It was 3:32 am today when I woke up for our walking exercise with dear wife. Feeling a little empty and undecided, I went to the comfort room to relieve myself. My mind deliberated right away and decided to cancel my morning walking exercise. When I returned to our room, I saw my wife tidying the bed before going out for exercise. I said, “Dear, I feel I’m not going for the walking exercise today, how about you”?
If the wife will say otherwise, I’d change my mind but she expressed agreement thru her smile and I went back to bed and woke up later at 6:30 am.
I failed in my obligation to improve my fitness. My mind resisted exerting effort in favor of comfort and easy life, even compromising the planned activity of my dear Rose from waking up to sundown. I failed on two counts: personal and chain reactions to Rose and her activities.
Persistence and resistance are two words: one will pull you up, the other down.
The year was 1990 when I received a telegram message from Associate Commissioner Jorge V. Sarmiento to visit him at the Bureau of Immigration.
I did. A big room greeted me with several chairs and sofas to sit and be comfortable, but Atty. Jorge made me sit at one of the two chairs in front of his table. He requested for two soft drinks and native delicacies from the canteen.
Sir Jorge came to the point of his invitation by offering me job in his office. He told me to proceed to Mr. Sapalaran, the personnel manager and request for a time card. He wanted me to start that very day.
I politely begged for a few days to consider the offer. I needed to clear some matters I left in Virac, Catanduanes.
For two days in Virac, all I did was study the pros and cons of moving to Manila. My mind was resisting the idea of working and moving to Manila with my family. Resistance to change is a primordial instinct for survival. We are afraid of the unknown. To consider starting anew and what could happen, compared to what is now; settled, secured and comfortable.
Why not? I lived then in one of our three-door apartment in Gogon, Virac, where at present stands the BDO branch at VTC. I didn’t pay rent, electricity and water.
Another reason for resisting is the tempting privilege of having two kitchens. When food prepared by dear wife got too familiar, we took a short vacation to Buyo where we were assured of other ways of cooking food for free.
Persistence comes in two forms, the external and internal. Pestering you with persistent advices, on what to do from friends and loved ones is annoying. Still, I listened for I valued their counsel. Telling them to leave me alone is difficult, for it was done with the sincere desire to help me attain a better life.
Working in Manila had been in my consciousness years before this offer by Associate Commissioner Jorge V. Sarmiento. It started through the persistent effort of close friend Bo Rodulfo in convincing me to work in Manila. He saw something in me that I failed to see myself. On several occasions, Bo Rodulfo told me to swim in a bigger fishpond or swimming pool and not be afraid. He said, “If you can do it here, you can make it there. To measure your capability, you must mix it up in a bigger arena.”
Concerns for others made Bo Rodulfo admirable. I cannot let go of this opportunity without mentioning it while writing this episode. My resistance to Bo’s encouragement were grounded on my feeling of inadequacies, comfort and security. Is my ability good enough to meet the challenges of any job in Manila?
What broke my resistance was the follow-up words of my dear wife. Said she, “Life is fleeting and opportunities, too. Today it’s yours, tomorrow it’s somebody else. You are equipped by God with talent and skills to succeed. Trust God who made you in HIS image and there’s nothing you can’t do. Why be afraid to fail, when all of us fail one way or another in life? In order to learn, gain wisdom and prepared to claim victory next time. Rising after falling is sweeter like the breeze from the Buyo mountains. Try again if you failed. The hardest part is to fail without even trying.”
Simple, exalting words can make a big difference to a man, elevating his/her feeling of inadequacy to the higher plain of intellect, confidence and enthusiasm.
“Inspiring words articulated by friends and loved ones can convert resistance to action,” as Bishop Grace Lucero Siatong texted and implied too that it can alter belief in oneself.
These inspirational words given to me long time ago, I would like to share with you and you, reading this article. Let us possess a persisting attitude, a never surrender outlook in life, that we may live a meaningful life.
Giving conclusion to this story, I retired from the Bureau of Immigration full of happy memories. All my brothers and sisters gave me a passing grade. What now? I face the horizon waiting, working and expecting for the next exciting chapter in my storied life.
(This article is dedicated to former Commissioner Leandro I. Verceles, Atty. Jorge V Sarmiento and to our fellow Catandunganons working as immigration staff and immigration officers at the Bureau of Immigration who are giving honor to our beloved Catanduanes.)