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FRANK CHAVEZ
9/20/2013 4:24:05 PM

Between the gates of earth and the portals of eternity
By Francisco I. Chavez | 40 Views
The exceedingly lingering days and nights that followed my autologous stem cell transplant transported me almost interminably between the gates of earth and the portals of eternity. My basic blood counts were dangerously low, it was like my condition was deliberately provoking the hand of death. I had no sense of time. I lost track of days as they merged with night. My body was riveted in bed but my mind shuttled me in split seconds to places both familiar and unknown to me.

I didn’t know whether I was staying or leaving, awake or asleep, quietly praying or loudly but inaudibly bemoaning my blighted state, tucked in bed in absolute boredom or wishing a simple stroll along the corridor.

It was during these moments that I was captured by the power of stillness. I began to absorb and embrace the captivating warmth of silence. In silence, I found peace and the chance to revisit my inner self. In silence I felt God — His power, His mercy, His love — frozen, unmoving in time and space, activated only by the earnestness and fervency of prayers. God is always here, with us, now. He is not far-away and transcendental, He is immanent. We are the ones who stray as we are obfuscated by the wiles and guiles of earthly pursuits.

I felt the essence of my soul weighed down and emaciated by burdens and bondages. They have been with me all these years and have impaired the integrity of my spiritual being. They obstructed my clear thinking, obfuscated reasoning and logic, sponsored the dominance of emotional reactions, bred and nurtured arrogance, courted megalomia, raised and guarded misplaced pride and ferried me to a region away from God. I looked in on myself and saw that most of me have been colonized and captured by hatred, vengefulness, impatience, intolerance, anger, overweening pride, selfishness, impulsiveness, intemperance, obstinacy and insensitivity. They have taken their toll on me. It is now imperative that I unshackle myself from the bondage.

I have to be free again. I have to be a new man – corporally and spiritually. Since God has re-created me upon the infusion of new stem cells into my body, I have to emerge an entirely new being — body, mind and spirit. As I shifted from strength to weakness during those uncertain moments, I made a strong resolve to discard all the negative residence in my corporal and spiritual systems. I prayed and willed that these new stem cells be guided by the Holy Spirit to all the minute parts of my body to take control of my immune system and restore it to what it was upon my first birth, fortify it and protect it from recurrence. My mind was with it every step of the way, through my veinal network from head to toes — devastating, dissolving and destroying whatever residual cells there were that threaten me. And it was done. For spiritual cleansing, I discarded all the negative feelings and attitudes that weighed me down all these years. And I did it — feeling the lightness of my being thenceforth.

Now I have to rebuild my body and empower it like my mind. For 100 days following my stem cells infusion, I have to take extra precaution against any infection or complication. I have to be really careful in the food I can and shouldn’t eat, the people near me, sleeping hours and rest periods, stress and strain. These proscriptions constrain me to live life easy and take each day as it comes. I use to lead a life in the fast lane. Now, I have to slow down: anticipate dawn for the sun to fulfill its promise of a new day; watch the birds cavort in tree branches; savor the smell of newly-cut grass; feel the breeze caress the blades of grass; listen to the euphonious symphony of birds chirping as they herald the dawning of new life; become a child again in the company of grandchildren; watch buds blossom to full flowers; write a book, plant trees, fix busted light bulbs; share quality time with the family; savor the love and care poured my way by family members; appreciate little gestures of concern I used to take for granted before; and, generally, just while my time away. In the process, I learn the virtue of patience — for which I admittedly have a short supply of. It made me realize the uselessness of meeting deadlines and coping with the demands of time constraints. In the end, they mean nothing except to serve oneself. But that is not our raison d’etre in this life. It is to honor and love God and to serve others.

I have to strengthen myself physically and, to me, it is a slow but sure process. This requires eating the right food, avoiding enticing but deleterious food, getting enough sunshine and exercise, constant monitoring of blood counts, getting long sleeping hours, regularly consulting doctors, drinking the right juices, abundantly eating fish and vegetables, deflecting stress and strain, pursuing only things positive, sharing a lot of good time and laughter, waking up



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