Wrenches, instant mechanic, re-reading The Exodus and other Holy Week notes

(Warning: Long post)

Black Saturday for me was really black. :(

After the traditional Holy Week rituals in our mostly Catholic city of Malaybalay, I found myself and wifey stuck at home.

Not that we didn’t want to, but you know we must have watched all the backtrack movies we missed and must have exposed ourselves already too much to indulgence, what with food and a lot of time to just unwind together. (Remember, more of the Lord, less of the World.)

We even resorted to hiking early morning with our kids, I mean our nieces. These hiking escapades could be subject to another post, hopefully. Personally, it was reflection time.

As for the movies, I watched Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, Edward Zwick’s African thriller Blood Diamond, and the novel-turned movie Eragon. Foremost, I felt so sorry about the abused Africans shown with Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond. Possibly, it could also happen to poor Filipinos living in communities where mining companies operate (I hope I am wrong!)

Eragon was a disappointment, though. Maybe reviews of these movies could come later. You’ve probably watched them anyway.

Aside from the Biblical movies on Moses and The Passion of Christ, the family also joined the kids in watching Barbie movies, which are takes on fairy tales just to balance the themes of our viewing appetite.

Speaking of appetite, we also tried to stay very far from meat that week and found out new and delicious recipes from vegetables and ordinary food. There are actually more to reflections, food and movies that week.

I took at least 20 chapters of the Old Testament for my traditional Black Saturday read. Actually, I think my favorite, The Exodus, is a text of Christ’s resurrection in the New Testament. I read the OT every year during Holy Week since Lent of 2002.

At first I thought I was just interested in the historical realm presented by the book. Later on, I realized it gave me deeper understanding (or so I thought?) of my faith.

The more serious moments during the Holy Week, however, were spent on Q and A’s, discussions, and reflections with wifey on our plans, including what to do with work and separate locations.

On “freer” time, I also browsed through “Breaking promises, making profits,” a reader on mining in the Philippines published by Christian Aid and PIPLinks in December 2004. It is actually work brought home for a possible research project on mining.

I also scanned some of my notes on proposed revisions on the membership policies of the MindaNews cooperative, Mindanao News and Information Cooperative Center, en route to our general assembly this May.

Well back to being stuck. “Stuck” means, what else, we can’t go out! Why? Because the elders said we have to stay put and that we should rather spend some lost time with the family. I quipped that maybe I should really leave to the elders to decide for us, at least this age-old church tradition. (All these talks of being docile and submissive, huh?)

We actually decided to cleanse ourselves from our earthly urges, including our tendency to always GET LOST – - – elsewhere.

That’s what happened mostly during Holy Week.

Black Saturday, however, pulled a surprise for me.

My father-in-law decided to fix the ten-wheeler truck parked in front of the house. He is a “big truck” driver and his “equipment” got stuck for some quick fix.

Something was wrong with the brake drum and he has to disassemble among many things, two of the big wheels.

That means a lot of unbolting to do. The brake drum is HEAVY (with a sigh). It really is and it almost took my breath.

My brother in law Danny and I decided to offer a hand to make father’s work easier (or more difficult?) Anyway, so it was a decision to get greased– really.

At first it was a series of funny bad moves. Danny, a grade school teacher and me a struggling reporter (who does not drive!) took some funny steps. Instead of working (or trying to) we spent the next 15 minutes laughing at our errors. Father almost gave up – but he was as usual, patient.

Sooner, I got my lessons in How to become an Instant Mechanic (Mechanics 101) with dirt oil in my hands and sweat on my forehead.

I was assigned first to clean the stud bolts and fix the rim of the brake drum. I was introduced to the brake shoe and brake lining which play very important roles in the truck’s break system. Then I have to tighten the bolts using all kinds of wrenches. Thank God, wrenches were invented by human minds.

It was a nerve wracking experience but it was also a good one what with all the new things I learned.

I was cut in a fourth of the task, however, because wifey and I have to download something from the internet in downtown Malaybalay for her summer language course presentation.

When we returned less than two hours later, Danny passed to me the task of unbolting and re-bolting the two right-rear wheels. Ahhh ..these are wheels almost my height!

We tried to maneuver the process using the hydraulic jack. Truly, driver’s best friend it is. Tightening the bolts was the hit. I used an extension pipe with a wrench and showed off some of my limited muscle powers. Nah, I was actually hidden by the shrubs near the truck so I could afford to show off (and took the risk of embarrassment, too.)

To be honest, I know I wasn’t cut out for a job like that. I felt I exerted so much effort to do what could have been child play for another. But who said “I can’t be?”

An hour later, our job was done and we were treated to glasses of iced tea! Wew, some cold relief for this trying hard mechanic! But at that instant I could not comment some more — father was silent in a corner. I just crossed my fingers we did it right. Then he said, we were useful! D (wide grin …from ear to ear.)

I looked at the truck from the window with pride — eyes drenched with sweat even with the cold afternoon wind. I wasn’t really proud because I was able to do this or that, but because once again I overcome one more instant of hesitation. I was inspired to learn some more about this dirty work.

Going through this black task — using all reserved energies despite my lack of skills and exposure, was my own cross that day.

One has to suffer in order to learn, right?

It helped me prepare for the Easter Mass!

To all Catholics who could bump into this, Happy Easter!

For all others, Peace man! Salam! Kalinaw! :)

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About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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