‘7’ (Seven) is generally regarded as a lucky number by people from many corners of the world.  And I was no exception until I experienced something paradoxical concerning ‘7’.

The results of the Matriculation Examination were due on the 7th of June – on a Sunday.  I had been expecting the best results on that day, i.e. to get distinctions in all 6 subjects.  In fact, I had been working for it for the whole year and I have made certain sacrifices for it.  Whenever people asked me what kind of a result I expected, I swiftly replied with a two-word answer – “The best”.  And I would add on, “I’m ready for the good times!”

Just a fortnight before the results came out, I fell sick with viral hepatitis-A.  What’s worse was that the physician whom I was seeing like once two days forbade me to go and see the results due to my health condition, the night before the 7th.  (He hospitalized me afterwards and I came to have an allergy to him.)    I had to cry to plead my parents to take me to see the results on the next day – I had been greatly determined to see the results as I instinctively knew that I was going to experience something wonderful and special.   Fortunately, I was successful.

Unfortunately, however, on the next day – which is the 7th of June – I turned out to have missed the distinction in Myanmar.  I had made an enthusiastic effort in studying in order to get distinction marks in that subject but I happened to be disqualified for the distinction.  I don’t know what went wrong with it.  As the results hit me with a blow, I felt terrible discomfort.  Now the misery of a distinction slipping through my fingers added on to the pain I had been feeling in my liver.  I went to see the teacher who taught me Myanmar to telling him that I had failed him.  He said he was sorry for the misfortune and held me in his arms.  Well, he didn’t ease the pain.  Instead, he gave me a hard time breathing being tied to his chest by his strong arms.

Afterward, I went to the hospital for several medical checkups – I underwent CT scan, ultrasound imaging, had blood tests and injections.  All of these cut me deeper because I was sick and was at the hospital having diagnosis and treatments at the time when every other newly graduated high school students enjoy themselves.  And I had just failed to live up to my own expectations.  So, how did I react?

I wept all afternoon listening to Céline Dion’s “Then You Look at Me” and Whitney Houston’s “All at Once” when my parents and my sister were out.  The songs made me more emotional.  It’s like Whitney Houston sang,

“I started counting teardrops

And at least a million fell

My eyes began to swell”

I was in bed all that time because every time I moved, my liver hurt.  Then, suddenly, a certain light shined on me … A thought unexpectedly came to my mind after thinking about several things.

It came to my mind that for the final year of high school education my parents and I have had great investment in time, effort, money and dedication.  Despite the fact that I am in despair, I at least got 5 distinctions, which is above mediocre.  This is an accomplished achievement which I should not be sad about.  Did I, after making large investments, still feel bad about the outcome which is not so bad, I’d become a loser.  I made up my mind to simply stop moping.

Then, I realized the good things I had done to help others get thoroughly through the lessons and achieve miracles.  During the 2 and half months, I cooperated with two of my friends to study the lessons.  We were a study group in which I was the leader.  I would draw study schedules, have discussions with them on the phone, and share study materials.  I really was of great help to them.  One of them was (maybe he still is) a slacker – he never had regular attendance at the classes and did not study with effort.  But he had a good brain.  I had been giving him a hand with all the lessons he missed and urged him to study throughout the year.  The other was a student who had come to Mandalay from a small town in the North-western part of the country for high school education.  He had great ambitions, strong enthusiasm and brave confidence.  He was weak in some subjects and did not have doting parents or a supportive family – he ran around the town by himself.  He got close to me and got all the encouragement and study strategies he needed from me.

The two turned out to have performed very well in the exam.  The former got 4 distinctions and the latter 5.  But the 5-distinction winner was upset because he had missed the Myanmar distinction like me.  I had not heard from the other friend then.  I started to think,

“We three worked as a group, and we were a great team.  And it is said that success unshared is failure.  Maybe we are moping because we can’t see the forest for the trees.  We have been looking at our results individually.  I was the leader in the study group so … my 5 distinctions plus another 5 and another 4 gives me 14 distinctions in total.  Yeah, I am a 14-distinction winner!  After all, they have acknowledged that they couldn’t have made it without me.  I have served a good cause.  Even considering individually, I don’t need to be sad about anything for I have a distinction in my favourite subject – English.  Losing a distinction in Myanmar is not the end of the world.  I still have a bright future ahead of me and I have more things in life to dream of and realize.”

This thought cleared up my thoughts and made all the dark clouds in my sky fade away.  Even with the liver pain due to the viral hepatitis did not hurt as much as it did before.

A certain thought became the salvation to my grief and sorrow.

A certain thought became the salvation to my grief and sorrow.

I switched the song in the music player to Natasha Bedingfield’s “Happy”.  It felt so good to hear her sing the chorus which included the words,

“Got my dreams, got my life, got my love,

Got my friends, got the sunshine above.

Why am I making things hard for myself

When there are so many beautiful reasons I have to be happy?”

All of this happened on the 7th of June, 2009.  From that day on till now, I have considered myself to be one of the happiest people on earth.  So, is the number ‘7’ a lucky number or not?