Whoever you are that is reading this, we have at least one thing in common: we owe people and we are owed by others.
Relationships have their own form of accounting. There are invisible transactions going over our head all time. Some of them are immediate, and some won’t hit the account until way later.
I recently posted about turning 35, and all the feelings I had of letting go of the need to broadcast to a few people in my life. People that I could never draw back. Some old lovers but not all. The concept of owing and being owed is in every form of human bond.
There are two ways we hold on to the past. The first is through our own lack of giving. There is some kind of last good we owe them. Some kind of last rite of love we have not performed.
The other way we hold on is when we are owed or believe we are owed. When people say “nobody owes you shit,” that makes for a great meme or motivational poster in a Planet Fitness gym, but it’s not true.
People do owe you. And you owe them.
But chances are the budget will never be balanced. Chances are they will never return with the credit you desire. Why? I don’t know. I think the desire to put flowers on the grave makes people afraid the past will reach up through the dirt. Sometimes the past is best kept there. If the past keeps coming back to you, perhaps this is a test. You may have some accounting to do.
The other option is the Jubilee. The Jubilee year in Hebrew culture was almost like the opposite of the Purge. Instead of being a day to exact revenge, the Jubilee occurred once every fifty years. In the year of Jubilee, all debts were forgiven. All lands were restored to their owner, and all slaves and prisoners were freed.
In my life, I try to give credit where it is due as much as I can. I do this because more than most, I am aware of my own mortality. I am aware that one day my Facebook page will be a place for people to say how they can’t believe I’m gone and how much they are going to miss me and then they’ll scroll on to the next thing in their newsfeed.
I don’t want to die with all of my words to them trapped in my body. I want to empty out my good and leave all my accounts square before the end, whenever that is.
This week I’m reminded of the people I feel or know owe me something. Whatever it is, and whether they ever pay it is none of my concern. I don’t want to keep those records anymore. It’s a hard habit to break. In the giving of credit, we give back some fragment of identity. But maybe the skill is to grow back whatever was taken.
Maybe they need that piece of you more than you do.