Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trust, or, Can We Be Honest for a Moment?

A note to you, dear readers: this started as something I was writing in my notebook when I was frustrated. It turned into... something else. I hope that you find it compelling. There are a lot fewer bells and whistles and pictures and hyperlinks than my usual blog posts.

So here's my dysfunction: I expect that, when people tell me something, especially people that I trust, I expect that what they tell me is objectively true. That doesn't mean that they really want what they say to be true, but rather that it is, beyond a doubt, true. Because why should you have confidence in something that could be false?

And this person that I trust, if they have any doubts in what they're saying, I would hope that they would be upfront about those doubts. Because if I trust you, it is in part because I know that you can be honest. Being honest about something, even if you know that I won't like what you have to say, does not compromise my trust in you. In fact, since we are being honest, I know that I can trust you more.

I am of the opinion that we can talk all day about what we want to be true, or the way we think things ought to be in the world. Let's talk all day, you and me, friend, and let's solve the world's problems. But when it comes down to what we actually do, I want your honesty. And your compulsion for action. Let's yolk ourselves together, friend, because that's what friends do.

If the outlook is bleak, tell me it is bleak.
I'll grit my teeth and dig in to face the world with you.

If you come bearing bad news, give me the bad news.
If it's bad news about me, I can take it.
If it's bad news about you, I will grieve with you, my friend.

When you need to share that you think you've found the Pearl of Great Price,
I'll celebrate with you and my heart will be glad for you.


If you tell me something is true only because you want it to be true,
I can't let myself live in your illusion.

If you tell me something is true because you don't know better,
Tell me when you find you were wrong, I'll forgive you.

If you tell me something is true, knowing that it is false, just because you know I will act on it as if it were true,
Fuck you.

This is my dysfunction:

I can be a crotchety old man, talking about kids these days and how things were better "back in my day" (... I feel like I can actually say this now that I'm working with kids who were born when I was in high school).

I can be that hopeless optimist, saying that we can overcome all odds, friend. We can win the good fight, else I will die shoulder to shoulder with you.

But these personas are often indulgences that I give to myself. Vanities that I give into when the world is just a bit too sinister or bleak or seemingly meaningless. When we are faced with that kind of harsh mortality, we want to cope with something else that will let us escape. 

So let's be honest with each other. Let's trust each other. Let's do something together, my friend.

We've been given a gift in this world, and that is the world itself. It is broken and given to us, because we ourselves are broken and given to service.

Gandhi said that we must be the change we wish to see in the world. 

Pope Francis said that what we do is pray for the hungry and and then we feed them. Because that how prayer works.

Sir Robert Baden-Powell said that we should leave the world a little better than when we found it, so that when our time comes to die, we can die happy, knowing that we did not waste the time we've been given. 

I can't do this alone, friend. 

I can't single-handedly save the world; That's already been done by someone significantly more holy than me. I just try to follow in his way.

I want to trust you.

So that we can start to change this world for the better.

Will you trust me?