This one is directed with gratitude to the Monks of the Abbey of Saint Anselm College.
When I younger, although we were happy, my family was not affluent [that's putting it rather mildly]. The Monks of the Abbey of Saint Anselm College allowed me to go to school there for four years and earn a Bachelor's degree for pennies. I was graduated with no student loans.
A couple weeks ago, I was in a discussion with some pretty thoughtful friends and the quesiton came up about spending yet-unearned future lottery winnings, if they were to occur. I was first to chime in, saying that I would repay the Monks.
One of the other group members called me out on this.
Says He: Do you think they allowed you to go to school there for free so that one day you will pay them back?
Say I: No.
Says He: So, then why would you cheapen their gift to you by making it all about the money?I was unable to respond. I had no response. My friend was correct. I was cheapening my debt of gratitude to the Monk of the Abbey by making it all about money.
If I really want to pay the Monks back - not that I think they're asking for that - what I need to do is live a full life in the service of others, like they do.
They paid it foward, now its my turn.