FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK CHAPTER 1 HARD TIME page 9Published October 7, 2019
FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK
I kept jogging along to my own rhythm, just slightly off the pace.
Some had dropped out and were panting along the sides of the track.
The three NCOs were berating the drop-outs, challenging them to
continue, and urging them not to quit. The well conditioned were
moving around the track—dodging stragglers and slowpokes—as
they sang and kept cadence. After a shaky start, I was surprised when
I passed a few guys.
I knew everyone was wondering how I would do. After the earlier
confrontation between me and the sergeants, they were curious to see
what I was made of. And so was I. I was more shocked than anyone
by my early-morning defiance. In the light of reason, I changed my
actions, but not my belief. As I moved through the dusty clouds hov
eringover the exercise track, I wanted to show everyone that I was a
“hacker.” I would take whatever was thrown at me and not break!
I was glad I quit smoking years earlier. Younger and better-con
ditioned marines lay on their backs on the grass beside the track,
gasping for air. Others were doubled over—with mouths open and
arms flailing—as they sucked wind. I kept shuffling along, rhythmi
cally. I was in a zone, and I felt like I could barely keep going.
Finally, the long drawn-out command came: “Quick time, march!”
It was over, and I didn’t quit! I thanked God, as I fell into march
ing formation behind the others. We were still moving around the
track. How ironic. I was the worst-looking specimen of a marine
imaginable, but I finally exhibited the commitment to perseverance.
Hear The Author Show interview with William L. Ingram about writing FINDING HEAVEN IN THE DARK: