Saturday, November 14, 2009

Strength Training

So yes, this is the promised post. And although I had a lot of time to think of what to write, I only got a proper idea about an hour ago while cleaning my room. But hey, Archimedes got his epiphany in the bath (Eureka! I got it!) so mine pales in comparison.

Anyway, I’m standing in the calm of the storm now. It’s one of those rare moments nowadays where I am strangely serene and feeling at peace. Of course, these lucid flashes will promptly end in an hour or so and I shall be reduced to a bumbling mess once again. So, I shall quickly grab this opportunity before I forget what I wanted to write.

I was flipping through my literature notes just now and was looking back at some of the ‘insights’ I got from the novel, Holes. I think most of those in the same boat as I am are feeling particularly nostalgic towards the beckoning of exams. I know I did, because you never really know what you have until it’s gone.

Take for example, my brother. I see him, still in Form 2 (actually, it doesn’t really count anymore as the school term is ending) and for him, school is still a long process which seems to have no end. There is next year, and the year after next and then yet another year. And for him, it doesn’t really matter if he didn’t remember everything good about his school because it is not going to end ‘anytime soon’.

‘Anytime soon’.

That was our catch phrase for years. It never mattered if we didn’t appreciate what we have then because we always had tomorrow. But now, my tomorrows are limited. Yet, I’m not here to reminisce about my years in secondary school. I’d do that, but only when school is really over for me. Now, I’m just thinking about a conversation I had with my dad just a few days before starting Form Four.

Me: What if I can’t do well? I mean, it’s a totally different ball game; it’s going to be a lot tougher. It’s not PMR. What if I can’t keep up?

Dad: The thing about growth is that it allows expand and do things we feel we cannot do. Like now, you feel like you can’t because you haven’t started! But just as you age, your capacity in life will and should increase. Likewise, your capacity to learn will increase. I’m sure you can do it.

That seemed so long ago but I still remember it. And I’ve got a lot to thank God for in this whole journey. And it seems apt that the ‘insight’ I was reading from Holes was this:

Elya Yelnats was supposed to carry Madame Zeroni up a mountain. However, he wasn’t physically strong to carry her immediately. He had to undergo ‘training’, by carrying a growing pig up the mountain every day. As the pig grew heavier, Elya became stronger.

In the same way, Stanley Yelnats, the great-great grandson of Elya Yelnats was supposed to carry Hector Zeroni, the great grandson of Madame Zeroni up Big Thumb, a mountain. However, Stanley too wasn’t strong enough to carry him. He had to undergo training by digging holes every day. The longer he dug, the stronger he became. At last, he was finally strong enough to carry Hector up the mountain.

In both scenarios, we see that enthusiasm is not enough to get the job done. Effort and hard work is needed as well.

In the same way, this exam is going to not just going to be an end point for my school life, it’s also a training process for more to come. After all, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord. Proverbs 21:31

Ultimately, I’m leaving it in God’s hands. And of course, there’s a note in front of me now saying, ‘Lord, help me remember that nothing is going to happen today that You and I can’t handle’.

All the best to all of us SPM-ers and we’ll see each other at the finish line!