PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 

Ashes


Through the course of our lives, people come and go and it's next to impossible to find very many people worthy of our trust. My address book is now nearly tattered and crying for a replacement. It is crammed with names of people I've encountered along the way: relatives, former classmates, former officemates, acquaintances in my church organization, etc. As I contemplate on purchasing a replacement, I noticed how most names are now begging to be stricken off my book because they couldn't stand my anger. Most names don't mean anything to me anymore, not just because of changing circumstances, but largely because people have done something against me that I find very hard to forgive and forget. People have done certain things that make them stop being the endearing persons they were to me. People do things like betrayal, things that say people can't be trusted at all - oftentimes, if not all the time.

I know I can be found wanting in that regard as much as the next person but still, I am disillusioned by the fact that loyalty is rarer in this world than the rarest bird, the rarest rara avis. Your being loyal and trustworthy to the next person doesn't ensure receiving the same amount of loyalty and trust.

Losing a friend, my cousin R. once observed, is always painful, but only when you lose him as a friend. If you lose your former friend as a newfound enemy, there's hardly ever a feeling of regret; in place of regret, you only get great relief.

This cynical view makes sense when you're in the middle of being mad. Beginning a spanking-new address book won't automatically mean starting a new leaf either. Most likely, it's essentially starting a new book of names that will only be traitors of the future. What's the use of having a new one then? I thought I should always make do with the people I've got now, as much as they try to make do with me, because most of us will always be most of us.

"Do you ever have a best friend?" two people once asked me point-blank.

"I have none," I replied, not counting my little nephews, who are not yet contaminated by the plague of disloyalty.

"Why?" they wanted to know.

"Because I don't trust people," I said curtly without batting an eyelash. Clearly it meant to them, "Not even you," - to which they certainly took offense.

I was offensive but at least I was honest. "Sorry I simply don't trust you" hurts so much more than a simple rejection. Like they say, to be trusted is a far greater compliment than to be loved.

I guess all of us are naturally changeable, disloyal, untrustworthy, attributes that will be more likely a constant, owing to our fallen nature. We have to accept that fast or we live an illusory version of reality of human affairs. Other people take to adopting animals for pets and keeping them as kids and friends in place of people and, tragically, screeen off humanity from their sanitized world altogether.

All is not hopeless, though. Thank God I happen to believe in God, the only being I can trust. And I happen to believe in miracles, i.e., finding the rare person or persons whom I can trust if I choose to be worthy of trust myself. I think the universe has a way of rewarding you for the good things you decide to do.

If you have found at least one person whom you can trust, count yourself extraordinarily blessed. But if you're an atheist and your sense of morality is based on "Treat people nicely because they might be of use to you now or in the future," (I've actually met someone with this philosophy), then the world is a scary place for you.

I know I am just being so pessimistic because a lot of people have hurt me so much. Maybe I should remind myself this oft-quoted line as a solution to this universal plague: "People will always be untrustworthy. Be trustworthy anyway."

5.20.2000


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