Fresh back from vacation and down with the flu for the past three days. All kinds of thoughts running through my head: what it was like walking the streets of Havana, plans for the near future, a member of our church in a hospital bed in Guatemala City, should I take Virogrip or Fluibron?
But above all of the them, the one thought that I can’t seem to run from is: ‘Trust issues, yes I have them’.
In church on Sunday, our pastor asked the question: ‘Do you have someone at Lifenet with whom you can be totally open and honest about your life’? Technically my answer is yes, because my husband goes to that church as well; but outside of him, my answer is no.
So even though I haven’t wanted to, the flu has given me quite a bit of time to face the issue, and to be honest, I haven’t gotten very far.
My story is probably very similar to yours: we trusted and we were betrayed. That is life. It happens. It’s actually the norm, I believe. In my case there was a divorce, a legal matter; people chose sides. Some I thought would always have my back, didn’t. I worried about the confidences I had shared with them, the things they knew about me that I’d prefer be kept between us. How safe was my life’s story with them? Had I chosen correctly? Wisely?
I learned that the closeness you share with someone during one phase of your life may not survive change or tragedy. Relationships need to be dynamic in nature for them to be able to go with the flow of life, and sometimes people just can’t be dynamic like that.
Christianity is big on having an ‘accountability partner’, someone with whom you can walk through years of your life, who will help you to walk the straight and narrow through the use of tough love. That person says the things you need them to say even though you don’t want to hear it; but accountability only works if you can be honest about what is truly going on in your life.
That concept has always baffled me. How do you find someone whom you can trust so implicitly as to be consistently open and honest with about your life, your thoughts, your struggles, especially in this tiny country we live in? So, I did the next best thing: I kept my circle small. I spoke freely with a few chosen ones believing my stories and I were safe there. I didn’t need an accountability partner because I had them.
But then divorce with all its swirling, strong, tentacles tore a swath through my small circle so devastating that I had to take my honesty and tuck it away in a place where I, with this newly acquired knowledge that not all relationships will survive, thought it was safe. I look at people now, and like the baby bird in ‘Are You My Mother’ by P.D. Eastman, I wonder, ‘Am I safe with you? Can you handle my honesty?’
Recently, during an intense conversation, a woman asked me how I was able to learn to trust my husband after what had happened in my first marriage. The answer was easy: he had proven himself to me, through some serious thick and some very dubious thin, my husband has been dynamic with me. He’s moved with the flow of my life’s changes, and he’s never been unreliable.
As I pray for restoration of some former relationships I wonder how I am supposed to be, to act. How am I to embrace, forgive? I think of the prodigal son returning home with that practiced speech and repentant heart, and that father who was waiting for him so longingly. Can I be like that father?
I picture my back, exposed in the battles of the past few years, and remember how I waited expectantly for those I loved and trusted to stand with me. As in an outer body experience I watch it replay in my mind like a movie. I see the arrows as they hurtled toward my back, and I want to run in and warn myself that I’m unprotected and vulnerable there, but then I see others I didn’t expect step in to help shield me, and fight off the incoming arrows. And I know that I never stood alone.
Still it’s so hard to trust. I want to live in freedom, but how can I trust again? How can you trust again?
I know it’s possible; so, after all this thinking and making sure I understand the reality of what it is I’m dealing with here, I come to the foot of the cross. and I pray. I mean really, what else can I do? I can’t force myself to trust. This work has to be supernatural. It’s got to be God intervening. I would hate to miss out on a few trustworthy souls just because others have proven themselves to be the opposite.
How do I handle those who have been unworthy of my trust? How do I know who I can trust? How do I start trusting people again?
Like I said, I haven’t gotten very far. I have no answers but I am searching for them. When I find them, I’ll be sure to share what I’ve learned with you.
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