Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Finding Faith: Confession of an opportunity wasted

So today I had an opportunity.

Let me tell you a little something about me. (In case you didn't already know...)


I am afraid to trust.

Yep. I am afraid to trust. It's true. It's ironic, actually. You see, I can have a little (haha) difficulty understanding others' motives, so I tend to trust pretty generously, most of the time. It has gotten me into some trouble, unfortunately. (The heart-break kind, not the law-break kind...) I guess, as a result, I try to be uber-aware and as a result, I am afraid to trust.

But today... Today I had an opportunity that doesn't come along very often.

(Well, I had a couple of opportunities in fact.)

Picture this: There's someone you love. Without limits. Let's just say it's your...... sister.

Yeah, that's it... It's your sister.

You love your sister more than life itself, and would do (and have done) so much for her. But for some, er... "odd" reason you suspect that she is... um.... cheating on her husband. Yeah... that's it. You think she is cheating.

Why do you think this?

Well... Behavior change. Change of activities, friends... Suddenly she's hard to get a hold of. Her stories don't match up. You... find some of what appears to be "evidence", but she has good explanations (which you aren't buying.) Nothing completely damning, but certainly more than a little suspicious.

And she knows it.

"No really! It's the tip of the latex glove from when I was coloring my hair!"

Uh, ok...

Unfortunately, you are in the situation where you really don't have the right to tell her what she can or can't do, but you have a reason for getting personally involved in stopping what you think is going on. (Pretend that she signed a pre-nup or something... Whatever the reason, it matters to you. A lot.)

After a number of months of this, your trust erodes. The thing about trust is that when it erodes in one area, it erodes in all areas. By the way... This is why relationships fail with regard to trust... When a couple gets to the point where (for instance) he can't trust her to be responsible, and she can't trust him to be compassionate, the rest goes out the window. Suddenly she can't trust him to be responsible and he can't trust her to be compassionate. Trust is gone.

So the trust erodes over months. You suspect that... on Friday nights she goes out with her new lover. But you have children, a spouse and are (very) rarely free on Friday nights. But you wonder... if, by chance, I'm free on a Friday? By gosh, I'm going to her place to find out! I want to know if she's really cheating on her husband! In fact, I need to know...

Never mind that her place is 50 miles from yours, or that the only way you would know she was actually seeing someone else would be to elaborately follow her, spy on her in a compromised situation, etc... The fact is that it's actually a wish to have the information available, and the mind tries to figure out how to make it possible. Right?


*** (Time passes)

At the end of a particularly grueling week, your spouse takes the kids to Chuck E Cheese's, because you are working late and need a break. It's Friday night. You are tired. You check your voicemail.

"Hey, Hon... Mom called and wants us to come stay at the lake house this weekend.
How about I go ahead and take the kids now... You go home, get some rest, and come up in the morning.
I love you and I'll talk you you later. Bye."

Opportunity is knocking. Just so happens the reason your week has been grueling is that the client you have been visiting is 50 miles away. Out by Ol' Sis. Oh and right here is the exit...

You have a decision to make.

For months you thought about this, thought that if you had the opportunity, you would want to know. You needed to know. Pre-nup, remember? This is your sister. Your, uh.... LITTLE sister. This guy is super rich, she is a free spirit, and certainly not likely to be able to get along without her "half"... She's cheating on him, by gosh! Your precious, adorable, incompetent little sister is cheating on her rich husband! And she's making the biggest mistake of her--

Wait. Hang on. This isn't your sister. It's not my sister. I don't have a sister. But I did have a decision to make...

This morning I came to a (proverbial?) crossroad and had to make a decision. I went right.

(Or was it left?)

I had been lacking trust, and now I had the opportunity to either prove myself right or wrong. I had the opportunity to learn that which I didn't know for sure. Learn things which I thought would make a difference between whether someone was right or wrong. This would enable me to be either really mad with good reason, or prove to myself that I had been a fool for not believing someone I care about. (Although not "seeing" what I'd expect to find is not fool-proof evidence of innocence... The cycle of mistrust would be likely to repeat, which is also unfortunate.)

So what did I do? I chose trust.

Funny thing is that I didn't even really have to think about it. It just happened.

I guess you could say that the trust chose me.

I might have proven myself right, or I could have hoped to prove myself wrong. Instead I proved, to myself, something much more.

I proved to myself that I was OK not knowing what I didn't know. (This is not the same as denial, by the way...)

No matter what happens outside of me, I am ok. This is the basis of faith.

You see, faith and trust are two things which must be given freely. They can't even really be earned. If one person does something which causes another person to have a hard time trusting...? Well, the trust still has to be given back. It can't be earned. I guess the litmus test of love is how quickly is one willing to trust someone who has hurt them? But is that really a litmus test of love? Probably not... It's a litmus test of the ability to trust.

Faith is like trust in that is must be given, not earned, but there is something extra special about faith...

Faith is not the belief that everything will be OK. Faith is the acceptance that everything is already OK, regardless of how things might appear at the moment.

This is why religious sects talk about faith (although they may not be able to articulate it if you ask them to go into depth...) When people talk about God's Plan, they are saying that regardless of how things may look at the moment, we need to have faith that things are the way they should be. Things are good.

Now don't blog out on me, this isn't a religious blog. (Not that it would matter if it were, would it? God is a pretty cool Guy...)

I'm just saying here that faith is NOT the same thing as hope. Hope is the anticipation of things being different in the future. Faith is the acceptance of what already is, regardless of how it may appear on the surface.

That's what I experienced today. On the surface, things had (I like using the past tense... Feels good.) HAD seemed suspicious. But in an instant... In ONE small minutiae of time, I realized that despite what may be the appearance, all is ok.

Is. Present tense.

So, today I had an opportunity. I had an opportunity to learn.
I thought I chose trust, but trust chose me.
And luckiest of all, I found faith.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Lorin,

    I don't know what kind of situation you're referring to here. All I can say is that from what I have experienced so far, you are a kind and loving person. Anyone who would abuse your trust - and faith - would be a bad person indeed.

    My fingers are crossed for you. You deserve the best that anyone has to offer.

    Jeff Deutsch


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