Trust. It’s an interesting thing, when you think about it.

You pull up to an intersection and a man dressed in filthy Levis and a tattered shirt approaches your window. He is holding a sign that says “Homeless. Anything Helps”. You pretend not to see him and think to yourself, yeah right. You mean anything will help you go buy some beer. The light changes and you drive away.

I know I’ve done and thought that.

You are standing in line at the supermarket. A different man, this time very well dressed with neatly combed hair, reaches out and touches your baby’s fingers, He smiles at your child and says “you are a real cutie, aren’t you”. You quickly find a way to move the cart out of his reach and think, get your child molesting paws away from my kid.

I know I’ve done and thought that.

A friend you haven’t heard from for years, calls you out of the blue and starts making small talk. Your immediate thought is, what is this person after? Nobody calls after this long just to chat. Your friend moves the conversation to say that he has a new opportunity that he wants to talk to you about. You think to yourself, I knew it. You find a way to end the call and hang up. You never hear from that friend again.

I know I’ve had that happen.

A waitress is overly-kind to you while she is serving your food. She constantly compliments everything about you. She checks in on you too much. Shortly into your meal you think, you’re so fake. You’re after nothing but a big fat tip. You finish your meal and leave her your regular tip. Maybe less.

I know I’ve done and thought that.

Why do I do that? Why do any of us do that?

What has happened that we so quickly label others as the very things we’d be horrified to be labeled as ourselves? Thieving, dishonest, conniving, back stabbing, bad intentioned, blood sucking, schmucks.

What ugly thoughts!

Yet, that’s as much accommodation as we often afford others.

Why?

Holy crap. What would it hurt for me to give that homeless guy a couple bucks? Who the hell cares if he spends it on beer? Maybe beer is a step up for him from the harder stuff that knocked him onto the streets in the first place. Maybe, just maybe, he’s actually going to spend it on food (homeless people do eat, right?). Maybe, he really is a desperate human being who is trying to change his situation.

Wow. Do I have some sort of ridiculous attachment to money? Am I that attached to two dollars that I can’t stick my hand out of my car and give it to another man?

The answer is no. There is something deeper. I know, because every time there is a fireman standing outside of my car holding a boot, I do look. I do roll the window down.

No, what I have, and what most of us have, is trust issues. We hold people guilty until they prove themselves to us. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we trust people until we have been betrayed?

Can these ugly thoughts really be worth the nagging feelings that hit me as I drive away? I’m not talking guilt. I’m talking about a feeling of nothing. It so easily could have been elation or heightened self-worth racing through me. But instead, I chose nothing.

Is holding onto these ugly thoughts really worth losing an old friend over? Did I really not love him enough to show genuine interest in what was so important to him? Did I really hurt our friendship because he had the audacity to try and involve me with something he was currently passionate about? What a friend I am was.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!