Author’s Note: The name “Maria” is an alias for the person whose story I’m about to share. However, I started to think if it was right to give her that name, even as an alias. I love the name Maria, but I looked up some names and found Maribeth more appropriate. I hope you’ll understand why after reading the rest of this article. I won’t delve into much because of the personal intensity of Maribeth’s story. All names mentioned here are aliases, by the way.
This is going to be a lengthy one, so brace yourselves! 😉 Thank you for all the support!
It’s hard to tell a story of someone you know. The reason this article took so long to write was the weight it carried. Maribeth’s case is one that on the surface, would seem like a success story. But for those who are blessed to get to see a “hidden” side to her like the lead of a drama on TV, they see (and live with) the side of Maribeth that struggles to find her place.
Maribeth has a younger sister, Messina. Though for a greater part they are opposites, Messina loves her elder sister dearly. Growing up, she always looked up to the former who she saw like everybody else- tough, intelligent, generous, and (probably) one of the most diligent women knew. Messina grew up under the care of their mother, Margaret, who worked as a nurse-midwife abroad (another long story). Maribeth hadn’t. The reunification of the family members would prove just how much the gap between them had grown. Suddenly the diamond strength that Messina seemed to see enveloping Maribeth began to crack and the tears that her sister shed within, became clear to the her heart’s sight.
“The warrior is a child.” It’s a song but recalling the story, it serves as the most fitting description for Maribeth.
As children, we are all equals. Our hearts and minds yet to be scarred by the challenges of the world, hold one single desire- to find and live true happiness. We harbor no prejudice, no hate, no selfishness, no cynicism. When we dream, it’s because that dream inspires us to be a better person. And somehow when we say a better person, it always is in a manner where we share whatever we have to others. When we have someone that smiles with us as children, we are filled with glee. When we see that our little deeds brought out even a little amount of goodness in something or someone, we are filled again with that unselfish glee. Psychology, parenting and all other stuff out there proves this. (And if not, please do correct me 😀 )
Maribeth was like any other child. Though Messina had known her sister to just be a “shy lady” at first, she was aware of how that lady felt for her siblings and the rest of the family. Their mother would show Messina the letters her sister had sent the latter over the years, expressing excitement to meet “little Messina” after she was born and a whole lot of other words that expressed emotions she couldn’t remember seeing clearly in her sister. But what made the deepest impact to Messina is the letter where her sister told their mother about her dream…a promise, she once made.
“I’m going to be a very good doctor, so that I’d be able to help all those who are in need of what I can do- especially the poor! I promise you that ma,“ was what the young dreamer wrote more or less, but with all sincerity. She wasn’t even a small child anymore at that time!
And indeed with all her might, blood, tears and sweat- she strove. Medicine, mind you, is never easy no matter how much you try to reason your way out of it! Getting the license is probably the steepest mountain to climb in college, and improving your depth is even harder. Add on to the chaotic and treacherous jungle environment of the city, and it can be the deadliest course. Well it’s not surprising since after all, you are going to be handling lives!
Today, she is one of the those ranked a very few levels below the top position any doctor can get in her field. And she’s probably the youngest at that. But despite all the rods in the ladder that she’s managed to overcome, her family has yet to see her smiling gleefully at them whenever she got home (which nowadays are said to be very rare due to the “toxic cases” she handles). Her apartment…can be especially less than hygienic…except when Messina and the rest of the family that can visit, visits for a week or more. There was once when Messina overheard Maribeth on the phone talking to a colleague. The former heard the latter being frustrated with another co-worker who had caused her trouble. But what struck Messina about her sister’s condition is when the latter said, “Tell him (that doctor) not to give me any more problems. He doesn’t know what I’m going through…”
What was Maribeth going through? She had barely spoken to them that week, and even barely than the little amount she had before. The most conversation Messina could get was having small talk which would usually end at Margaret saying that she had already eaten her dinner outside after coming home very late at night. Messina didn’t know how to approach her after that. She didn’t know what to say so that she could at least be there to listen to what had bothered her sister so much.
Margaret had once voiced her suggestion to Maribeth for her to move back to their hometown which was a “lesser city” so that she could set-up her own clinic. It was reasonable since her kind of services was really needed back home. But Maribeth refused. It wouldn’t work out for her she said, noting the level of practice back home and the scarcity of proper equipment. Besides the fact that the level of income was substantially lower, she voiced out that she might be specializing in another field again. Her relatives would just nod in defeat, wondering when will be the time that they’d see her find her place and be at peace.
“Sometimes, I want to show her all the letters she had written, and ask about that promise. ‘Cause I haven’t seen it fulfilled in any way,” Margaret told the younger sibling once.
Messina would scan the books her sister had piled up but barely, if not hadn’t, read. The love for reading was probably one of the few common things she shared with her sister. Messina looked at each book, hoping to see what interested her sister. She noticed that besides being all about Maribeth’s field in medicine- may they be biographies, fiction, etc.- they shared varied but very connected topics: empowerment, control over one’s life, how to manage oneself, and how to communicate. A book or two, might have probably been for enhancing her holistically at work but having almost the entire bookshelf filled with those type of books kind of spoke to Messina in volumes. Especially the last type, since Messina knew her sister to had been well-trained in that field in the past years. Was her sister still not able to find her place? Was she really not as whole as she tried to place herself to be?
“Is this the product of all the hardwork? Is the result of trying to fight for a dream? In our world today, with all it’s precepts of success, what is a dream’s true worth? Where has all the care that we had once as a child gone? ” I kept asking myself, as I recalled the story.
I find myself close to Maribeth’s situation. With writing a passion embedded in me, I have managed to channel that due-to-higher-priorites-curbed energy in this blog. But I’m always faced with what Maribeth probably faced as she journeyed into her profession only, mine being business-related.
Normally most of us start to “realize” in high school, that it’s either “do or suffer” in the “real world” that’s beyond the confines of our homes and the “magic of being young”.
“You can’t be idealistic in the real world,” they say, “You have to be practical. Just go with what’s in the flow if you don’t want to fall into the gutter.”
And so, we have the corruption that never seems to stop growing. And of all the races on earth, I believe it’s the human race who knows the most what corruption can ever bring. So that led me to respond in my head:
NO. Ideals can’t just be worthless. Values, morals- they matter now that it ever had been. Things can change for the better is an idea that we all just need to practice.
If only we could just remember that single dream we have as children…
If we could just look to the children of this generation, to our younger loved ones, to those that have a promise to be born (by God’s grace)…
If we could just remember the better of us that shouldn’t have been outgrown of in the first place..
I believe if we can learn from our past, we can make the right decisions in our present, and thus build a brighter future, full of hope.
It is in realizing what our shared roots were intended for when we were placed on earth, that we can realize what and how we could grow and live into.
(to be continued)