a RUBY by any other name is still as sweet

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for Thou alone, Lord, makest me dwell in safety.” Psalms 4:8

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one of the saddest realities of life is dying.  it comes in different forms and circumstances.  sometimes slowly, but more often than not, just suddenly.  there was a time when i see death as a possibility that can happen only to a generation ahead of us.  a remote eventuality for the much younger generation.  as i stand in the middle, i found out this glaring truth- that we are never too young to die, nor are we too old to live.

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she was a childhood friend, a next door neighbor, a classmate, a kumare.  we were together since 4th grade until high school graduation. we went to school together, played the same games, ate the same foods, enjoyed the same music, even shared secrets. we practically grew up together. our daily routine together changed only when we went to the university.  though she had a love life way later than i did, she got married long before i did.  she chose to be a full time housewife to her husband and mother to 5 wonderful kids.  but our friendship stayed on, though we no longer see each other that often.  we knew in our hearts that our love for each other remains.  but death snatched her away.

they say she was too young to die.  yet if we believe that our lives are already pre-destined by our Creator even before birth, so does the fulfillment of our life’s purpose, no matter how much time we have.  how we accomplish that with the given time, the Lord gave us free will to decide.

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last week, we were all unprepared.  Roobee passed on so quickly.   we never had time to say goodbye.  we could only stop and look back at all that we had shared together, and just imagine how it would be like to grow old with her.  but no matter how briefly we had her, in God’s eyes she had already completed her purpose.  what most mortals see as Roobee’s unfinished business, is now the life’s purpose of  those whom she left behind.   it would make her happy to see all of us to realize our own regardless of how many years we still have to fulfill it.

roobee1her first name was Rubira.  her childhood nickname was Rubie.  some spell it as Ruby.  when she got back from Thailand, she preferred to spell it  R-O-O-B-E-E.  but no matter how we call her, she remains my sweet and dear friend (actually there’s just too many beautiful words to describe her) who is always  in my heart.  she had so much love to give, and she gave it all away.  those  of us who have known her, are just so lucky to have received a piece of that unselfish kind of love that inspires us to also give a part of ourselves.  so that when the time has come for us to go,  love would still remain and live on.

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what exactly happens during a heart attack?

Scheve, Tom.  “What exactly happens during a heart attack?.”  19 September 2008.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/what-happens-during-a-heart-attack.htm&gt;  22 April 2009.

It’s Monday morning. The traffic is thick. An overturned tractor-trailer is sprawled across four lanes of the h­ighway, and you’re late for your annual performance review with your boss. Great.

As the seconds tick by, the tightness in your chest grows, along with the line of cars getting off at your exit. You jam the window down and gulp in some fresh air, trying to breathe deeply. You feel anxious, light-headed. Is there a giant panda sitting on your chest?

You are having a heart attack.

Let’s pause right there. Instead of lecturing you about heart health in this article, we’re going to take you inside the body and tell you what happens during a heart attack.

What’s happening inside your heart right now isn’t so different from the craziness on the roads. You know that overturned tractor-trailer? You have one of your own parked in your coronary arteries, the same highways that wrap around your heart like a crown and supply blood to the different parts of the heart muscle. Only instead of a tractor-trailer, it’s a piece of plaque, a buildup of cholesterol and fatty material, lodged inside your coronary artery.

Next Up

A narrow lane of traffic (or blood) may have been squeezing by this obstruction for years, but now a road crew in the form of platelets has arrived to fix a pothole on the plaque. With these disk-shaped bodies in the way trying to clot, no blood can move past at all. Blood is backing up and peeling out in all directions trying to find alternate routes, and heart muscle may soon be dying on the other side of the accident scene. The longer it takes you to get to the hospital and get treatment, the more damage will occur.

What a mess, huh? Is the rest of your body helping out? Or are all those organs and tissues acting like morbid onlookers at an accident scene?

