"You know this is stays between us, right?"
"I know you know, I just needed to...you know--"
"Absolutely. I understand."
This ritual observed, the cloak of secrecy spread, the heart opens and words flow.
Of late, I'm full of all of this stuff; my mind and heart working the knotty thread of their concerns and problems. It's strange how life works. In the past six weeks, topic of trust has been raised no less than five times.
I believe in people and look for the best in them. Everyone should work to find their passion, happiness, growth and I'm a total fangirl of individuality. Yes, it's true, no one is perfect. Why should mere imperfection turn me from someone completely? Imperfections are the cracks in the glass which turn a person into a mosaic; flawed by beauty, casting fractured, multi-colored light. What's not to love?
Most people have good intentions and desire to change for the better. Most issues between individuals are solveable. There's rarely a 'good guy' or 'bad guy'; but a situation in which the pair involved is overcome by incompatible weaknesses.
People mistake my optimism for gullibility. Taking great pains to inform me not everyone can be trusted, not everyone is good.
My usual reply is,'I don't trust anyone'. There's a Bible principle I strive to live up to; that God's people ought to be 'cautious as serpents, yet innocent as doves'.
But total trust? No. I trust people in areas which they are trustworthy. If for example, I have a friend who is a wonderful person in a million wonderful ways but is a terrible driver; I may bare my soul to her. However, I will not lend her my car. I hope.
Some seem to walk the earth, with the toxic, seeping wounds of betrayed martyrs. The Order of Poor Claire's as WHITE OLEANDER describes them. Their lives littered with broken relationships and hurts which they cannot release, forgive or even see clearly. Former friends who have, lied to them, on them, betrayed confidences, failed to pay back money; etc.
"I trusted them!"; is the universal complaint, followed by irrelevant qualifiers meant to explain that trust. Trust quantified by number of years known, number of things truster has done for 'betrayer', degree of closeness to the family. Whatever.
There are times when trust is foolish. There are places where trust is unkind. And there are ways in which trust is merely laziness in disguise. No single person is trustworthy in every arena of life. These untrustworthy spots usually lie along the fault lines of our imperfections. We must know where these lines are in our loved ones and not burden them with trust in those areas.
Remember, the act of 'betrayal' hurts both 'betrayer' and 'betrayed'. The 'betrayed' is left wounded; the 'betrayer', broken and left (often alone)to mend the hole as best they can, filling it with either guilt or denial. They also feel a vague sense of resentment toward the betrayed, pushing the 'betrayer' deeper into guilt or denial.
I'm not saying I've never been burned by a friend. And it has hurt. And yes I got mad. Staying mad is not an option, not if I acknowledge my own responsibility in trusting unfairly. For me, the process of trust is a bit like taking a slow walk on thin ice. Testing each step, I learn where the ice is weakest and strongest, making my way toward trusting responsibly. I've been rewarded by decades long friendships; light on drama. The privilege of having my tribe is an amazing blessing. Growing with them over the years is a gift beyond compare. Trusting in their strengths, continues to make me a better person.
I'm not saying we ought to be friends with anyone as long as we've figured out their untrustworthy bits. For instance, if you're a blurter (like me), you might do well to avoid the determined gossip. I tend to be my-life-is an-open-book-ish, so usually, it's no big deal. Every once in a while though, I'll have told a friend something and like a day or an hour later thought,'hmm...maybe I don't want the whole world knowing that about me'. With most of the tribe, what I say goes no further or else they can discern public from private domain...even when I can't.
One member of the tribe is a bit of a Chatty Cathy. But if I come back and ask that said blurt remain entre nous, she'll either 'say sure no problem' or tell me who she might have told during the time my mouth's governor was resetting in my brain. One lady, whose application was under review for tribal induction remains in friend status; with a real possibility of being downgraded to acquaintance.
I permitted chemistry and flattery (a lethal combination) to send me sailing across the ice until I was knee deep in more than one icy puddle. She turns out to be a purveyor of information and a bit of a liar and hypocrite to boot. The information purveying, I can excuse, as it wasn't clearly marked private. The hypocrisy; well, let the first of those totally non-hypocritical cast the first stone. The lying draws my line in the sand 'this fur and no fuh-ther'. I then proceed to mark the line with signage of the 'No Tresspassing' variety.
We Americans tend to fling ourselves into friendships. Baring bosoms and family secrets to people whose greatest recommendation is a superficial liking and proximity (school, carpool, work). When the person's character is revealed as less than ideal, the fling is flung. Leaving feelings of betrayal and hurt blighting what might have been the start of a 'beautiful friendship'.
Our tendancy toward 'instant intimacy' is the tarnished side of our pretty penny. The other side is our 'a stranger is just a friend we haven't met yet', sensibility. There is something innocent and idealistic in our wish to approve of everyone, but even to this old cynic's heart...lovely.
Even so, for the heart's sake...do trust all. But none complete.