The Giver not the Gift
Every now and then, I run into a client with trust issues. Heck, every client I have has trust issues. Rightly so, if you hear their story, it makes sense that they should not ever trust people. They have been dropped, betrayed, violated, hurt in the most horrendous ways. I tell them it makes sense they have trust issues. But after a while, when we've process the trauma, after we have grieved and we have healed and rested, we find ourselves in this place where we are finally strong enough to love again. Or at least, want to be connected. What do we do then, with this issue of trust? In this space is where I find the importance of a Higher Power. The clients I work with have varying degrees of connection with Him. Not all of my clients are believers and I work with many 12-step-ers who have to define for themselves a Higher Power.
Depending on their faith in Him, and even Christians that have been hurt, betrayed by the church and other believers -- I tell them -- absolutely mistrust people, people have to earn your trust. Trust isn't free. Love is free. Trust is earned and paid for and verified through time. But if you have a secure, time-tested relationship with a Higher Power, do you think you can trust Him as the giver and see people as simply a gift ? This is how I reconcile the imperfection of girlfriends, husbands, jobs etc. and the innate human need to want to trust and connect with people. This is how I reconcile the fragility and fallibility of human relationships with the necessary ingredient of trust in an intimate relationship.
I see God as the Giver and people as gifts, not givers. They are simply gifts from my Higher Power. The Giver is constant, time-tested, reliable. I have tested Him for years and He has come through for me. People are only good because they are from Him. "Every good and perfect gift comes from above." Our problem comes when we become attached to the gift, instead of the Giver. Our problem comes when we need them to be reliable, consistent, good every time. People can't be.
Our husbands, despite all their good intentions, will drop us sometime. Heck, I tell my clients -- I will drop them sometime. I don't want to, and when I do, I will take ownership and responsibility. But everyone is imperfect. God is reliable. And in the moment, because people are his gifts, we can receive them with open hearts; because the One who is loving us is the Giver. God is loving us through them. Because it's God, and because God is good. I can be open-hearted and trusting in the experience of love and care, I am receiving through you. I don't have to worry about your motives, screen you through my criteria for good friendships, I don't have to screen for red flags or worry if you are moving away. I can simply enjoy you for who you are today. Today, God is loving me through you. I want to be available to His Love. Tomorrow, He might not. He may love me through someone else. I can enjoy you, treasure the work He is doing through you in my life, but I don't have to insist you stay forever. God can use different people to love on me at different times.
I tell my clients, God can love through our enemies without their permission. He can love us, through a stranger, through a friend, through a random person at the coffee shop.
I can receive it, I can breathe into it, but I don't have to cling to it. Because these are simply gifts and not the Giver.