On Dignity: a Reflection as a Physician to the Prison Population

In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

I currently work as a physician at a prison. This is actually my second go-round at this: in the past, I got burnt out and ended up quitting. After quitting, I got another job right away, but, then, after a year, I felt a call to reapply for my old job at the prison. Why? Only God knows. 

The rehiring process turned out to be rather easy, which was curious: it’s usually a very tedious process to apply - one needs to be interviewed by several people, get state clearance and then be credentialed. This is when I realized that God must have guided me to be where I am supposed to be.

But just because the rehiring process was surprisingly easy, taking care of the prison population  remains very much a challenge. Some days, it feels very fulfilling, but some days it is so mind-boggling, unrewarding and thankless to the point that it ruins my whole day, and makes me feel like giving up.

Then, on a recent Sunday morning, I attended Sunday morning service at St. Matthew’s and was touched and moved by the sermon given by our priest, The Rev. Colin Mathewson. The sermon is about the greatest commandment, and loving your neighbor as yourself. Fr. Colin, who also serves at St. Luke’s, North Park, talked about their other church project: they opened a place where the homeless population can take showers. The first homeless person who availed of their shower said he felt “human” after months of not having a place to get a decent wash -- similar to having his dignity back. Fr. Colin mentioned giving back a person’s dignity is fulfilling one of our duties as Christians. 

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Witnessing Unexpected Joy & Sorrow One October Morning

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Butterfly, taken at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in National City

One morning, as I prepared for another fine gardening day, I set aside a few minutes to spend meditating with the divine in my small backyard. During that time, I observed in silence all that was going on around me: the flowers and small trees I had just watered appeared so refreshed. The hummingbirds were feasting at our bird feeders, each enjoying a different feeder all to themselves. 

 

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My Reflection for the Year That Was


"Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living."-Rachel Marie Martin

 

With everything that happened this year, it's hard not to reflect on where we were one year ago.

One year ago, there was no COVID-19. Life was on its fastest pace. Worldwide, mankind was on a roll: crowded malls, beaches, bars, casinos, gyms. Unlimited credit spending on luxury cars, expensive branded purses, worldwide travels and tours, shop till you drop, buffets, casinos. Not a lot of people went to church.

Suddenly, the world came into a stand still. The fear of the unknown, disease affecting many people, the lockdowns have been sustained and prolonged with no end in sight. Our invisible enemy, COVID, made us go back to basics. Some turn to God, some lost faith, some find their life back to believing in a supernatural being. Some remain clueless!

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What I Learned From Gardening

While pruning my small trees the other day, I thought the trees must feel the pain of the deep cuts I am inflicting them. But I also saw beauty with well-trimmed leaves and well-pruned branches. In time, the trees will heal and be more robust and more fruitful and beautiful! I thought it must be fun if I can apply this lesson to real life and make my life more beautiful too!

 

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