WARNING: Looking at my past postings, I seem to have a predisposition for writing long posts, sometimes meandering. Perhaps this is destined to be such a post. I have a lot of things off my mind to write, and I have no patience writing multiple posts that rotate around one thought.
I just came back from attending the first session in Bioethics Forum 2006 about prenatal testing. In it the speakers highlighted the various types of conditions that can be detected prenatally (some of which are treatable & are not—contrary to popular beliefs—going to make the baby and its family suffer for the rest of their lives), which unfortunately have resulted in the parent "opting to terminate the pregnancy" (read: abortion). Three doctors were the speakers, one of them from the Catholic Medical Guild (of Singapore), and the theme of the evening seemed to be that moral relativism is sweeping the society and that these principled members of the health professions are doing their best to uphold their positions by practising "conscientious objection" against procedures they find morally unacceptable.
But is it enough?
I asked that question to them, sounding a little exasperated, but I think towards myself. I have come to a point in my life—a juncture really—where I must decide what to do with my life. My earlier crossroad had passed, I had chosen to stay in this path, but the New Year brought fresh revelations, fresh signs that stirred my restlessness.
Starting up a company has been a challenge, and while it hasn't been particularly rewarding, it was good while we were 'independent'. There was a recent development and we partnered a company. While the people have been professional, I heard nothing but 'money, money' and 'profit' and 'branding' and 'marketing'. Suddenly I cannot remember why I am doing what I am doing now.
Perhaps some of you who's read this far down might identify this situation as a typical midlife crisis. I think I've just plain become disillusioned with the kind of work and people I mingle with. There's no longer any value we're trying to create. And in the middle of this, a message came...
And the saints are here...
It started innocently: a blog I read linked to Saints of the Year project and I thought, how appropriate, asking the saints to pick us & pray for us! (Moneybags, many thanks!) Moneybags' friend helped me to 'pick out' (rather, the saints picked me out) St. Luke & Sts. Cosmas and Damian! Well, what do these saints have in common, and how do they relate to my life? Well, it seems like they are patron saints of physicians, surgeons & pharmacists. Oh well... I thought inwardly, before I remember the person that I was many years ago, before going to university here made a cynic out of me...
The long road
Before entering university, I had plans to study computer engineering for undergrad and then go to medical school, hopefully applying my engineering backgrounds into medically useful R&D and help millions of suffering people... Yet long before graduation day, I was put off by the kind of life that my university made me go through. The saints & my recent encounters with bioethics issues have roused me from the living dead for I had begun to despair in my current state of life as I lapsed into a hateful routine at work. This latest 'reminder' of my old dream, if it were truly the message that God is telling me, is nothing less than an epiphany.
"There's no such thing as an ordinary life"
Fr JJ Fenelon in his homily last Sunday said that for a Christian, there's no such thing as an ordinary life because all of us are called to extraordinary life. The first reading last Sunday told the story of Samuel who was called three times by the Lord before he realized who He is ("Speak Lord, your servant is listening") and "let none of his words fall to the ground". And just like Jesus' first disciples had to change, leave their old lives—old selves behind, a life after Christ's epiphany demands a change.
"What do you seek?"
Jesus asked this question to the first disciples, and they in turn asked Him where he lived. Again Fr JJ mentioned that there is something to be read from the question and the response. The disciples knew not how to explain the longing, the restlessness in their heart, the desire to be with God, so their response indicated that they'd go where Jesus goes. I felt I could identify with Andrew (and John, son of Zebedee) at that moment, because what I wanted in my heart wasn't what I'm doing in my life currently. It is time to listen to the Word and change.
I am afraid, for I'm leaving behind an old familiar path for the unknown. But having seen what I've seen, experienced what I've gone through, I cannot stay. Saints, pray for me, for only Christ can give a life worth living.