I am blessed with many friends. There are a host of people who would come to my aid in an hour of need, at least I think they would. But, I am a male Johns and we are blessed with a healthy delusion of self-sufficiency. Asking for help is just not in our DNA. My friends seem to understand this and press through to my aid when I need it.
There are friends who help when your ox is in the ditch and there are friends who you turn to when it is you who is in the ditch. They are the friends who listen. One difference in the two types of friends is trust. I doesn’t take a lot of trust to ask for and accept help with a practical problem. It takes great trust to open up and share inner hurt and struggles, to be vulnerable.
I have learned that trust is a precious gift that cannot be returned. It remains for as long as it lives in the hands of the one trusted. It can be nurtured or ignored, but not given back. The validity of trust is determined not by the one who is trusting but by the one being trusted. It is established by the receiver’s commitment to the giver. If the giver is loved the trust will be cherished. If the receiver has ambiguity or disdain for the one who placed the trust it will be diminished or destroyed.
Most of us have very few friends whom we trust with our vulnerable selves. We have learned to keep the number small through the pain of betrayal. Yet we hunger for someone with whom we can entrust our innermost selves. I am grateful to have many friends who I believe to be trustworthy and a few who have thus proven themselves.
March 27, 2010