Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Spiritual Lessons

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Trust. A small little word with a lot of hurt behind it. Love. A smaller word, with just as much pain.

Anyone else in the world a person of extremes? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who struggles with moderation. I blame some of that on my genes. If you trace my lineage back far enough I'm convinced we Hutto's were Vikings. Moderation probably wasn't in their vocabulary any more than it's in mine. And then add my Sicilian blood from my mom...and yeah. I'm doomed.

So as a young girl, when I trusted – I trusted entirely. I trusted everyone I loved. In my world, you were either a bad guy, or a good guy. Black and white. And the good guys, I trusted.

I've always believed the best of everyone first. Call it what you will: optimism, naivete, childhood – but it's all I know; it's me. Every person is made in the image of God, and everyone has a God-given personality that is unique and beautiful, and somehow I was gifted (cursed?) with the ability to see that in people as soon as I met them.

I wasn't necessarily a sweet child. But deeply sincere. Everything I ever endeavored came from the farthest recesses of my soul; and it was natural for me to paste my heart to window panes. When I shared myself, I shared all of me. Transparent. Sensitive. Passionate. And why not share all of me? I didn't know the art of handing out pieces.

And as you can imagine I was disappointed by people. I remember a friend telling me she thought it was sweet that I could share so much of myself, but that she didn't intend on doing that. It was too scary.

I was hurt by people. Close souls who trampled my heart. Betrayal. Harsh words. No appreciation. Abandonment. Or even simpler – At work I met the most darling woman. She is eighty three, five foot (maybe), a hundred pounds with pure white hair. She loves to plant flowers and lives with a goose in her house. She's Irish with sparkling eyes and underneath her quavery voice and many wrinkles is enough spunk to see her to 100 years old. The only problem: she's dying of cancer. Our job is to travel that journey with her and make her as comfortable as possible. As soon as I found out, I thought – why do I fall in love with people that destiny is bound to hurt me with? I wrote in my journal – “I can't pick one human being that's easy to love. Or is there no such thing? Is humanity hard to love?”

I was devastated by people. Someone I respected. Those who should have known better. Gave away my heart to have it handed back – in a million pieces. The injustice. The sobbing. The anger. I remember wishing I was reserved and mysterious. That I could rip my heart off my sleeve and be like the quiet, normal people I knew. Everyone is intrigued by introverts. Maybe no one wanted to be my friend because I wasn't exciting. They could have all of me from the beginning – there wasn't anything to explore, pursue, figure out. Maybe people thought I was shallow because I so readily shared the deep parts of my soul. The more wounds I accumulated the more tempting it was to hide. To close off my heart to humanity, bad guys, and good guys.

And where has that left me?

I had two choices. To close the door to humanity and never trust again. It is possible. It sounds cliche or dramatic – but it's an easy thing to do. It's the safe and lonely route to take. Anger is easier than trust. It's the cop-out. It's self preservation. Defensive default. Self preservation and anger aren't wrong in and of themselves but I think we were created to trust. I know people who have decided not to trust anyone. They are miserable people. They are either bitter, frightened, lonely, or all three. They are safe. Safe from people, safe from trust, safe from love. 

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”  -- C.S. Lewis 

Or I could realize that not everyone is worth trusting. Even some “good guys”. There are levels of friendships. I'm not obligated to share myself with everyone. I'm allowed to pick who I wish to be vulnerable with.

Of course I'm still a person of extremes, so those I choose to trust I still inevitably trust with all my heart. And they still hurt me. Trustworthy people are going to hurt me. And people I trust can hurt me so much easier than those I don't trust. Pain is part of relationships; it's inevitable. There isn't such a thing as pain-free trust. Or pain-free love.

I was sitting across the restaurant table with my Dad last night. A man I decided a couple years ago was a man worth trusting. And I'm so glad I did. He is worth my trust. Worth the pain. He loves me back, and chooses to trust me too.  I am not an easy person to love, and yet he loves me back.
 I was telling him about a relationship that pained me. I told him how I keep reaching out and pulling my hand back, bloody. I vented about how I have chosen to continue the friendship, to keep wiping the blood off, only to have them accuse me. Pick at old wounds. His face softened. Instead of feeling defensive for me, he simply stated that it sounded kinda like the relationship we have with Christ. And even though that wasn't what I wanted to hear, it brought me back to some times I've apologized to God for my unfaithfulness to Him. The times I realized He still wanted to be my friend, even after I hadn't talked to Him all week. Even after I told Him that He didn't care and I was angry with Him. You know those relationships where if you could draw a picture to describe it, you'd have yourself at a door, in the rain, knocking? He waits. He knocks. And I leave Him out in the rain. And yet He has never forsaken me. He continually holds my hand through the darkest of times. He reminds me of Himself, gives me strength, listens, cares. God took the risk of loving humanity, even when he foreknew that we would deny him, curse him, reject him.

I've decided I want to love people. And I want to trust a few of them. It is too exhausting to preserve myself from everyone. And it's lonely. And it's even painful. Some people I've let go. And some I've gone back to. This time when I hand over my heart, I'm giving them permission to break it. I don't expect to keep it fully intact. Because they are human. And humans break hearts. And those I trust I know are going to do everything in their power to cherish the fact that I'm trusting them with something so fragile.

And there is a difference between loving someone and trusting them. I love quite a few people that I've chosen not to trust. But everyone I trust, I also love. With all of me.

I've come to the wild conclusion that trust is a dangerous thing. But coupled with love, it's beautiful and certain people are worth trusting. Even with the risk of them hurting me. And it's given me the ability to allow others to trust me. I desire to be trustworthy.

Toni. A small extreme person with hurts.

Addendum: Who is learning how to love and trust again.

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1 comment:

  1. Loved this Toni. So true. Thanks for sharing it.