Saturday, March 24, 2007

Soldier first and writer only second

I was with very good company last night enjoying my time out of the Academy for some well deserved break. I am now in Manila typing this entry and I just had to share some insights I had last night.

The friends that I was with last night where people I met during the press conference in 2006. We have become friends since then and so I find time when I am able to go out to meet up with them. These people are writers for their own school paper and like me we share the same passion for being able to express our ideas into words. We got into the discussion why I wasn't supposed to be going on break and I shared to them a thought that I haven't really discussed with anybody before.

At the height of my frustration over the trouble that I got myself into because of writing, I found comfort on the promise that I will come out of that experience a better person. If one would just browse through my entries in the early parts of January 2007. It was more of a combination of uncertainty and renewed hope despite my fear of the so many things that were happening. Althought I kept on crying to myself I also knew that it was part of the process that I had to go through. I started to think about the whole thing as a learning experience and took the effort to really appreciate everything that was happening to me. I thanked everything good that was coming out of it but all of it where part of a defense mechanism so that I will not go down into serious frustration. Once and for all, I bid my "writing career" goodbye with bitterness in my heart. But in the past weeks after that I have come to accept what has happened and has in fact understood what the whole thing taught me and I can just be thankful... I am sharing it now.

You see, I was in a situation where I was able to discover something that I really like to do. The reason that this blog exists is because I have found comfort in being able to express myself in words. Somehow, writing is a way to keep my soul alive. That is basically the reason why I enjoyed my being a writer in the Philippine Military Academy. I took it upon myself to learn the craft and be really good at it. Those efforts where not in vain since, modesty aside, I could say I was recognized to be a good writer by most of the people around me. Later did I know that my next lesson will attack that very part of me.

When you have come to a point where people recognize you to be good at something, you come to enjoy the attention that you would want to have more of it. In due time, I did not only aspire to write good articles, but I also wanted to beat everyone in the writing scheme. Although it was a good thing because I was constantly trying to improve myself, I was not able to check my heart in dealing with it. I became so attached to being a writer that I forgot some of the things that I should be focusing on. Not being named the editor in chief became the first major setback upon which I tried to seek redemption by proving to everyone again that they where wrong. I was not aware at the time that it was supposed to be a wake up call for me to reevealuate my priorities and redirect my purpose of being a cadet in the first place.

When I was reprimanded very badly while researching for an article that I was supposed to write, I fought it and argued that my credibility as a writer should have been given consideration. In my soul searching in trying to understand why these things happened I realized that I was being called to make a choice. It was a choice of being the best writer or being the best soldier -- meaning being a good follower to my commander. Yes, I can be a very good writer but the fact remains that the reason why I am at the Philippine Military Academy is because I am to become good SOLDIER. It is not a question fo whether or not I really did something wrong. At the point where I was to make a decision, will I be a writer or a soldier?

I came to the understanding that in the years that I have been given recognition as a writer, it raised my ego to a level that I forgot that I was to become a soldier -- not a writer. It was a question of following my superior and not of being a good writer. I realized that my being able to write in the magazine for three years and gained recognition while at it was enough bonus considering that everything in my existence as a cadet was directed towards being a soldier. It was a case of losing focus and having a painful wake up call. I have learned to let go of my angst on whether or not I was indeed a good writer but have decided to be a good soldier.

I still can not fathom how all of these realizations came into place but I am very confident that I am in the right place. It is true that I love writing, it is true that it sets my soul free but all of these things are just bonuses that were given to me out of the goodness of God, what remains true is that I should be a soldier first and a writer only second.

Thank you Lord for everything....


ian said...

I am a firm believer that the Lord works within the desires of our hearts. That you desire to be a soldier and a writer provides Him more than enough impetus to pave the way for you to flourish in these two "careers", maybe not at this time, maybe not simultaneously.

What a joy it would be to have a Palanca-winning soldier serving in our midst =)

kudos on the hard-earned stripe!

alex said...

I can not agree more but I believe it will come at the right time for now I will have to put being a soldier at the forefront, anyway its not like I can not be a writer... :)