Chronicles of Benia


The higher the temperature, the whiter the crucible gets.

As I sniffed my freshly sterilized laboratory gown, I knew I was up for another tiring day of chemical analysis. I don it and headed down to that big silent room of chemicals and equipment of where only running water and occasional ringing of the phone can be heard.I thought I have graduated to this kind of work when I assumed the review and release of raw materials job of a chemist. But when my company started to cut down manpower which started a year ago and management learned that I have the background and expertise of chemical testing, with a heavy heart I said “yes” to the request of the management for what they said that it was a temporary dual role for me. It was a painful “yes” because I have never wanted to go back to laboratory analysis simply because it’s physically exhausting.This day I silently said “Hello” to Loss on Ignition and Acid Insoluble Substances Tests. I scheduled these tests together as both use one equipment. Funny, but I can never dispel this observation that testing echoes real life. In real life, I tend to remember people on things they like to do and group them according to their likes in my heart and that’s how I scheduled work accordingly.I started everything in a manner just like in the normal secondary science project. I turned on the furnace, then, set the temperature at 610 degrees. I placed inside the room-temperature crucible. The crucible that I used is heavily stained with black specks, as a result of frequent use. It is supposed to be white as it is made of porcelain.As I opened the furnace, the glaring red heat of 610 degrees blew me away! I have encountered this kind of set-up before, but, back then it all seemed a regular and plain analysis to me. Not until today.My crucible mightly remained intact at 610º even after 2 hours of heating, without a crack and and undeniably, it has somehow regained it’s whiteness.The same crucible was re-heated at 825º in the same furnace. When I opened the furnace after an hour, the image was even glorious! Lo and behold, the light emitted from the wall of furnace can serve as the light of that dark box of fumehood. But my eyes got hooked on the image I saw in between the walls of furnace. That black little specks left from 610 degrees-heating were nowhere to be found. My crucible intact and whiter! It has regained it’s original color of white. Wow, here’s the light that melts the black specs and turned my powder to a white ash! What a physical and chemical transformation!The high intensity of heating made it even cleaner and whiter….finer….shiner and now looks new without it breaking!Chemical testing echoes real life.All those high points in my life were preceeded with pain. The heat of pain has been a part of my life and it refined me. The time of rejections made me know myself and cling to the Lord, that one day I would see an open door, too. The time of loss made me value life and the people around me. The time of sickness made me think that life is temporary and short and make the most out of it. There are times when the heart gets overused that it begins to gain black specs just like my crucible but His fire regained its original color. His fire restores life.My Master Chemist never promised an easy life but He promised He will take me through the pain. He was there in the fire but He was out for a refiner, cleaner and stronger me without my spirit breaking._________“I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but, courage! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.


When You Have No Other Choice But to Fight the Battle (The Princess Is Also A Lioness)



When You Have No Other Choice But To Fight The  Battle (Facing Life’s Challenges, First of the Series)

A cliche says “Choose your battle.” But, since, I believe, we are living in a place where the Lord allows free will, sometimes, it’s the battle that chooses us to be the opponent and there is no other way but to participate in the battle and fight like a pro.

This story is one of those situations where one didn’t have an option but to fight and it meant fighting for life.

It was six to seven years ago. I came to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to hear the medical results after I was confined for about a week in two different hospitals. I came alone and received the news alone. I am somehow prepared to be told for a surgery but not for a biopsy. Biopsy is serious, I know. By rapid injection with pain more than a bite of an insect, a sample of the tumor was collected. My doctor advised me to come back a week later to know whether the tumor recurrence is cancerous or not.

I hurriedly went out of the hospital as I have a service meeting with my co-servants in Pastoral Formation Office (PFO) in less than an hour.

” I will be late.”, was the line what I worried.

As I boarded the train, I ran through how much time I would be late in the appointment. Unbelievably calm, was I? Or I was just in denial?

As I entered into the property, I walked passed a swimming pool with a light and mini- man-made falls. I saw my shadow and stopped . I knew in my heart that I needed to stop even at least for awhile and let the medical result reached my ears. Because with the rate it was going, I felt like ” Did you hear what the doctor said?”

I walked again after thinking that question and reached the intended house in no time.

My co-servants in PFO are a married couple. They knew that I will be coming from my doctor and after hearing the initial findings, they did not proceed with the meeting and asked me more about it. They were even more concerned than I was, it seemed. Truth suddenly begun to sink-in to. me as I related the story of my medical history. Then, the wall of denial started to disintegrate and so was my calmness. Until, Sister Claira said that she had Cancer Stage 1 in her neck and had the lump removed and pronounced cancer – free. Then, after sometime, she had a baby. No wonder there was a baby cry monitor she was holding. Brother Allen, her husband just shared that he was lost when he heard the medical results about his wife. But in the moment of uncertainty, he had the courage to be still and heard the Lord told him ” I am the God of order.” That’s where the point he got his act together and decided to speak to his young children and I would not forget his line to his children which he shared to me, “I do not know what would happen to my life if we would lose your mom.” After hearing the Lord spoke to his heart, he knew what to do next.

I was listening intently at their stories of their journey on cancer but at the back of my head I realized that it is God’s way of making his presence felt at the early stage of my own battle that I need to face through this couple who had already won over the Cancer Battle as a family.

Who could ever orchestra that by the time I will be receiving the bad medical news, I would be talking to them right very after!! Only the Lord, the God author of life and order! That their presence in my life was in perfect timing when I needed a reassurance and they were around to remind me of the good news of the Lord and affirming me that I, too, can win over this battle because God who was with them is the same God with me now.

Suddenly, their baby cried as what we heard from the baby cry monitor, Sis Claira ran to their baby Ana and I was left alone. I stared at the baby cry monitor and said to myself, “I would be blessed to see Baby Ana grows and get old.” It was signifying long life for me.

“The Lord is with me in this battle. I am not alone.”

I went home braver. I was on for the fight of my one and only life.

And you guess it right, everytime baby Ana celebrates her birthday, I celebrate with her for my second life.

PS. I used an alternative name to protect the family.


Dear Lord, thank you for this life. It is a precious gift You have given to us. Since this life only happens once, please always remind us that You are with us. Your presence felt will put order to our lives at all times even when a storm or storms strike us.
Please make your presence felt amidst our lowliness, for without it, we are lost. Amen.

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