive boys school, just like when they enrolled me at my pre-med course despite of our financial difficulties, pikit-mata kong haharapin ang mga pagsubok, financial considerations be damned again.
I want to become a doctor not anymore solely because of what that doctor above said to my parents when my little brother was terribly sick. I want to become a doctor to help those who are in need, to become his antithesis, and to prove that being a doctor is not merely a profession but more so a vocation. At the risk of sounding cliched, I want to help people through my stethoscope. I want to become a doctor because of Love, the same way that He Loved us even while nailed upon the cross.
People usually say that I can become contagiously happy or contagiously sad. Right now I hope that the contagiousness of my dream will spread. The spark inside of me will turn into a wildfire soon, and I will spread it to those who are willing to burn themselves anew to find the purpose that will help each and every one of us to overcome the perceived illusions of the “real world.” We shall be waltzing with a wildfire — the wildfire of our dreams.
For the first time since who-knows-when, I’m looking forward to med school. Soon.
by John MD