Thursday, July 26th. About 2:30pm.
The day I received the phone call.
"Talia, this is Captain H. calling. I have news for you."
Me: "Oh, boy."
Captain: "Do you think it's good news or bad?"
Me: "Well, I hope it's good, Sir."
Captain: "What do you think?"
Me: "It's good." Please, God, let it be good...
Captain: "You're right! You got accepted. You're going to Quantico."
~ ~ ~
I've never been one to scream out loud. But the moment that phone touched the receiver, I couldn't repress it any longer. I screamed. The loudest, most high-pitched girly shrill of a scream that echoed throughout the house and bounced off the vaulted ceilings.
I had made it. I had succeeded in being one of roughly 1,400 that are accepted into OCS per year.
Then came the shuddering reality:
Of those 1,400 less than 700 graduate...
1/3 is usually dropped within the first four weeks...
Another 1/3 fails due to injuries...
Half a platoon can go home due to broken ankles...
I was glad I had made it. But now the thought suddenly occurred to me: "Now comes the hard part."
~ ~ ~
Preparing my application for OCS was no joke. You can ask any member of my family. I spent hours at the recruiter's officer, filling out paperwork, answering questions, hunting down references...I even had a surprise visit from the State Department where this guy showed up at my house flashing a government-issued badge and asking to speak with me. Talk about scary! :) Turns out all he was doing was following up on my security clearance.
Throughout this period, all I did was concentrate on upping my PFT score. Thankfully, with a lot of help and hard work, I managed to turn a 255 into a 280 (out of 300--not shabby!)
And then came the day when everything had been finalized and all I had to do was wait. and wait. and wait for the results.
It took three weeks longer than it was supposed to. And every day, I lived in a constant state of panic. You know what it's like to be in love and every time the phone rings, your heart stops beating? I can totally sympathize. The mental stress began to manifest itself as if I had met the love of my life. I haunted the phone. I couldn't sleep. In fact, I would have dreams that I got accepted only to wake up and find that no one had called. ;( Sometimes, I would think I heard the phone ringing in the middle of the night and would get up check the answering machine. Not even kidding.
So you can imagine my shock when at work, one Monday morning in the middle of a lunch rush, I received a phone call...from my mom.
"SSgt. M. needs to talk to you immediately."
Me: "What for?"
Mom: "Something about missing medical paperwork."
To be missing medical paperwork at this stage in the game is like signing your own death warrant. And I knew it.
But in an effort to remain calm, I stepped outside and called the SSgt.
She answered. "You need to get this paperwork in today or your entire file could be jeopardized."
(Translation: everything you've worked for over the last 6 months will be null and void.)
Me (trying to keep a steady voice): "Okay. I have to get off work. Give me a half hour."
I let my cell phone drop into my apron pocket. By now the tears were rushing to my eyes and nothing I said or did could hold them back. Marines don't cry, I kept telling myself. But that helped about one iota of a percent, so I ran to the storeroom where I sobbed the whole story to my manager.
Thankfully, she let me go. And by the time the SSgt. picked me up there were no trace of tears. We spent the next six hours driving from one place to the another, collecting paperwork that should have already been processed a week ago. Unfortunately, the eye doctor at MEPS mislabeled something that indicated my eyesight (horrible as it is) was non-correctable to 20/20. Totally not true. And then, of course, there was the doctor's note for a specific medication that was not composed in enough detail. So that had to get fixed.
All in all, it was one of the most stressful days of my life, and one I would not care to repeat again.
But through it all, God was faithful. And as He promised, everything worked itself out. I wish I could say I was a pillar of faith throughout the whole ordeal, but *ahem* that would be lying. ;)
Truth be told, I was a mess, looking great on the outside and feeling completely vulnerable and helpless. I had forgotten what the Lord had spoken to me. I had placed my trust in man and man had failed.
In the end however, I can truly say that good came out of this whole situation. It allowed me to witness firsthand the faithfulness of God. But more than that, it confirmed to me (again) His will.
I could have missed the deadline. The Captain could have caught the error too late. Or the OCS board could have overlooked my file altogether...
But none of that happened. God, once again, came through on His side of the bargain. And I am (again) reaffirmed that this path--crazy and unorthodox as it may be--is in His perfect plan for my life!
It will not be easy. I still struggle with doubts as to whether or not I will graduate. (And a very large part of me says I won't). But I can't dwell on that. I can only walk in faith, believing what God told me.
And that means shipping out to Quantico in less than three weeks. ;) It means placing myself in a hellish environment and trusting that God, and the training I've received here, will see me through.
After all, I'm running my race to win. ;)
So...that's pretty much it. Sorry it took so long, but I wanted to make sure I worded this right. ;)
Hope you all had a great Labor Day!