Don’t pay it back ….
I remember the first time that I heard that and it’s stayed with me ever since. The man who said that also said that he never lends money to anyone and before he had a chance to explain that I interrupted and said “I’ve often seen you give money to people”. “You’re right”, he replied, “and GIVE is the operative word.” He went on to explain that money is the cause of more upsets than almost any thing else in the world. When you only give what you can afford and do not expect it to be returned you take the onus out of the transaction.
It reminded me of a situation of my own. I was an AA sponsor for a young girl and she had approached me for a loan. She explained that she needed $120 but could pay me back in 6 months at $20 a month. Since she had just started a good job I didn’t hesitate but we did sign an agreement stating that she would make the payment on the first day of each month.
For the first three months she made prompt payments and I was feeling good about it. Then, all of a sudden, in the 4th month she disappeared. It was pretty obvious that she had relapsed since she left owing a month’s rent and other bills, including mine. I was sad for her but since I had no idea where she was I had no recourse. In time I forgot about it completely.
Then, about three years later, I got a telephone call late at night. It was my gal and I could tell that she was inebriated. While slurring her words and crying she told me that she’d never forgotten her obligation to me. She begged me to forgive her and said that she wanted to pay me the $60 she owed. She wouldn’t tell me where she was but she took my mailing address and swore the check would be in the mail in the morning.
Well, you can probably imagine what happened. I never heard from her again and there was no “check in the mail”. But it was a good lesson. Now I do give, but it’s only what I can afford and I always say to the recipient, “don’t worry about paying me back. Pay it forward” and I’m happy to say that I’ve seen a lot of them do just that !