I think the only person in the entire world that understands the reference in the title is my older sister. It will come into play though, I assure you. Have you ever noticed that trust seems to be making itself very scarce these days? It seems like hearing that "trust issues" were the culprit in a failed relationship is an almost daily occurrence. I certainly cannot speak for anyone else, but in my own life it has been a huge stumbling block for me. I think at the root of the issue, trust is nothing more than knowing another person; knowing someone, but also becoming comfortable with that other human knowing you. The last half of the definition is the kicker for me. I love getting to know people, but people getting close to me scares me to death. And I know I am not alone in that regard. We are a protective race. This protective nature leads to us guarding our deepest self. There are obviously people who are more comfortable with opening themselves up to trust, but I think, on a certain level, a majority of people are nervous about letting someone else get to know them on a deep level.
As I personally grew into my adult years, I never gained a firm grip on how to trust people. I chose instead to construct safety barriers. As people grew closer to me, they become acquainted with pre-determined answers and traits that I was comfortable with and that I could control. The thing about barriers is that they become taller and more complex as life progresses and and soon they become walls. Further down the line, they close all around you. What does it mean to be walled in? For me it came in the form of distance. Distance from people who I wanted to be close to, but for some reason I could not make myself grow towards. Distance is a quiet menace. It hurts, but at the same time it is incredibly difficult to pin down. It can be felt, but not seen. People who attempted to get close to me could definitely feel that there were walls between them and me, but there is nearly nothing you can do about someone who closes their self off from the world. Since those days, I have made steps towards becoming someone who trusts, but still there are things that I do not understand about trust. I think that trust is a process though. Perhaps it is not all meant to be grasped at once. Trusting too soon can lead to being hurt and betrayed, but refusing to trust leads to bitterness. Somewhere in the middle there is a healthy place that we are all looking for.
My dad and I work together (and by that I mean I work for him) so we spend a lot of time together during the days. One day recently I was loading an axle into the back of a customers truck. Let me frame the scenario a bit. The truck was brand new and very fancy. By my best estimate, it was probably worth roughly 60,000 dollars. The axle going into the back of this truck was worth close to 1,000 dollars. I was driving a forklift worth several thousand dollars, carrying the axle towards this brand new truck. As I approached the back of the truck I saw my dad. He was standing to my left. When I was in position to load the axle into the truck, something unfortunate happened. I had to raise the axle to such a height that I could not see the truck at all. Without prompting, my dad appeared at my side and said these simple words, "Come on in. I've got you." So without a clear view of the truck, axle or even people for that matter, I began to drive forward. In fact I took my eyes off of the ground in front of me and focused all of my attention on my dad's hand. He was slowly waving me forward and directing me. In that moment I realized that I was learning what it means to trust. There was a ton of money at stake if I hit something with the gigantic forklift, and yet I wasn't watching it at all. I know my dad on such a level that I knew he would not let me hit anything.
I think trust can work like that with anyone. For a lot of years, I could not make myself believe that anyone would ever care enough to put me in front of themselves. That is a vital component to trust. That day, my dad put me in front of himself and took control of the situation. He was the one making sure that the truck, the axle, and everyone involved stayed safe. I was only watching his hand. I often wonder of God in heaven is begging me to take the same approach with him that I take with my dad. What would my life look like if took my eyes off the things that I think are important and instead watched for God's hand; slowly waving me away from danger. It's a powerful thought to say the least.
I know that I am not the only person in history to ever build walls around myself. It happens all the time. I am learning every day what it means to trust people, and how to deconstruct those walls. I look forward to meeting and trusting new people, and I know that we all have the ability to trust. Don't rush into it or out of it. Trust is a lot like a turtle (just wait my friends...) slow and steady wins the race. Just start the race.
(Thanks for reading today. Follow me on Twitter if you wanna chat: @MattHillEC.)