I remember it like it happened yesterday. She was 14, and in my office for a check-up. We talked through some of the normal stuff that I like to know – how she is doing in this foster home, her school grades, whether she has good friends. Oh, and what about boys? On that day the conversation was easy, although it hadn’t always been. After a few moments of catching up, she handed me a notebook. The cover was faded blue and torn a little bit. It was also a little discol-ored, as if water had spilled on it. Or perhaps tears. I didn’t say any-thing, but my eyes must have asked the question. “It’s my story,” she answered. “My counselor made me write it, then told me I had to find someone I trust to show it to. I have carried it around a while, but I decided I wanted to show it to you.”
I opened the pages slowly, carefully. Contained there were stories, poems, and drawings, each representing a piece of her history. Sto-ries about her family, about loss and grief, but also joy and excite-ment. Pictures of her siblings, who she rarely saw but thought of of-ten. I sat next to her on the exam table as we thumbed through the pages, and she filled me in on even more details than the pages con-tained.
It was a holy moment – a sacred time. One that changed me. Like many people, somewhere between childhood and adulthood I quit trusting people. Got burned a few times. But the truth is that trusting people is part of our DNA. Without it we aren’t fully able to engage the humanity around us. Aren’t fully able to enjoy all that a relation-ship offers. It is not something to be entered into carelessly, to be sure. But if we are able to trust and be trusted, we will experience an unusual depth to our relational interactions.
That kid needed someone to trust. And I needed the reminder that so do I.
By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)