Monday, August 5, 2013

Trying not to extend myself in extenuating circumstances

“This is a life-changing experience”.  How many people you heard use this phrase?  I’ve heard people on game shows, beauty pageants, and talent quests use this in some predictable throwaway fashion.  Well, I suppose if one bases one’s measurement of ‘life-changing’ on criteria like one’s financial status, public popularity, and perhaps how many times one appears on the covers of People Magazine, then I wouldn’t argue that such an experience had changed one’s life. 

While I do not judge those who use such phrases loosely, I must say that what I have been through in the past two weeks have indeed for me, been truly life-changing.  Physically right now, my body is in a post-trauma state, as the most basic element in me, my stem cells, have been transplanted by a generous donor’s gift of new life – his stem cells.  My Blood type is slowly changing to become from what it was, to that of the donor’s blood type.  Yes that is possible.  Meanwhile, there is a whole host of pains and aches in other areas, namely the mucosa lining of various parts of the body.  The doctors have told me to patiently wait this out, the most arduous part of the healing process, where the donor’s stem cells begin to engraft onto my marrow, and starts of manufacture the necessary healthy white cells on its on.  This will be a sign that the worst is over, and that I can look forward to better days ahead.  But those days are still not here, and I believe that I should not write what pain has taught be before the lesson is over.

Where have I been to is difficult to describe, and the wordsmith in me fails to find words that have any sense of accuracy.  Hell would be an exaggeration, but I’d say it was very close on quite a few occasions.  I have still to ask the proverbial ‘why’ and I still see no need to.  However, I still do very often find myself asking the ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions – how can I make this suffering meaningful for others and myself?  Or what is it in suffering that makes something of a redemptive value, and something else as having very little value?  These will all have a more lasting impact on me and my readers once I do turn that corner and see a little more light at the end of the tunnel, which the doctors tell me should in within the week.

To this end, I still need to encapsulate myself in stillness and learn from silence, the great teacher of life.


  1. Praise The Lord Father Luke. It is such a joy to see your post this morning. Thank you for sharing your experience and writing despite all your pains and discomforts. And letting us know how you are. May God continue to heal you and be with you during your recovery. Praying for you and your donor to recover well. God loves you.

  2. It is such a great joy to know that God is with you and so you are able to reach out to us to inspire us.May God's Love enshroud you and heal you sooner.We Love you Fr Luke.:)

  3. Dear Fr Luke
    Mother Theresa said Jesus chooses those He loves to share in His Passion. Jesus loves you very much n this redemptive suffering is to help Him shoulder the sins of the world. He has sent you angels to see you through.
    Praying for you!
    Anna Chia

  4. PTL, Fr Luke! It's great to see your post finally. Thank you for this "Life-changing Experience" post, indeed, through the sharing of your condition, you have brought us even closer to our faith and to God. As I lift up your name in prayers, I am hopeful that Our God will heal you.

    God loves you!

  5. Happy to see your post, Fr! While this painful recovery journey is one in which you walk alone with God, know that all our prayers are for you and with you, propping you up. Speedy recuperation, Fr Luke.


  6. “....... those days are still not here, and I believe that I should not write what pain has taught me before the lesson is over....”
    - this is ever so “vintage Fr Luke” – written with that forthrightness of spirit and gumption despite the odds- that I couldn’t help but be delighted! It also reminded me of an anecdote about the purpose of pain, which I would like to share here:-

    “ In the apple-growing state of Maine in America, I was visiting a farmer friend and saw an apple tree so loaded down with fruit that the branches had to be propped up to keep them from breaking under the weight of apples. When I remarked about the fruitfulness of the tree, my friend said to me, ‘Go over and look at that tree’s trunk down near the bottom.’

    There I saw that the tree had been badly wounded by a big gash across its side. The farmer explained, ‘That is something we have learned about apple trees. When the growing tree tends to run to wood and leaves and not to fruit, we stop it by wounding it, by cutting into its bark. And we don’t know why, but almost always the result is that the tree turns its energies to producing fruit.’

    Could that be a parable for some of us human apple trees in the human orchard?”

