Her voice was melodic and well worn. I could tell, even without seeing her, she was at least a septuagenarian (in her seventies). She left a simple voice mail but her closing statement gave me pause...
“I trust I’ll hear from you soon.”
She trusted me. I know it was, like she is, an antiquated relic from bygone days, but it struck me. She trusted me.
With ADHD, simple things like calls are difficult. There’s nothing to “pin” the moment to. Fact exchanging phone calls are the worst… post-it and paper at my desk, notes app on my phone, Subway napkin on my counter, never sear the facts in my brain quite right.
But she trusted she would hear from me. What was it about the phrase?
Ahhhh, it was Jesse Collver in eleventh grade. Trust flooded back, setting my heart to beat wildly and calming my anxieties all in the same sweet memory. Full disclosure, I had a high school boyfriend and Jesse was not him. Also, I think it’s safe to say almost every girl in high school pined for Jesse – these facts may come in handy later, so hang on to them and follow me on a journey into trust.
The year was 1994 and the high school boyfriend (I later found out) rigged a survey allowing me to become a Natural Helper. I remember little about the group except for the retreat where Jesse became the definition of trust for the rest of my life.
All new Natural Helpers went on a weekend getaway to a lodge, in the middle of nowhere, to learn how to be better helpers. There was a bus ride and other workshops and food and girls like the gregarious Gwen giggling in bunks far too late into the night, but I only remember Jesse... and trust.
I trusted few people back then (or now if I’m completely honest). I knew people meant well but rarely followed through. Bad things had happened to me and people let me down. I trusted no one, but I watched everyone. Words and actions, over time, could eventually transfer a person into my “safe” category. That didn’t necessarily translate to “trusting” them, but at least I felt a measure of safety around them.
Jesse was safe, probably because he was precisely my definition of handsome and had never said or done anything to me to make me doubt the quality of his teenaged character. And there we were, a bus full of kids, in a wooden lodge in the forest… and we had to play a trust game.
It was simple; one person steps into the middle of a human circle and falls backward with arms across chest and eyes closed, the others catch. It was all fun and games to catch. I was well acquainted with catching what falls and trying to manage it. But when my turn came; I couldn’t fall back. I don’t know how many times I couldn’t fall but I remember the instructor coaching me to trust, prompting the kids to assure me they were trustworthy and still I couldn’t. Then Jesse made trust real.
He walked up behind me, this big, strong, safe young man; his heat, at my back, blocked out the noise and giggles and frustration building inside me. His nearness, his presence thrilled me. HE was at my back! HE whom I had admired from a far for a year and a half of high school days, which was pretty much forever at sixteen. He was with me. And he spoke…
Lips pressed gently to my ear; two hushed, warm words whispered… “Trust me.” His breath tickled and teased and pulled at my insides. My breath caught somewhere between in and exhale. In that moment, everything in me belonged to him. HE was trustworthy. I knew there was absolutely, 100% no way he would be there, if he intended to let me hit the ground. Heart beating wildly; I nodded. I would trust him. I crossed my arms, closed my eyes and fell… into arms at the ready.
That was trust. That is trust. To this day, when I think of trusting someone, I go back to falling into his arms. I don’t know how it would have played out had a girlfriend or boy with whom I had no secret affection or attraction to whispered to me. But it happened the way it did, and I know trust because of it.
My sweet septuagenarian trusted that she’d hear back from me, and though the facts of that call-back conversation lay scribbled on a bright yellow post-it I may soon forget, I didn’t break her trust.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” From the moment I read this verse in Isaiah (30:21), I thought of Jesse at my back, strong and warm behind me, gentle and safe beside me, completely assuring inside me. I’m so grateful for this picture of trust and humbled to say I honestly trust the LORD this much. I don’t understand the circumstances of my life, but… I trust Him. He is my strength and my hope and my confidence. I trust the LORD with all my heart, mind, soul and spirit. May you also come to know something so trustworthy in your own life. If ever you want to talk about trusting Christ, I would be honored to speak with you!