Strange that these thoughts should crop up during such a festive season.
But the preponderance of recently diagnosed heart ailmnents and emergency treatments just recently have caused me to rethink the matter of a celebration in the traditional sense.
One of the first things we are told during the first few days of beast barracks is that we have already been issued a coffin among the things that we were initially given.
Though it was logical, it was quite a rude awakening to a new reality as a soldier in uniform. Quite a different way of coming to grips with your mortality.
Of course, having taken a different course, my options on the coffin were commuted on my separation from the Corps. And I never thought about my mortality again.
When two of your mistahs get stricken – one by a stroke, and the other had an additional angioplasty – and two friends of different classes undergo bypass surgery, and a good underclassman friend has two successive heart attacks and in my case, getting diagnosed for cardiomegaly/pulmonary hypertension several months ago, you begin to rethink your options for living.
Having had to disclose this information to classmates and other dear friends from the Corps, I have been humbled by quite a few gestures of support and assistance in many forms. I am forever grateful to these gentlemen for their kindness.
However, the recent malady of our Cebu squadmate brought about an unexpected collaboration of solidarity among the Cebu Squadmates and other bugo communities including the class of our sick friend.
Considering that he is out of work due to his condition, he can ill afford a procedure that would cost the equivalent of a recently purchased vehicle. An appeal for help online generated text and private message appeals to squadmates all over the country and abroad along with the group of Associates of former cadets, and the supplementary fund to assist him and his family for this unexpected medical expense is growing as of this writing.
My sense of admiration for the unselfish acts among the members of the Corps that was recently displayed went up by leaps and bounds. Which is why, despite accusations of unsavory acts by some Cavaliers in government service, I choose to hope in the strong sense of nobility among those that once wore the dress whites.
And by this display of solidarity, it has been confirmed.
I salute you, sirs.
Though some of us may have to forego the rich spreads that will be on our tables for the traditional midnight meal, I revel in the thought that many of us are truly rich in heart and quietly manifest such in deed when the need calls for it.
In this, I am reminded of some of the words of the celebrant whose birth we celebrate today.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
And with this, I bid you all a joyous Christmas.
But eat healthy as well.