word of the day: debt

by erika

Hi Friends,

Yesterday, I ordered a bowl of lentil soup from a restaurant I frequented 25 years ago. I took a sip of the soup immediately–though still delicious, it tasted different. The daughter of the Turkish owner assured me that her mother, who sat quietly in the back corner booth, had used the same recipe for years. I am different, I thought, not the soup. I am different.

It was then, after I had already placed lips to cup, that I  noticed the weathered handwritten sign: cash or check only, something I would have missed 25 years ago because cash would have been all that I had. “No worries,” said the daughter, “you can pay us next time.” It had been over 20 years since I had last been in their restaurant and here I was, met with a calm reassurance that I could, “pay them next time.” How many places are left in the world like this? How often do we dish out our own nutritive soup and generously say, “No worries, you can pay me next time,” knowing that that next time might be another lifetime away? I have always wondered how this little mom and pop restaurant has stayed alive on the corner of a favorite prominent street. I now had my answer: karma.

word of the day: debt

a. the state of owing money

b. a feeling of gratitude for a service or favor

Debt is like witches–there is good debt and there is bad debt. I have dealt, in my time, with a wealth of both. Usually, debt is something we are desperate to get out of, but in this particular blink, the debt of gratitude was something I wanted to soak in awhile longer.

“Would you like a reminder,” she asked?

“Yes please,” I replied in earnest. I would most certainly like a reminder–a reminder about everything happening in this moment. The debt. The soup. The generosity. Myself.

She handed me a small yellow slip with the restaurant’s address. I closed my eyes, imagined the world covered in these yellow squares of paper, leaves fluttering around us all, the debts we owe and are so generously entrusted to pay back. Some we get to in this life, others we return to fulfill. This is one debt I can take care of. When I get home tomorrow, I will put a check in the mail.  For at least three times the charge of the soup. With a thank you note. And I will save this yellow slip as a reminder. debt.

Love to all,

not-so-silent e