Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas gift: finally pulling it up

My eyes just opened at exactly six o'clock on my watch with nothing to do I went to the computer and had this typed up.

I'm sorry for not being able to update for more than two weeks. Many things have happened and frustration just came in one after the other. At last I'm done.

My last entry was a vow to pass my PFT. I thought that was simple. During that PFT, I made ten pull ups but the count was only six. The one who supervised me doing the exercise said that my chin did not clear the bar on the other four that I made. I went back to barracks that day a failure. I felt that I was cheated. I was already trying to set my mind on my fate when the Commandant gave a declaration during his speech in the CCAFP Christmas party the same day, "Those who failed are given one more week to pass the exam, they retake next week." That week became another test of humility. During that time, I had to go through another week of strengthening program under the watch of my classmate who was the Brigade PFT Officer. What tested me more in that experience was not my ability to perform the exercises she wanted us to do but to swallow my pride for my classmate and other cadets in that program and also to appreciate the effort of my classmate to help me pass the test and graduate with her in less than three months. At a time when I just hated everything that we were doing, I approached her and said: "Bok (its a term of endearment among classmates), hindi na ako natutuwa sa ginagawa natin, madalas napipikon na ako, pero alam ko na mahal na mahal mo ako at hindi mo ako hahayaang bumagsak kasi gusto mo sabay tayong grumaduate sa March. Pag medyo nakita mong masama na itsura ko, hayaan mo lang ako pero maniniwala ako sa'yo, pagtyatyagaan ko tong ginagawa natin." After that I did not speak to her anymore about any of the feelings I had over the exercises she was making us to do. In that one week, I actually appreciated my classmate in what I used to call her "pakialamera" attitude.

On the day of the retake, I really psyched myself up. I started to get nervous as I made my way to the pull up bar. Everything that has happened to me has come down to this one event and I thought that was enough. After the fifth count was given, the count did not move forward. The sixth was still counted as five until the eighth at which point I got really pissed of and just came down from the bar in defeat and disgust as to how the count was made. Its not that I am complaining, I really feel that something was wrong with the way it was done. The others also had the same observation as only four passed in the pull up event out of almost 20 who had the retake. I thought that was the end of it as we were already given another chance. When the Commandant talked to us after that, he gave us another hope. His final instruction was that we can not go on break until we pass that PFT. We can take it as much as we want, if we give up already then we go on break but we would have forfeited our cadetship. It was already December 22 and the feeling of wanting to go home became somewhat of a better choice than doing it one more time. But the highlight of that day was that of my classmate. His pull ups was basically 8 and 3/4. The one who counted him was actually contemplating on just counting the last one as a 9 and he wanted to push it for him to pass. Out of his desperation, thoughts like this were already coming out of his head and I can not blame him. We have been struggling for more than six months and it was an easy way out. When he told me his plan, I just have to remind him of the things that we value as a cadet. I shared to him something that I keep on telling myself every time I think of what he was thinking: Gragraduate ako dito kasi karapat dapat akong grumaduate hindi dahil dinaya ko (I will graduate here because I am worthy of that graduation and not because I cheated). As I told him that, I just have to shed a tear. The whole struggle was not anymore becoming a lesson of mere physical strength nor of humility, it was already a test of character. As we talked among ourselves moments after that close call, we consoled each other into saying that we will remember December 22 as the day that we stood on our Honor despite personal pressure.

I finally decided to make an attempt to celebrate Christmas at home. Early morning of December 24 I decided to take the exam and try to be home for Noche Buena. The frustration came early also as there was no one to supervise our test since everyone was apparently at home preparing for the midnight feast. I had to go et in touch with people but to no avail nothing came. At 12 noon, I was already contemplating on just spending Christmas inside my bunks by myself. Suddenly our names were called at the PA system, we are to take our PFT after all.

My chest was pounding as I started to do the first 5 pull ups. I never really managed to have a count more than 6 so when I heard seven, it was as if my body was on auto pilot and kept on pulling itself up that bar as the count increased. Finally, I heard it... the count was 9 and the cadets behind me where already jumping in celebration. I did it.

By 6 o'clock that night I was on a bus bound for Manila. at 11:30, my brother picked me up and I was home by midnight. I really am home for Christmas.

Looking at it now, the whole experience was indeed a journey of self realization. The events that unfolded did not go as I expected but as I said in my other entries regarding this, I will come out here a winner no matter what happens. To all the people who prayed for me, who cheered me on and the many others who believed that it can be done, thank you very much. To the God up above who continued to nurture me even amidst trying times, I am in awe at how He works. He gave me more than 9 pull ups, he gave me more faith and more grace. Thank you God and I bring you back all the glory.


ian said...

Maligayang Pasko, Alex!

What a great blessing to pass your PFT! Even more outstanding and inspiring is your persistent faith in the Lord. It is but right that we hold on to Him: His love for us is so enormous that He even gave us His Son.

Sisiw lang kay God yung chin pull-ups mo =]

Mabuhay ka, Alex! Enjoy the break!

bless said...

galing2! im happy for you. happy holidays! =)