Blocked Arteries and the Five-Minute Process That Kills You

Like all muscles and tissues, your heart needs oxygen to live. A few minutes without that precious supply of bloodborne oxygen and your heart tissue begins to die. But here’s the surprising part: Often it’s not the lifetime of worsening traffic congestion in your arteries stemming from coronary heart disease (or atherosclerosis) that kills you, although CHD is an alarming condition in its own right. It’s that five-minute pothole patch that does you in.

The three steps often responsible for heart attacks
The three steps often responsible for heart attacks

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you nick your arm. Platelets in your bloodstream rush to the cut, clump together and harden. Soon, a bumpy scab appears from the platelets, plasma and fibrin that worked to keep you from bleeding to death (or spotting on your shirtsleeve).

The same process often hap­pens in­side the body during a heart attack. A piece of plaque, maybe 40 years in the making, gets knocked around by materials whizzing by in the bloodstream and ruptures. Fast-acting platelets arrive at the scene, pile on and form a clot. In minutes, it does what a lifetime of plaque and cholesterol didn’t: It blocks your artery, starving heart muscle of oxygen and causing tissue death. This is your heart attack.

The dire condition of your heart doesn’t go unnoticed by the rest of your body. Earning its name, the nervous system freaks out when it realizes what’s going on. It kicks the rest of your body into “fight or flight” mode. You begin sweating, your skin feels clammy and your heart rate increases. Your nervous system makes you feel nauseated and weak. You’re either having a heart attack or listening to the morning’s traffic report.

These side effects don’t seem very helpful, but they may save your sweaty life. Researchers have found that heart attack victims who sweat profusely are more likely to seek immediate treatment, and thus have a higher rate of survival than people who simply “glow” during their heart attacks .

In addition to backing up traffic in the blocked artery, your heart attack also is affecting nearby roads, leading you to feel pain in your jaw, arm or elsewhere. Why is this? The sensation of pain travels from the source (your heart) to your spinal cord. When these pain signals reach the spinal cord, many of them merge onto the same nerve pathway. So, even though your jaw is perfectly fine, your brain has interpreted part of the heart’s pain signal to be a call for help from the jaw. This is called referred pain.

Your heart attack backs up traffic in your lungs as well. Your ticker is too busy trying to save its own life to worry about effectively pumping blood to the rest of the body. Some of that fluid stagnates in your lungs, leaving you nearly breathless.

While you’re sweating, rubbing your aching arm and falling apart, your heart cells are gasping for oxygen. Receiving none, they die, and they’re not coming back. If your heart has stopped beating entirely, your brain cells will die off in about three to seven minutes. Oddly, bone­ and skin cells can survive for several days . Without medical assistance, you’ll eventually die from heart failure (not pumping enough blood to the rest of the body) or ventricular fibrillation (a deadly arrhythmia that causes your heart to stop beating).

If you made it to the hospital in time and your heart is still functioning, congratulations. Your heart begins healing almost immediately. The dead tissue, though, becomes scar tissue, and that part of the heart will never work as well again. From now on, traffic will always be slower, but it beats crawling inside the Great Orange Construction Barrel in the Sky.

Above article by Tom Scheve is re-posted in the hope to somehow save some lives by spreading the awareness that our hearts, no matter how kind, must not be taken for granted.

“May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones.”  1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

it began as a flicker

“You are the light of the world…your light must shine before man so that they may see the goodness in your acts and give praise to your Heavenly Father.”  Matthew 5:14-16

when I was kid, my mom had that habit to pick out what she’d seen as my really bad traits and to smack them right into angry-womanmy face like a tennis ball.  it hurt really, really bad.  other than that, she also made it a point to find someone to compare me to.  and that someone, in her eyes, would always be better. that hurt even more.  but i always thought it might just be her way to shake out from me what could have been my best.  maybe she was forced to do that out of  love.  and for my own good.  if her intentions were just that, maybe she got what she wanted because somehow i made some remarkable achievements in school.  even though she never really showed she was proud of me at all, i think she really was. 

as i ventured into the real world, the manifestations of my emotional bruises caused by those constant ‘put downs’ became more evident.  i grew timid and self-conscious. i  felt comfortable only with those very close to me. to sum it all, my self-esteem was low, low, low.   indeed, those factors hampered the natural course of my growth as a person.  instead, i tried to stay in my cocoon, and restrained myself from growing my wings and fly. 

