First things first. Fever dream.
I dreamed I was in the (ugh) company of a whole bunch of other photographers, joining in as we all spotted a wedding just finish in Session Road. We all took our positions at what seemed to be the fork formed by Assumption and Session Road, waiting in the early evening as the bride made her way down from the bottom of the Cathedral steps, going down the sidewalk from that point.
Of course I felt some regret as I heard the whir of clicks coming from the shooters with the longer telephoto lenses, but as soon as they stopped those of us who has the standard range quickly ran into closer position (creating a ‘zoom’ of our own), and I was able to shoot the bride from the three-quarter/side angles. Wasn’t very happy with my shots, and then I was reminded to enjoy the moment before your shots become enjoyable.
There was a scene after this that I’m okay with forgetting. It’s about a post-discussion with some photographers I met, and how we all came into agreement regarding that one circle-jerk of photographers who only seem to praise each other while defending their other less impressive shots. Around this time I woke up.
This was all I had for last night. I was shifting in an out of sleep, there was the sweat, but for some reason my excitement to see everyone later on today had me having a hard time sleeping. That, and my heart was pounding for some reason. It wasn’t right, I needed to really control my breathing, I needed to calm down… To think I was acting up like this even after almost a week without caffeine.
Anyway I might as well keep typing here. We’ve come to the eighth day without typing – or at least posting – a thousand words, so I’m in the red, owing 8000 so far.
I thought I’d go ahead and plot out what I’ve been thinking in my head regarding that I wanted to say later today.
*Note To Self: Set up a second backup camera to record, even if it’s just the message.
For the most of January, I’ve been thinking and re-thinking about our global theme – or, the theme for this year, which was that 2022 is an Overwhelming Year. Simple.
It’s been really convenient as well, because our very own Pastor John was gracious enough to assist us with his own idea for themes for each quarter (or, for the next 3 quarters of the year, culminating at the end of the third quarter, which happens to be the main church anniversary, where another ‘umbrella’ theme would be unveiled), so we had a baseline to use for our own approaches each quarter. So in my mind, keeping with our theme that this would be an Overwhelming Year, we would be Overwhelmed by God’s (1) Practical Love, (2) Tactical Grace, and (3) Strategic Peace.
Now that I think about it, no matter what theme comes for the main Church anniversary, Q4 ought to be used for Rest, meaning (1) Settling Down, (2) Settling In, and (3) Plotting and Planning for the 2023.
I’ve needed to roll all of this out in the span of January, while at the same time taking on the challenge of rolling out Practical Love, which in my mind is simply how God’s love goes infinitely further than Him just saying ‘I love you’. So far I’ve been telling everyone – whether in face-to-face or (mostly) online services, that God’s Practical Love is Overwhelming in that it is (1) Necessary, (2) Personal, (3) Present, and (4) Sincere.
The problem here is I’ve been coming up with each of those 4 words one week at a time – when I think I should have already plotted it out – I should have plotted all this out Q4 of last year already.
It was nice to be doing recordings straight, but now that I think about it, it only keeps me lazy. Besides, if I really wanted to do recordings then I could have done 2 or even 3 a week, granted I had already plotted the weekly theme of each quarterly theme (which is another Note To Self).
It was around this time that I think I vented to God about my frustration regarding this cycle. I shouldn’t be grasping for straws every week. I shouldn’t be okay with feeling this way every week.
No, I wanted things to be different… And boy, were things different.
It’s around this time that I go ahead and talk about my ordeal starting last Sunday, January 30.
I’m not about to go back to the manuscript I made a couple of days ago, but here I will try to plot out the important points in the timeline.
1/30 Sunday Night – On my way home, stomach already feeling very queasy, tried to take baking soda to calm things down. Hot water, no go. Loosening the load, no go. Walked to a pharmacy, took Kremil-S, no go.
1/31 Monday Early Morning – Tried puking again, but the pain still persisted. At around this time I asked Mom if she could join me to the Emergency Room. Was feeling chills and chest/stomach pain.
Brought to Covid ER, then to regular ER, Doctor prescribed tummy meds and antacids. Was able to ‘rest’.
