Earlier this year, I received a check in the mail along with an apology note. The debt this person had owed me I had long ago written off. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. In the letter, this person acknowledged the deceitfulness of their actions and took responsibility by including a check for partial payment of what he owed me. It was obvious it would cause considerable financial strain to this person to repay me. As much as the money was appreciated, it was the gesture itself that really registered for me.
As a business owner, many times I have been left holding the bag when a business deal goes south. Often it’s because a business that bought goods from me on credit didn’t pay on their obligations. Sometimes I’m not the only one this occurs with. When a business goes out of business, a lot of people are left holding the bag. It goes with the territory. What also goes with the territory more times than not is how the person who ends up owing you money somehow flips it around to make it your fault. Psychologists would call this classic projection. It’s how people live with themselves by telling themselves a story that justifies their actions. This was the case with this fella. He in fact was quite vocal regarding his displeasure towards Aquascape and even me personally.
I learned early and often that life isn’t fair and I’d pretty much chalked this situation up to that. Then the check and letter came.
In his apology note he stated “he wanted to make things right with me while he still could.” Turns out he had a near death experience and unfortunately was still on uncertain terms. He pledged before he went, he wanted to repair the broken and even the burnt bridges in his life. Next month he makes his final payment and he will be giving it to me in person over lunch. I accepted his invitation to meet face to face, quite impressed that he honored an obligation, many years in the making. The rarity of his gesture alone warrants my respect and admiration. It also got me thinking, what bridges have I destroyed or even burned in my life and would I — with the knowledge I was dying — do the work and make the sacrifices to repair them? I’d like to think I would. But if I really think about it, and I have, I could be dying.
Emboldened by my friend’s actions, I’ve taken stock of my own. I have begun to make wrongs that I’ve contributed to right. I had my first intervention last week with a damaged relationship. It ended in a hug and I floated away. It was cathartic. More will certainly follow.
Take it from me and do yourself a favor; live like you were dying. Someday we all will. In the meantime why wait till you die to float up, when you can start floating today!