We walked to school every day. That was the perk of living 3 blocks away and having older sisters. We loved walking with our neighbor friends and chattering as young girls would. One day, everything changed. Fear entered the routine and threatened our innocence.
Both the driver and the car were unfamiliar. Living in a small neighborhood, it was easy to spot strangers. When this one rolled down his window and asked a question, hesitation was our immediate response. Sensing our suspicion, he mentioned what a shame it was that we had to go to school on such a pretty day. As we contemplated our next move, he glanced in his rearview mirror and made his. In an instant, he was speeding down the road.
Not really understanding what had happened, we continued our journey toward school. When another unfamiliar car pulled up, you can be sure we were on high alert. This time, the driver put his car in park, got out, and stepped toward us. He produced a badge while walking toward us at a slow, non-threatening pace. Our skepticism must have been obvious, because he repeated his credentials several times.
We had no idea we had mingled with a kidnapper. We knew something wasn’t right, but that was the extent of our awareness. It wasn’t until our “protector” arrived that we knew we had been interloping with danger. He asked us several questions before accompanying us to school. We were held in a tension of fear of being in trouble and having our “normal” threatened.
I’ve been thinking about that morning when fear moved in without an invitation. Innocent trust was transformed into cautious hesitation, which was a necessary adjustment given the situation. Somewhere along life’s journey, without me even knowing, my blind trust was permanently traded for hesitant trust [at best].
Only one of the strangers intended harm. The other intended to protect three unsuspecting girls. One intended to manipulate our innocent trust. The other tried to earn it. Fear was a new companion on our walk to school, but we still walked. The dangerous exchange gave us new eyes, but it didn’t keep us from taking the same route to school.
Here’s the thing. People, present company included, make terrible mistakes. They do unthinkable things that wound our heart and break our trust, but not everyone is accountable for the thing that one person did. The stranger who attempted to kidnap us was the only one responsible for violating our trust. The undercover cop wasn’t on the hook for what happened moments prior.
Today is a good day to let someone off the hook for something we’ve held them accountable for that they didn’t do. Is anyone trying to hand you flowers while experience tells you to take cover? Maybe you’ve been burned by one friend, so you’ve cut yourself off from any other potential friendships. If someone or something violated your blind trust, are you holding everyone around you responsible?
Grieve the things that hurt you, but don’t forget to live again. Be cautious as you approach new things, but don’t forget to trust again. Be reserved in the unfamiliar, but don’t be hard-hearted.
Experience is an excellent teacher. Heal from difficult ones, then embrace the personal growth opportunity. Avoid letting one experience imprison you from a lifetime of future opportunity.
#momentoftruthmonday #trust #innocence #lifelesson