A man called Hope

Everyone can be a beacon of hope.

I’m being optimistic about 2019 when I say that.

I left 2018 with a challenging case of a referral of a young boy who had a very bad infection who developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). In layman’s terms, ARDS is a rapidly progressive disease that occurs in critically ill patients. Challenging is an understatement. For those in the medical field, coming to grips with a patient with ARDS is frustratingly painful for both the family and those who are caring for him. While several doctors worked through the holidays to save his life, one cannot undermine the power of prayers. His is a story of a miracle. The rest of us were simply instruments to the power of hope.

Hope is seeing light in spite of being surrounded by darkness.

They say that once you choose hope, anything is possible. Hope is not pretending that troubles don’t exist. It’s more on wishing that they won’t last forever. That hurts will be healed. Difficulties overcome. And we will all be led out of the darkness into sunlight.

We can all be a person of hope for everyone. Whatever profession we are in – government, health, law, education, and other jobs – we can be a beacon of joy for all. We don’t need to be on the front page advertising ourselves on all occasions. Being anonymous or helping others goes a long way in making this a better world.

Because as Maya Angelou puts it best, “hope and fear cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Invite one to stay“.

What are you willing to trade to see the sun rise one more time?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who was diagnosed to have stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Dealing with terminal illnesses take a toll on the social, economic, financial and emotional aspects of our lives. It affects not only people who are afflicted with it, but the family and closest friends as well. I guess the most unsettling part of my friend telling me  this was that he needed to know what was happening.  Why everything came so fast. Why it had to be him.  What are the treatment options? When was he going to die?

I sat there in silence, listening to him talk about the circumstances that led to him being diagnosed with the terminal illness.  He said that it all started as a tummy ache and took some medicines given out by the pharmacist in a local drug store.  But the pain never really went away.  He thought that his dieting was causing the dyspepsia and bloating and experienced some back pains a few months before this diagnosis.  He had not really taken these symptoms seriously.  After all, he was young, a frequent traveler, didn’t smoke and socially drank, a successful businessman with a beautiful family.  Too busy for anything, he sought my professional advice a few months later.  I told him that he needed to see a gastroenterologist.  The “tummy aches” and other symptoms needed a professional medical attention.  He was hesitant for a few weeks.  Busy, according to him.  Afraid, according to me.

What do you talk about when one comes face to face with death because of a terminal illness? How do you cope a rollercoaster of feelings? What do you talk about when one knows he/she is going to die?

I have no answer for these questions.  What I do know, however, is that it is difficult to face death alone. There is nothing in this world that will prepare us for the inevitable face-to-face meeting with death.  Whether it is like a thief in the night that takes someone you love suddenly, or it’s a lingering illness where suffering and pain make the journey towards dying something we look forward to – nothing prepares us to meet death.

Things we love, we will lose one day. Things we fear, we will face one day. God sometimes put us in the dark to prove He is the light. That’s why we should live life one day at a time.

I’ve often asked myself the question – what would we be willing to trade to see another sunrise or sunset? I searched my mind for a good reply but sadly found none.  Even if the journey is fraught with suffering and pain, many of us fight to have one last look at another day.

Life is a little jar of memories.

Fill it with people worth remembering.

Make it matter.


Hope is not pretending that problems don’t exist. It is the hope that they won’t last forever. That hurts will be healed. And difficulties overcome. That we will be led out of the darkness. And into the sunshine.

Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.

In a world where despair proliferates and various health, emotional and financial conditions bring us to the brink of depression, being hopeful is the only thing we can lean on.

I understand when people tell me that they’re “hopeless”. My mom was in tears the other night, depressed with her condition of being unable to suddenly be independent as she used to be. I guess it’s natural that as we age, there are certain things we’re unable to do any longer. The once independent woman who was the pillar of strength in the family is now dependent on us for almost everything. I told her that she has her family who loves and cares for her. And that’s a good thing. Because she must have done something good in her younger years for everyone to pour out that love she so unselfishly gave.

Hope comes from an inner place. A place where we draw new strength because people care. Because we are loved, we have second chances even at our worst days.

At times, we refuse to be too emotional or attached because any loss would be devastating. Yet our journeys are not about life not well spent. It’s about a life well lived. About how well we have treated the people on our way up and the same people we meet on our way down.

There is strength and resilience in hope. And happiness at the end of the tunnel.


Doubt. Fear. Loss.

They’re part of the baggages we carry in life. Oftentimes we pack too much in one suitcase that they become heavy burdens in our journey.

That’s why we need to depend on people who can make the travel much lighter. Friends and family who are true to you and who will help you – they matter.

Some of us go through situations so traumatic that the human mind is so scarred from recovering from it. We’re left incapacitated mentally, physically, and emotionally. While the human mind isn’t built to handle all these, we fight and persevere every single day. We literally survive life’s challenges.

But the greatest gift is having people who truly care for you, not because when you’re up there and they’re taking advantage of you, but because when you’re down for the count, they’re willing to help unpack your burden with you because of love.

Basil Valdez’s song entitled “Lift Up Your Hands”, has a chorus that resonates these “unpacking” moments.

Cast your burden upon me those who are heavily laden

Come to me all of you who are tired of carrying heavy loads

For the yoke I will give you easy and my burden is light

Come to me, and I will give you rest.

Chapter 3 – Stories of faith and hope

Life will always find us come full circle of our beginnings. Our journeys will always be a test of resilience and how we survive life’s biggest tests. After all, let’s put it this way, life is like a big exam. Every once in a while, there are tests given to find out how we are able to hurdle them and continue with the next challenges.

This month marks another chapter to what I’m writing for you. It’s two of the most inspiring and heart crunching words in the dictionary – FAITH and HOPE.

We all need a little healing in our lives. I get it when people say that some of the things that happen, happen for a reason.

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.”

Being in that dark place leaves a sick feeling and you can’t help question the universe why it’s happening to you. Whether it’s love betrayed or professional jealousy or family feuds, problems that crop up in our lives add to our stress of daily survival.

The best support group will always be true friends who are there for you when you’re at your worst.

So here’s the rub, whatever it is we’re all going through, faith and hope will always be our best companions. After all, no one else will look out for you except yourself. One day, you will look back at all these and write your stories, as I do mine.

Everyday will always be a new chapter. A new beginning. A fresh start. Because we all deserve some miracles in life.