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Originally written in TACKED THOUGHTS for The Freeman
by Nancy Unchuan Toledo

I don’t usually like begging for favors, especially ones that inconvenience people who are not close to me. I don’t mind granting them, just begging for them. “Maikogon” they call it in Bisaya. I’m not even sure if that’s how it’s spelled. But I’ve been called that many times. And well, it does get in the way of getting things done sometimes. So it is something that I’m learning to get over.

I guess more than a cultural thing, it’s a pride thing. I often like to feel that I am on top of every situation and that I’m independent. So, asking somebody for help, especially, one whom I might not be able to help back, is a bit out of my comfort zone and it makes me really uncomfortable. But I’ve realized discomfort is sometimes a good thing to feel. It’s good for the soul. It prunes the ego.

Just last month I was in a bit of a bind. And I needed someone to do something for me. So, I posted a shout-out on Facebook. And somebody replied. A former student who went out of his way to help me get things done.And then some. He went the extra mile. As I sat in the office wondering if he had gotten it done, I began to wonder how I could repay the favor.

But then I stopped myself because to do that would be like, well, paying a debt. And that would mean robbing myself of the experience of being indebted to someone. It is good to feel indebted-it keeps me from being too self-sufficient, too proud of myself. The fact is we’re all indebted to someone. We all got to where we are because someone did something for us. We’re not all as powerful and self-determined as the world would have us believe. We just have to accept the fact that some days we are called to help and other days, we’re called to be helped. If I made a list of all the people who’ve helped me and another list of all the people I’ve helped, the former would be 100 times longer than the latter.

Accepting help doesn’t really make us less of a person. In fact, I’d say it helps me realize what it takes to be human. Because in reality, being human really means accepting the fact that we are dependent on something much greater than we are. Accepting or rejecting that fact doesn’t really change it, but it does change the way in which we view the world and our fellow human beings.

So when my former student told me that he’d gotten the task done, I texted him my profound thanks and told him how much I appreciated it. His reply: It was the least I could do. Just glad it was my turn to help you.

Moments like that always remind me: It’s a beautiful world, my friends, and there are good people in it!

About Nancy Unchuan Toledo

When Nancy started teaching high school at age 21, she didn’t really think she’d make a career out of it. She was right. Ten years later and she realized teaching isn’t her career, it’s her passion. Writing is her passion, too, and she writes a bi-monthly column for the Freeman. Mostly she writes about her family, her friends, her students, her experiences in teaching, her love of books and her faith. Because those are the things that she cares about the most–although not necessarily in that order.

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