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but time has a way of transforming me.  it gave me the opportunity to meet people who somehow served as mirrors from whom i saw myself in a different light.  it took  me to places where i felt needed and useful.  it allowed me to gather valuable  experiences which became seeds of my self-worth that started to grow and bloom.  most of all, time slowly but surely became witness to the grand plan that my Maker destined for me to fulfill.

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now that i am older,  i have come to realize that my birth was never an accident.  and for whatever reason i am here where i am now, the Lord meant it to be.  the same can be said for all.  we are all of great value, no matter what our circumstances in life.  unless we give ourselves that DEFINITION which is true to how the Lord perceive us, only then shall we find our life’s  MEANING.  on hindsight, it’s not for me to judge what my mom did.  whether it was good or bad.  but it did gave my metamorphosis a deeper meaning in more vivd colors at that.

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it is never too late to find our own star within us.  and it is never too hard either.  we just need to  focus our eyes on the Lord, and our own individual light would start to shine.  so that others may also see the beauty that He bestowed on each of us.

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the rope

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen, and yet  have believed. ”  John 20:29

there was one story that was emailed to me and had really struck me head on.  it was about a man who tried to climb aman-in-fog mountain all alone.  it was getting late when he got lost along his way.  since a storm was coming, there was darkness all around him.  no stars and no moonlight to guide him.  still he pressed on until he fell into the rocky side of the mountain.  he was entangled with the rope that he brought along, that was tied to his waist.  and he hanged there for dear life.  he was terrified with no help in sight.  and so, he remembered to pray hard enough that God answered him right away.  He told the man that if he wanted to be saved, he must cut the rope.  But the man did not follow God’s instruction.  The next day, he was found by rescuers frozen to death by the icy cold night.  He was only a few feet away from the ground and could have walked to the nearest shelter just a near distance from where he was found dead… if only he had just cut his rope.

the story led me to ask myself, if  i were this man, would i follow what God had told me to do? or would i be as afraid to let go? 

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for me, the want to climb a mountain on my own, represents pride.  the storm stands for the trials and difficulties  in my life.  the darkness represents  hopelessness.  getting lost is living without the Word of God in our life.  the rope is the attachment that keeps me from totally trusting in the Lord;  the rope that i keep on holding on to, with the belief  that it is the only way.  and it is not.  JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY.

the true test of our faith is when that Someone whom we trust to save us, does so  in a manner that is contrary to our expectations.  the Lord answers all our prayers for help.  sometimes He does so with urgency.  but sometimes He waits for the right moment.  and there are times that His answer is NO,  because these are the times when what we pray for would bring us only more harm than good.  so when He does not give in to what we pray for, we have to be thankful that He didn’t.  because it is always a blessing in disguise.

96ecbf43bc925864Jesus gave us an excellent example of what true and genuine trust is, when He died on the Cross.  He is God.  Jesus can save Himself, but He did not.  He followed the will of the Father because He trusted in His grand plan.  And that was to save mankind…to save us… to save YOU…  and ME!  and all because of His great love for us.

So the next time we are in a life or death situation; or when we are  in trouble and don’t know what to do gods-handnext;  when we are asked to cut our ropes again, let us always remember that Jesus died for us on that Cross.  Must not the Father who sacrificed His Son for us, be more than willing to just simply catch us when fall?

The distance of us hanging on to dear life to the safer ground below, depends on our faith to JUST LET IT GO…

and LET GOD.