Temple

Although I believe in doing good as anonymously as possible when it comes to volunteering I am always inclined to ask someone to do it with me and I’ve been trying to understand why in pursuit of elucidating my intentions.

While trying to dissect this matter I began to imagine a modest sized jar. Somewhere maybe up in the sky or on some random shelf in a random city and it travels wherever it needs to go. Anyway, it is not extraordinary in shape or design really but it can store an infinite amount of golden specs without ever overflowing or expanding in size. Every genuine act of charity carried out by someone releases a singular spec which transcends and travels to the jar where they collect and collect and collect. And when the specs meet one another they dance around and over each other. They tumble and swell, they swell so bright in their own little temple. “What city are you from? Which act of charity created you? And the person, what was the most beautiful thing about them?” 

They speak so hurriedly they almost slur their words. Then after they’ve settled they would congregate in small groups and discuss how to ‘fall’ back to the world as charity. They know that even they were created to give back and that alone makes them delighted by their own creation. The golden specs live in the jar for those in need, anyone really, not just for the people that keep the jar full. this is why only the pure intentioned acts produce a golden spec. I’d like to believe that the people contributing to this jar do so without expecting anything in return so if ever they find out about the jar they would not demand a thing from it. They would not take away from a world so in need.

Whether the jar exists metaphorically or not what a waste it is to volunteer alone. The specs thrive on people, beautiful people, different people, new people. At the core of it I think I need to be reassured that people are taken care of even if through a metaphorical jar. What I really want to say is, “something good will come out of this if we give back to the world well. I don’t know when but something good will come out of it for you because so much good came to me once. And I really, really want this for you.”

An Honest Force

There remains a part of me, a very honest part telling me it’s going to be okay not because I lived through worse, no, even when things were at their worst there was still a force keeping me afloat. As if the world is fighting to keep me here, to keep me fighting, to save me from my own cowardliness. And reminding me that life is good when I didn’t have the faintest idea what that meant or looked like but it was honest. I felt that it was honest. Every day the world heals me a little bit more, in more ways than I can ask.

Shelter

The wind was so still I could hear the solemnness of the night 

And the pauses between each thought

The windows breathed

The hours sighed

And the castle stared at me in the dark

Oh how the castle stares

I studied myself in the mirror

under the bright bathroom lights 

with one hand tracing my skin

I watched as I watched myself

But the quiver between my ribs

an urgency to be spoken to

But it was me that spoke, “What am I doing to myself?”

It was me

that spoke

To Err

When feelings of guilt surface you begin by questioning the mistake, wishing you could retract time to ease the tension it created with your conscience. After some time that very sense of regret transforms into disappointment and so the torturous downward spiral begins. You no longer question the mistake itself when you realize the problem was beyond the mistake. The defect is rooted in the person who committed the act. The person, the problem, is you.

Prophecy

It’s usually around this time of night when music lingers like a physical entity. It wraps tightly around me as if to tell me something then unravels into thin air before I’m given a chance to listen.

Stains

Imagine if our bodies were able to physically react to our own self-hatred and toxicity the way our skin itches when it is irritated or stains when it is dirty. Imagine if it were noticeable to the extent in which we had to physically bathe to clear it but only after addressing it from within first. And for those of us who can’t or don’t want to, it would manifest onto our skin and bodies until we are able to. Imagine how many of us would wear longer sleeves to conceal what we’re too arrogant to correct.

Equilibrium

How discouraging it is to grow up only to realize the world isn’t nearly as structured and promising as you thought it would be. After learning right from wrong, I quickly learned that there are always exceptions and gray zones that people are not responsible for. And I believed if people knew better they would do better, those who recognized truth would surely put all, or at least most, personal inclinations aside and choose to act right, right? And if not then the earth itself would guide us or maybe correct our flaws because the world is responsible for maintaining equilibrium. “Surely, the earth would seek justice for itself”, I whispered under my breath.

Front Line: Week 5

April 24, 2020

In less than 24 hrs we had to pronounce, clean, and bag 50 bodies in our hospital alone. This is the highest number of deaths our hospital has had in a day due to COVID-19.


On shorter days I wait for my mom to finish work to go home together. There’s a secret quiet spot in the back of the hospital where I usually sit. Yesterday was the first day I couldn’t sit there because there were two giant trucks right outside being filled with bodies. 


For most people these numbers are just…numbers. We wish we could show you what goes on in our wards/in our heads but we can’t. We can’t show you how we watch dying patients gasp for air and moan in pain & feeling helpless because there’s very little we can do after we’ve tried everything. We can’t make you feel the immense guilt inside when we want to stay longer in a room just to properly feed someone who can’t feed themselves or rub a dying patient’s hand but we know the longer we stay in a room the higher the risk of getting exposed.


I think about when this is over and everyone will celebrate being able to go to restaurants and movies or not having to sneak out anymore. But for frontliners the only thing we will be celebrating will be the end of trauma. And while everyone goes back to their normal lives we will be remembering all the lives innocently lost to a virus we couldn’t contain because we were selfish. I try not to mourn over how unjust and cruel it is that so many lives were lost because a mother simply wanted to have dinner with her son, or because someone wanted to visit a parent in a nursing home and unknowingly infected nearly half the elderly and staff. 
Some days the parks and streets of Boston are full. People keep sneaking out and meeting when they shouldn’t be. Part of me wants to accept that this is the reality of mankind. This kind of selfishness and greed isn’t new. It is the same evil that allows for famine & poverty, for genocide and wars. But somehow despite it all I still believe in humanity because how can I not when I look at my heroic colleagues all over the world? And the selfless donations, gifts, and support our medical teams have received from local communities, neighbors, patients’ families, etc.? As our world seems to be crumbling there are those who are selflessly and tirelessly holding it together in solidarity with frontliners and that is enough to keep us going.