Lending and Borrowing

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A friend borrowed my lawn mover. It’s been a couple of years now. It wasn’t a fancy lawnmower, it was a self-propelled push mower, but it did the job. It usually took me about 2 1/2 hours to mow my yard. Knowing the chunk of time it took out of my very limited free time outside of work, my dad took pity on me and brought his riding mower over to mow it for a while. When I started to see that was putting a strain on him, I hired someone to do it for me. So granted, I then only needed the mower for emergencies or if my lawn guy was unable to do it. When the friend asked, I was happy to let her borrow it. Friends should share their stuff.

I wondered about it on occasion and several times we even discussed it. There was no reason to push for its return, since my lawn guy even planned his vacations so it would not get out of control, though when she mentioned she was no longer using it I wondered why she didn’t bring it back. Time went on.

So now I am out of a job and trying to cut expenses. By necessity. I decided mowing my own lawn was something that I should be doing. Not working I can’t justify the cost of paying someone else to do it.

I messaged my friend, thinking she would immediately bring it back. Instead she told me if I wanted it, I would have to come and get it. She has a new truck. She is afraid it will scratch her truck bed that doesn’t have a liner. I drive a Camry, by the way. Not the best transport vehicle. I said I couldn’t put it in there. She asked if I could have someone else pick it up. Truth is, I could….but I believe it is her responsibility to return since she borrowed. She evidently feels different.

I’m admittedly hurt….and frustrated. I’m a believer that if you borrow something you return it, in as good or better condition than before.  It’s your responsibility….and I am most grateful for the friends who have lent things to me over the years.

As the lender, I am now put in a position of feeling anxious about how I should handle this going forward. Straight out asking for it to be returned didn’t work. In fact, it made me angry. I’m resentful and have probably lost a friend. If she ever really was my friend. In my world, friends don’t make you feel bad for being kind to them.

I’ll probably let it go. While I do have folks who would take me to get it if I asked, as I have thought about it I think that will grow my resentment. I’m not sure I could be kind to her in that interaction. I need to forgive and go on, for my own peace of mind and to remain the kind of person I want to be. It’s time to let that mower go. Now to decide whether to invest in a new one, knowing that a new job could have me moving into an apartment. And yes, that’s another expenditure for my budget

So I’ll offer this advice to those of you who have open hearts to listen. If you borrow, return it. Money or stuff. Whether a person needs it (in your eyes) or not. Regardless of how much time has passed. Don’t make them ask for it back. It’s your responsibility. It’s your character on display.

And respect the generosity of the lender….be they a neighbor, friend, or family. They’re sharing their stuff. That’s a good thing and should not be taken for granted. Be thankful. How you treat them can possibly be the catalyst for how generous they are with others in the future.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet we find that line ““Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend.”

There is some truth there. But I still want to take the risk and be someone who shares my stuff. I’ve always said ultimately it is God’s….so I need to hold it loosely.

Speaking of God, there’s a verse in Psalms that says “An evil person borrows and never pays back; a good person is generous and never stops giving.” (Psalm 37:21)

Kinda blunt, huh? I want to be the latter. Though truthfully, it’s hard to do when you’re a human being with life experience.

Give anyway.

Later edit…..because it made my heart smile. I had texted my lawn guy to continue mowing until I could figure out my best course of action. He called me and said “Kim, I’ve been thinking. You’ve been good to me and I appreciate your business. I got another job because of mowing your lawn. I can cut your grass for less (33% less) while you are out of work. Plus it’s getting to be that time of year where I can allow extra time between mowings, Will that help?” Yes it will. I almost didn’t accept, and said just to carry on and I would budget elsewhere, but one thing I know….sometimes when you say no to people trying to give to you, you discourage them from exercising that for others. So yes. I accept it gratefully. He’s been raised well and will be blessed for conducting business this way. When one person disappoints you, someone else comes along to remind you most people are good. Let’s focus on them.

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