Today last year, I almost had a face-to-face encounter with death. It was a result of overestimation, wrong decision and plain stupidity.
We were in Mindoro when it happened. It was supposed to be a victorious morning for all of us, after our successful Christmas party with the Mangyans. We went swimming in the river. Over-estimation of my ability to swim and my courage to experience adventure, almost lead me and another colleague to death. Instead of able to flow with the rapids, I flowed in the middle of a whirlpool which I couldn’t get out. Yes, what we see in movies are true: dark underwater, flashes of memories, hands need to put up the water while trying to gasp for air and shout “tulong!”… Yes, I had experienced them all. I thought I was going to die. I was resolved to that fact when I felt tired of trying to swim and reach the top of the water. I remembered saying the Apostles Creed and asking forgiveness for all my sins. I even said a prayer for my family and the people I’m going to leave behind. I really thought it was my time to die. But the Lord had other plans. Just when I thought I already reached the pit, He sent my boss to rescue me. Even if it was an accident that he slipped on the waters and realized how deep it was, I still believed that it was God who pushed him to save me.
* * *
So many things happened a year after. Because of that incident, I learned how to value life more. To be cautious with the decisions I make. To really lived the accountability I have towards my team mates. I saw life as fun, but after that incident, it brought me to the next level of maturity and seriousness in life. I just can’t decide out of adventure anymore, but I have learned to decide out of right calculation and discernment of the situation. I just can’t decide just like that because it is fun for me, but I have to consider if it will also bring fun to the people around me. I just can’t decide the way I decide when I was younger – carefree, spontaneous and indifferent to the consequences – because I had almost cost a life of another and it might happen again if I’ll not be careful.
Until now, I am not proud of what really happened. I still feel uncomfortable when people joke about it. It’s not easy to accept the fact that I risked another person’s life. But I’m trying to get over it. Step by step. And one step I took is to face my fear and trauma on water: I swam today! Very liberating experience! I continue to ask the Lord that in time, I’ll get over all my trauma brought by this experience. And that I may learn how to live fully this 2nd life He has given me. All for Him. Because of Him.
Tara, swimming na tayo! =p