As the holidays approach I have been dwelling on the greatest gifts I have been given in my life. What I have come to need most, these gifts, have paved the way to how I try (and often fail) to approach life with others – with grace, forgiveness and trust.
I pursue these things as well as I can, even at the risk of being made foolish as a result. I have never liked the maxim “you have to earn my trust” because of how it forces you into a particularly negative view of humanity.
It is true I may protect myself from abuse on occasion by adopting said maxim – but how much do I lose?
I prefer to trust people and leave them the opportunity to erode such trust, should they choose to. Maybe that is naïve but it is my choice and the consequences are mine to bear. I wonder where I would be if certain people had not chosen to trust me and I shudder at the thought.
I am thankful for the grace, forgiveness and trust people have placed in me at times when perhaps I did not deserve it.
In my life I have required so much grace to be bestowed upon me that I fear I will never be capable of returning the favours. I am an opinionated loudmouth who often rushes in where angels fear to tread and on many occasions it is not simply me that feels the repercussions but those closest to me.
As I move forward in life how can I not take into consideration these gifts that have been given to me? How can I not extend the benefit of the doubt to others? How can I not trust that others are worth knowing despite what some may say or gossip?
I have lashed out at others in times of great stress and pain in my life. I have wounded people who have nothing to do with the pain that caused me to wound and they have forgiven me time and again. Am I not bound then to do the same?
As I read in the areas of leadership, management or just run of the mill social media posts it seems the general trend is toward protecting oneself and offering excuses as to why things like trust, grace and forgiveness should be doled out sparingly, if at all.
The interesting thing about this trinity of gifts is that they require us to be people in motion…to be constantly in a state of thinking and rethinking, assessing and reassessing. This is tiring work.
It is far easier to excise these things from our lives, make a decision or judgement about people, and never have to revisit it. I like and respect these people, forever, and I dislike and distrust these people, forever.
Sadly this is the reality for many. Liked or not you are relegated to a place without much thought or attendance to who you are and how you change. I have done this many times despite working very hard to avoid it – it is the very gravity of our decision-making world.
Grace, forgiveness and trust require us to become astronauts in a way. We must break free of the gravity of judgement and, through sheer force of will, ascend beyond it to something higher.
I realize this all makes me sound holier than thou but in reality it is simply me speaking to myself what I need to hear most and inviting you in to listen alongside me, perhaps even coaxing me along in the process.