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THINK TALK: They, too, are human beings

mindaviews thinktalk

MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 04 August) – To be human is to balance between several extremes. Sometimes we tend to avoid these extremes, but at other times it is better that we pursue them to better understand life. 

The secret of the heart is when reason and feelings meet, it is said that we have become whole. Where reason is balanced perfectly by feelings and where mind and body come together in perfect unity, a whole new quality emerges, a quality that is neither feeling nor reason, but something deeper and more complete.

We have to understand that somewhere deep in life there exists the finest sweetness, the greatest quality in life, the pure joy that emerges when we are fully conscious of what life is all about and what God’s wisdom is in the variables of His creations.

We believe that we have to try to understand life and get a good grasp of its meaning and purpose because it can be of great value to us to learn to recognize the fundamental principles of how it is lived to the fullest. Learning to recognize the good and evil forces of life helps us to make use of the good ones. 

The above lines are the philosophical bases of what little awakenings I had recently, which stemmed from something we experience everyday, but understand so little, or worse, refuse to understand.

One morning, I was looking for one of our housemaids. There are two of them, who happen to be siblings. They are of school age, in fact, if they had not stopped schooling the elder one should now be in senior high school and the younger one in junior high school.

I thought “poverty” should not be the reason anymore as to why these young girls are not going to school. Education is completely free from the elementary to high school and to college. If this opportunity was there in my time, I would not have been a working student to earn my college degree.

Back to the younger housemaid I was looking for one morning. I was already shouting at the top of my voice, and this has only become louder as I was not getting any response from her. I was supposed to ask her to stay in our variety “sari-sari” store. I was about to take a bath and prepare to go to the Mosque. Yes, that was a Friday.

As she was not responding to my calls I went to see her in their bedroom. I found her sleeping like a log. I tried to call her name to wake her up, but this time my voice was softer and more gentle. I didn’t understand why I wanted to wake her up but still conscious of the feeling that she must not be disturbed. “She must be so tired,” I quipped. A housemaid sleeping so soundly at 10:30 in the morning would have made any house lord/lady furious. I don’t feel that at all this time.

I took a bath anyway and hoped that there would be no customers in the “sari-sari” store until I am done. But there were two voices calling – a male and a female. The female customer, a relative, was more determined to buy something. She went into the maids’ room and woke her up. She was calling the maid “insan” (short for “pinsan,” meaning cousin).

This time, the younger housemaid woke up, catered to the customer, and stayed in the “sari-sari” store until I had finished taking a bath. After putting on my clothes for the Mosque, I went to the store before leaving to give some instructions. She looked apprehensive. I asked her if she heard me calling her name while she was sleeping, and she answered “no”.

I asked her why she fell asleep at an unusual mid-morning time. “Is there anything wrong with you?” She said, “No, I am perfectly alright”. More often, housemaids do not tell the truth for fear of being scolded by the homeowner. But, our housemaids are one of the few exceptions. I made it a house rule that everybody should treat them with respect, love, and understanding.

When any of my children gets mad at them for some missed instructions or going slow on errands, I always say this to them: “If your mother and I had not struggled so much to earn a college degree, you might just be like them. You should thank Allah that you were not one of them.”

“We should treat them with respect, love, and understanding. You know what? Their parents entrusted them to us. If they had the choice, they should not be working as maids in our household. They deserve all the love, respect, and understanding just like anyone of God’s creation. They, too, are human beings like us.”

Thank God that, in His wisdom, He had made some of His creations in different levels, form, and categories. By these differences, one is made a “trial” for the other.

Allah, subhanaho wa taala (glory to Him, the most high) said in the Holy Quran: “And we have made some of you a trial for others. Will you have patience?” (surah Furqaan, verse 20).

The lowly and ignorant are trial for the scholars as to whether they teach and advise them while exercising patience. The scholars are trial for the lowly and ignorant as to whether they will obey and follow their examples.

The poor people are a trial for the rich people, and the rich people are a trial for the poor people. The weak people are a trial for the strong people, and the strong people are a trial for the weak people.

Followers are a trial for the leaders as to whether the more privileged leaders shall lead them to righteousness and guide them to the straight path. The leaders are a trial for the followers as to whether they respect and obey them. 

And so on, and so forth!

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid holds a doctorate degree in rural development. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics and Methods of Research in the graduate school. He can be contacted at mauganmosaid6@gmail.com).

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