    ( from “500 short stories” )

    PS (I tried this “pain method” with mango trees too and with reasonably splendid results!)

    God bless you, Fr.


  7. All of us are PRAYING hard for you, Fr Luke.

  8. Thanks Fr Luke for all your inspiring posts despite undergoing tremendous suffering! Keep your spirits up as we are all behind you with our prayers! You can do it and you will become a stronger you in the process!

  9. Dear Fr Luke...I am speechless as I read your post, trying to picture the pain, agony and discomfort which no one, unless they have been through this same procedure, can even begin to imagine. Your strong faith lets you know there is a reason and purpose as you wait patiently for that little light... and all I can do is pray for that light to come sooner.
    One thing I am sure is that your blog is already touching and inspiring so many of us, preparing us to stay strong should we also be tested....
    Holy Mary Mother of God please be a source of comfort and intercede for Fr Luke

  10. O Praise the Lord - Glad that u are able to keep us up-dated on your progress. Pls take care and speedy recovery Fr Luke!


  11. Dear Fr Luke,
    Be strong. I have been keeping you in my prayer.


  12. So glad to learn that u hv started blogging again when doing our bible study on St James letter. While it is real hard for us to know the actual pain u r gg thru, we continue to ask the Lord to watch over you and to b with u on this painful journey and that the Lord shows you His plan for you. We pray that you are able to share yr pain and sufferings with that of our Lord's and offer it all up as redemptive suffering for others. Good night Fr Luke and we pray that u abLW to rest well and b on the road to recovery,God willing! ....
    Paul, Lauren n Luke!

  13. I'm glad to read your post, Fr. Luke! I'm praying for you and will join you in prayers for your stem cell donor. How amazing. God bless you.


  14. Dear Fr Luke,

    While saying a prayer especially for you this morning, at the back of my bookmark reads this, "Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7. This is for you. And you only. Amen.


  15. Dear Father Luke,
    Glad to know you are going through the transplant process. Pain would be ocer soon, just follow the gaggle schedle. As this is what other transplant patients advised me.
    Soon this would be your unique unforgettable memory.. Await for your good news of engravment of the stem cells

    Katherine's sister Suven

  16. Dear Father Luke

    Thank God for answering my prayers for so glad that though what you are going through is incomplete i feel that the Good Lord will heal you in time so that you will take care of his lost sheep and one of them is me. Sometimes in my life i do wonder why i am where i am in a lonely rural area where the only friends i communicate with (besides my husband) is with nature, blue skies, stars, birds and bees yes bees.......... and often i dun understand why GOD who created me and knows me have put me in this place or situation....while reading your blog and finding inspiration in your words and helping me through, and also what you are going through, i am always very thankful to GOD for all the many blessings he has showered upon me regardless of times that i have been angry with him (which doesn't last long) i guess it's just the loneliness of the surrounding area that i am in but what else can i do but ask my MAKER to have mercy on me and help me move forward. With that all said you are always in my prayers and will continue to pray for your speedy recovery and hopefully when i am back in Singapore i can listen to your awesome homily. Take care my dear Father Luke and God is always with you.

  17. Dear father Luke, am so glad to see that you are able to write something, was praying and waiting for the news of you, whatever you are going through, Jesus had been there too, and I can see He is holding your hand, He would never want to let go because you are His beloved, Trust me, He knows how much we needed you too. Will ke ep praying for you ane thank God for His great love for us


    Only in love can I find you, my God.

    In love the gates of my soul spring open,
    allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom
    and forget my own petty self.

    In love my whole being streams forth
    out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion,
    which makes me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness.

    In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you,
    wanting never more to return,
    but to lose themselves completely in you,
    since by your love you are the inmost centre of my heart,
    closer to me than I am to myself.

    But when I love you,
    when I manage to break out of the narrow circle of self
    and leave behind the restless agony of unanswered questions,
    when my blinded eyes no longer look merely from afar
    and from the outside upon your unapproachable brightness,
    and much more when you yourself, O Incomprehensible One,
    have become through love the inmost centre of my life,
    then I can bury myself entirely in you, O mysterious God,
    and with myself all my questions."

    - Karl Rahner S.J.

    Much love,