You know, trust is a funny thing. A lot has been said about it by many people who know more about it than I, but for me, trust is an ongoing investment which is determined by its returns. If I trust someone and he is not worthy of that trust, I'm not going to reinvest my trust in him again. If he is worthy of it, I will increase my investment. That's the way I feel now.
You probably know all about this, but it's new to me. I haven't been a trustworthy person very long. The fact is, and it is kind of embarrassing, but the fact is I couldn't be trusted at all a couple of years ago. It was almost as though I had a mental block against it. After thinking this over for these few trustworthy years, I've come to the conclusion that I couldn't be trusted because I didn't trust myself.
Mother would ask me to take out the trash as she was leaving for work and I'd say, "Sure, Mom, I won't forget." But, I would forget -- because I didn't place any value in myself.
I knew there was trusting going on around me, but it didn't seem important. I took it for granted. I trusted my parents to be my parents and to love and take care of me. I trusted my teachers to teach me the right thing, to be fair with me, and to grade me according to the effort I put forth. Later in life I also trusted my boss at work to reward me for my effort and to be fair with me. But, I took these things for granted. And I didn't see that it worked the other way too.
I used these three examples to show how long it took me to realize how important trust is. The first big step came when my parents separated. My trust in permanence was shattered, but I was still too young to know that it had been their desire to keep my trust and that of my brothers and sisters which had already kept them together longer than they wanted. And I am still weeding misinformation from my mind which was planted by my teachers and nurtured by my trust in them. I only recently realized that they, like my parents, also were doing the best they knew how to keep that trust they held so dear.
The last big step in my lesson happened only a few years ago and led me onto a road of change which has taken me far and will continue to do so. I'd been working exceptionally hard for a particular boss and at the end of the job I called the office only to find that the firm had closed out and gone.
Those were three pretty heavy investments of trust, and losing them got through to me loud and clear. In fact, I see now that trust is the basis of all human relationships. A bold statement? Sure, but what living marriage is not built on trust? What parent/child relationship, what friendship, what love? And which, if any of these, survives without trust?
It is the basis of human activity. Another bold one? You wouldn't take a step if you didn't trust your other leg to hold you up. Would you drive through a green light if you didn't trust the opposing light to be red? I'm writing this trusting you will read and like it.
But, giving trust is not all that's important. Getting trust is important too. And I had begun to wonder where I could get it long before it came to me. It is so simple. All I had to do was be worthy of it. Sometimes this takes time, but sooner or later it happens -- if I'm worthy.
It is also contagious. The more I'm trusted, the more I live up to that trust. I was standing at a bus stop at four in the morning on my way to the watch factory where I worked. An old man was walking his dog and stopped to talk to me, and, when he found out I was working at a watch factory, he took his old gold watch off and handed it to me, asking if I would put a new stem in it for him. Crazy?
Well, his name was Lou, and I had never seen him before, but the way he placed complete trust in me made me feel as though we were old friends. It also forced me to be trustworthy.
Anyway, a friend at the factory put a new stem in the watch and I returned it to the house Lou had pointed out to me that morning. He tried to pay me -- with money, an old fishing pole, and an invitation to dinner, but the stem hadn't cost me anything.
What he had already done for me was beyond payment.