It wasn’t an encounter per se, except maybe on a higher level.
I loaned money to a friendly acquaintance or an acquainted friend from my neighborhood bar. The fact that I don’t know where to classify him should tell you the relationship isn’t an established one. On the other hand the fact that we star in a video together might make you believe we are quite close. It might also show you the kind of guy he is. If he starts talking no one gets a word in, especially not tiny old me. Ha!
Ok, all of this started halfway through September. I handed him the money and we agreed on how and when he would pay me back. Two fixed dates; he’d get in touch with me, I’d come down and he’d pay me back. Cool, right?
It’s not how things went. The first repayment date came and went without a word. Small neighborhood, I bumped into him the next day. He let me know that it would take an extra couple of days. He’d changed jobs and he wasn’t paid yet.
“Sure, no problem.”
The next week I got a message telling me he’d be around later. Nothing happened.
A week later I bumped into him and Lola (you remember Lola), both drunk. It was a Friday afternoon and I was with my girls. I didn’t feel like getting into it with him then and there. He promised again to contact me that same day, but I knew better then to believe anyone in that state.
Then last week he walked by my apartment. I was sitting on my couch overseeing the street and saw him. As he looked up he saw me. Two minutes later I had another message “Salut, I’ll be coming by in a bit”.
Of course that didn’t happen. So the next day I sent him a message saying “You must really take me for a fool”. He immediately called me and said he’d see me that afternoon…
Again nothing happened, but I decided that I couldn’t deal with it at this point. Too much going on as I was leaving to go to a retreat that night and honestly I wasn’t feeling it yet.
I may have cursed that day. I felt used and taken for a fool. I wasn’t sure how to deal with this. To what point was I supposed to stand up for myself and to what point should I just show grace.
The retreat made me not think of the situation at all and after coming back from the retreat I had actually kind of forgotten about it. Tons of work, a big cold, the kids, the house, the bills, the, the, the…
To my surprise I saw him again last night. And what I saw was not the same guy. His eyes were sad and worried, his head hanging down. He was skittish. He asked to speak with me, but not in front of the girls. We stepped aside and he grabbed my hands. He begged me to forgive him. He asked to have more time to pay me back. Then he begged some more. He looked pitiful. Where was the proud guy I knew?
He rambled on and on about what had happened and why he couldn’t pay me back. I tried to get my side of the story in, but I felt like whatever I had to say was not being heard. I felt like there was no way I could get through to him. I felt there was no point in continuing the conversation…
Then I suddenly felt peace and a force coming over me. I felt like I had grown as tall as he was standing before me, and that’s tall. I grabbed him by his upper arms and all the right words came out then and there: “Stop talking and listen, you can’t pay me back right now, that’s ok. Don’t worry about the money. It’s not the problem; the problem is you not being honest with me. Don’t you ever make me feel like a fool again. Pay me back whenever you can, but be honest with me in whatever you say.”
That’s where or ways parted.
I may never get my money back. I don’t care. The money might be worth the lesson I learned about who I am and what I want to stand for in life. I may not have always lived along those lines myself, but from now on I want to be the person that when you honor me with the truth, even if it hurts me, I will honor you with grace!