Probably the hardest question to ever be asked and be answered is: “Why?” People ask it all the time, and in some cases some wise men may get to the closest answer. But most times, silence follows. The more important thing that we ought to realize, though, is that the explanation is always pointless. Because we, as human beings, were born to be curious. It does not matter whether or not the answer one receives is relevant, just as long as someone talks after one asks.
In these times of manmade disasters and faith-challenging events, we question Fate when we are at our lowest moments. We question further when we feel that all hope is about to be lost and nobody seems to be passing our way. Why?
Looking back, we forget our gods and goddesses when we are happy. We fail to thank Fate and further fail in passing on the blessings. In this age of technological progress, we, as a people, have decided to be divided and to tread our own paths. We have become blinded by our own dreams, driven by our own greed, and have become blind to every call from our own brothers and sisters. Again, why?
What drives us now to seek the most selfish path? What spirit strengthens us to choose committing sins over virtue? The spirit of Christmas has not left the air. I do smell it every morning when I go to work and still, every night when I come home. Yet, speaking for myself, I have chosen to disregard its cry.
I am a medical intern in one of the public hospitals in Manila. It goes without saying that every day I see countless patients seeking treatment for every kind of physical (and mental) complaint—a simple headache, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, abdominal pain, weakness… and the list goes on. In the morning I start work with vigor, grateful that despite the tiring work, I am lucky enough to choose and to be in the field I want. However, that positive energy does not last. After seeing two or three patients, my smile would fade and I would become agitated and impatient. At times I would get a little annoyed at consultations, especially when patients argue with me and become as quick-tempered as I. I don’t apologize. I just finish my work and hope against hope to never encounter them again. Why do I do that?
At the beginning of a dream, we are like eager little kids filled with passion and with hope. We buy every rosary and every accessory we can get, and we attend every novena and visit every fortune teller in town. In short, we do everything just to get hold of our dream. Then when we achieve it, we start a cycle that may prove to be boring a few years later. That feeling affects us to the core, and it destroys that last ray of happiness in us. That feeling creeps through every relationship we have with other people, and we turn quick-tempered, disrespectful, easily annoyed, pessimistic, selfish and/or oblivious to the world.
That has happened to me, and it may very well be happening to (almost) all of us.
I am the daughter of parents who continue to support me and have been taking care of me without complaints. I am 25 years old, and because I have chosen a career that does not typically give one earnings after college, I am, as shameful as it may seem to admit, still financially dependent on my parents. Yet at most times, I go over the ledge and abuse their kindness. I, who, strictly speaking, should be at their mercy for shelter, food and money, have the arrogance to ask for money apart from my allowance. To add to my long list of ungratefulness, I would often use the additional money to shop for clothes and shoes I do not even need. Why have I become that selfish?
People easily warm up to others who show kindness and love. The comfort and support of parents are unconditional and yet not demanded of them, especially after one becomes strong enough to face the world on her own. That love that never flickers and never dies is at most times subject to abuse because offspring hold on to that very fact.
I am a believer in God and the Holy Trinity. For some, my life is a subject of envy. I have been gifted with parents who are most supportive and loving, a comfortable shelter I can always come home to, with good food and warm bed, academic credentials that can help me push through with the career I have chosen, friends and colleagues I can always approach, and still, countless blessings through the years. Yet as times passed I have forgotten to pray and talk to Him even with the simplest “Hello, God!” or “Thank You for this day.” I have become used to the belief that He will never leave and He will always be there for me, whether I ask Him or not. Just like the many times I have gotten accustomed to what is always there, I have failed to acknowledge God and my loved ones. The irony is, whenever I feel down and depressed, I always go running back to the very ones I take for granted.
There is no need now to ask why. Because from the very start, that question has been answered. It is all because of that two-letter word, “ME.” No need for pointing fingers, no need for excuses. If we love someone, we should not come to a point that we take them for granted. Yes, we should get used to the love we receive each day, but we should also get used to thanking them and being grateful for every blessing, big or small, that come our way.
Am I harboring an idealism, an optimism, bordering on foolishness? But I guess I am just trying to tell myself to stop questioning the things that are happening in my life. I remember that during my college days, whenever I came to the verge of failing or whenever I argued with my family or friends, I sang this song I learned in high school: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going/ And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing/ That’s how it is with God’s love/ Once you’ve experienced it/ You spread the love to everyone/ You want to pass it on.”
And surprisingly, a spark of hope is ignited in my heart.
Do not stop asking why, because who knows, the real answer may present itself in the future. At the same time, never ever forget, and always be grateful.
Have a happy new year!
Odessa Joy P. Taganas, 25, is a medical intern at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.