1/31 Monday – 2/1 Tuesday Night – The chest/stomach pain was managed, but now I was feeling such a headache. It was in the center of my brain. I thought I’d fight it off by resting but no change in position when lying down seemed to help me to relax. No matter how I tried to use ice to sort of ‘reach’ what felt like the ‘center’ of the pain, it felt like it would not subside.
2/2 Wednesday Morning – Woke up and saw my face was blotching, and noticed also that I was itching pretty bad. Saw rashes in my armpits and crotch. Thought this confirms closer to dengue, which also explains the fever.
Went to BGH with a tip to go to someone at ER, but was stopped at triage. Settled for the doctor there. She mentioned the ‘rashes’ I had weren’t of dengue, but more of an allergic reaction to something. Recommended blood test. Blood extracted.
Blood Test results: Blood thick, WBC count high (possible bacterial infection), Platelet count low-normal (possible Dengue). Prescribed painkillers, hydration salts, and a pill for the rashes.
Also, Swab test only because I said I had fever. She vaguely told me to come back the next day to have a blood test done for Dengue.
Slept way better.
2/3 Thursday Morning – Spent the day resting and sleeping even more. I decided this day to just wait for the swab test results before I made any other moves.
2/4 Friday Morning – Woke up with a text that I was Covid negative. Hooray. Went to BGH that afternoon to have a CBC/Dengue blood test done. Blood test results: Improved blood consistency, WBC count high-normal. Dengue negative, but platelet count low.
Nurse nephew tells me to get my blood tested somewhere else. I told him I’ll be taking papaya leaf juice instead, monitor myself over the weekend.
Around this time I was able to move around, even drive around, but I was still feeling feverish, and I was still feeling like my tummy was aching and bloated.
After the first shot of papaya leaf juice that evening, things started getting better.
Yesterday, I was a whole lot more active. I was doing a lot of rearranging, but I needed to do some rest in between. I was able to drive out to get more papaya leaves, and then again to try to shoot.
You can say I’m on my way back.
But why did I go through all this detail? Because friends, it’s all I could do. You’ll notice there were a lot of details at the start of the ordeal… well that’s because I was in enough pain that all I could do is observe.
You can twist the lyrics to Good Good Father to describe it – physical pain so undeniable I could hardly speak, pain so unexplainable I could hardly think.
My efforts in meditating, and even in meditating God’s Word were mostly fruitless, even difficult, save for a couple of verses which I’m sharing to all of us today:
I’ll share them with some context:
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.
Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being.’
(Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
While my head was bowed, reeling from everything else, seated Indian-style in the balcony trying to get some of the golden hour sun and the afternoon breeze, that’s what was going through my head, if not through my lips: In Christ I am made, and in Christ I am held together. In Christ I live and move and have my being.
When I wasn’t feeling any sort of relief happening, and when all I was hoping on was that things would get better if only I relax, the words that were coming out of me, barely at times, were: In Christ I am made, and in Christ I am held together. In Christ I live and move and have my being.
At this point I would like to pay my respects to those who have been in this awful world even a little longer than I have, because I could say, they are who they are – flawed or beloved as they are perceived – through all the pain they’ve endured.
I’ll tell you, now that I look back, and even as I am still recovering, I am thankful (1) because I’ve been blessed with a life and a mindset that has me in peace most of the time, and (2) because in these times when even my peace is shaken, and I am brought low by such great, unmanageable pain, everything else may be lost on me, but God’s love endures to see me through.
That’s what it is. God’s love endures.
It’s God’s love that endures through the great and ghastly times. It’s only God’s love that remains in the most uncertain of times. And in this February, where so much unnecessary focus is placed on our own perceptions and insistences of what love is, I believe it’s just fitting for us to know, that when all we think is love is burned, shaken, destroyed or otherwise rendered finite… We will see with much certainty and delight that it is the love of God that stands.
You can’t talk about love without talking about God.
You can’t talk about God without talking about love.
You can’t talk about God’s love without talking about Jesus Christ.
I suppose I could keep going down this path and share more (God’s love is not in competition)… But it seems this is all the time I have left.
I need to drive off and share all this, from the best of me, to my flock.