The first time I went on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, I encountered a profound life lesson, that of learning to accept help from others, to be vulnerable and, overall, to move from my preferred state of solitary independence to one of integrated community.
I have continued to learn, being repeatedly taught through life’s encounters and circumstances, that life is best lived with trust and faith, that believing in the best in others is ultimately uplifting.
I have come to enjoy, and even to value, being someone who tries to assume the best of others, not the worst. Sure, this means that I have been, at times, taken advantage of. A guy showed up after a huge snow storm offering to shovel our driveway and walk. I paid him up front and he left after only doing the walkway. Another time, I nearly let some scam company lock us into an expensive energy deal.
Each time I’ve had such encounters, I make a note that I should be more cautious. But at the same time, I try to resist actually changing how I see other people. Sure, I know that anything that sounds too good to be true obviously is, and to report as spam any emails I get asking me to write back quickly because one of their clients with the same last name as mine just left a large pile of unclaimed money!!
But when someone says, ‘I can keep an eye on that for you while you run in’, I like the feeling it gives me to trust that person. I like putting my trust in a stranger, in this community we have suddenly created together, and honour that with my confidence. It makes me feel part of something bigger than myself. Makes me feel good about the place I live, the people who live around me. To me, these feelings are worth a moderate risk (i.e. sure, you can watch my bag of groceries, but I’ll take my daughter with me).
So when situations arise when I am reminded of the need for caution, to get everything in writing... I feel a loss much greater than the circumstance at hand.