Angela, a mid-level manager in a government office, attended a professional management conference on the other side of the country to sharpen her skills. While waiting for the opening session to begin, she struck up a friendship with a woman ten years her senior by the name of Catharina.
The two women spent most of the conference together. Catharina expressed interest in most of the same topics and sessions as Angela did. They met up for lunch and dinner and came to know a lot about each other—what cities they lived in, their careers up to that point, their personal and family circumstances. It had been a long time since Angela felt like she had a close friend, and it seemed Catharina was someone she could trust.
Following the passing of an extremely wealthy woman, her heirs gathered to learn what portion of the estate each would receive. From the executor they learned that on a certain date in the future, each would receive enough money to pay off all their debts, and more, if they met a set of requirements before that day. The requirements included such actions as joining and contributing a number of hours to a charitable organization; selecting a stranger and paying for his or her college tuition; entirely forsaking a bad habit; and seeking out everyone they had wronged in their lives, asking forgiveness, and making amends. “The allotted time,” said the executor, “is expected to be enough to meet these stipulations. If you fail to meet them, you relinquish any and all claim upon your inheritance.”