I have this friend who is bright and bubbly and wonderful and sees the absolute best in everyone. The best. She can’t fault people and if she does happen to fault them she just loves them anyway.
I look at her like a foreign specimen, studying her and marveling at these outlandish abilities of hers.
Because me? I generally err on the side of caution. The eyes of my soul are often squinted sharply, examining a person and questioning their authenticity. Cynical.
Maybe it’s just me, and my broken, human nature. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been hurt and manipulated, rejected or unappreciated – but wait a second, haven’t we all?
None of what has happened to me is allowed to be an excuse to live a life of suspicion and distrust. So I widen my eyes on purpose.
Widen them to see the good. I purposely search it out. And sometimes I say it – I compliment even if I’m still unsure.
I encourage the good that I find.
I open my tightly-held fists and live generously, without worrying about whether I’ll be taken advantage of.
I love, even if the love I receive in return doesn’t meet my expectations.
I play fair, even if what is done or said seems unfair.
I keep secrets, I ignore offenses, I focus on what I can give – rather than what might be taken from me.
And it’s hard! Because everything in me wants to treat people the way they treat me – if they’re generous, it’s easy to be generous. If they’re stingey with their time or their effort, I want to be stingey back!
But it’s not how we’re called to live, and to be honest it’s a pretty miserable existence. Maybe you’re like my super bubbly, gorgeous friend, and find this trust thing easy. Or maybe you’re more like me, and the trust thing takes effort. But the effort is worthwhile.
Because I know that when I trust big, and love much, I’m actually putting my hope in something bigger – a faith that says, “I know that people are going to let me down but I also know that something better and more beautiful is at work here”. The work that happens on the inside when we let go of distrust, and hurt and embrace grace. The worst that can happen is that we’re let down, right? Which is never easy but makes us stronger, more empathic, resilient and merciful.
The best that can happen is a transformed and enlarged life.
I love this verse in Psalms that says, “Light arises in the darkenss for the upright, gracious, compassionate and just. It is well with the man who deals generously… they will have no fear of bad news; his heart is firmly fixed and trusting.”
It is well for us who love generously, give much grace, and have a heart firmly fixed and trusting.
It is well.
Beautiful, Em. Such an honest discussion of trust.
Amazing post Em. I find it easy to be generous in other areas but in this area of friendship, it’s not so easy. I love this approach you have to life: “I open my tightly-held fists and live generously, without worrying about whether I’ll be taken advantage of. I love, even if the love I receive in return doesn’t meet my expectations.”
It is so hard to let go of my control and my expectations of how others should be. Thanks for this reminder to live a open-handed life. xx
“I play fair, even if what is done or said seems unfair.
I keep secrets, I ignore offenses, I focus on what I can give – rather than what might be taken from me.”
LOVE IT EM! Thank you for writing your heart out like this. x