Faith, Love, Time, and Dr. Lazaro by Gregorio C. Brillantes is the second short story I have read that is written by the author. Its elements indeed contain faith, love, and time, subjects that the main character, Dr. Lazaro, in his advanced age, always deal with in his quiet corners made for introspection. He is a small town doctor whom the villagers rely on to treat their physical miseries, including babies dying bluish with tetanus. The story is set in the old Philippines at a time when medicines and vaccines are difficult to acquire, especially in the rural areas.
Surrounding Lazaro, the systematic and skilled doctor, is an undeveloped landscape where residents turn to religion first before medicine to comfort anyone at the start to the peak of his illness. When the doctor is called in to treat a sick person, he is sometimes called too late and, consequently, he sometimes fails to diagnose and treat him on time. This frustrates Lazaro but he is powerless to fight the strong religious faith that cloaked his patients. Despite this, his encounters with the people often leaves him, this methodological doctor, mesmerized at the capacity of humans to love and to forgive in the midst of death.
Reading this short story made me realize now why Brillantes is named a “Catholic writer.” The elements of this particular story throbs with religiosity and introspection. The first short story I have read by Brillantes is The Distance to Andromeda. These two stories are among those found in his 1960 collection titled The Distance to Andromeda and Other Short Stories. I borrowed a copy from my school library.
Image: B. A. (2018, September 17). [Greent Trees and House]. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-trees-and-house-1657971/