Paying it forward is an uplifting idea, one that has long captured the attention of literary luminaries.
The great American statesman Benjamin Franklin described it in a letter to Benjamin Webb back in 1784 – “I do not pretend to give such a deed; I only lend it to you. When you [...] meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him...” In his 1841 essay “Compensation”, the thinker and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody." The phrase itself was coined by reformer and author Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book “In the Garden of Delight” where she wrote “You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.”
Here in our local running community, The Bull Runner (TBR) has been enjoining yearly the TBR Dream Marathon alumni to give new runners the same support and motivation they received from others. To give back to the community. To basically pay it forward.
Being a member of the 1st Batch of the TBR, I have been blessed to do just that by volunteering to be a pacer. I started it in 2012 and come February 16, 2014 it would be my 3rd tour of pacing duty.
Over the weekend, I received from my First Balfour officemates Joy Castillo and Iya Pe the race kit for pacers. They got it at the send off party for the 2014 TBR participants last February 6 at the Unilab Bayanihan Center in Mandaluyong. These two young ladies are gracious to invite me to be their pacer.
Getting a hold of the kit, I was touched to see that they wrote on the front of the envelope the words “COACH MACKY”. I dared not consider myself a coach. I am neither licensed nor competent to be a coach. Never had any formal training and whatever running knowledge I get to share, more often than not I have gotten from good old google. But I think it is more a testament to their kind-heartedness and to the fact that I am way older than they are to be considered their running buddy. It is indeed a source of joy to be given such a title of respect.
It is joy that I feel in my pacer duty. Pure. Unsoiled and undisturbed. Sadly not innocent anymore. Nonetheless, it is still joy. The joy of being able to know the feeling of generosity signed, sealed and delivered.