How I Learned to Trust Again…

me walkingMy 7‑year-old son, Jere­mi­ah, has been suck­ing his thumb since birth. When he began devel­op­ing teeth, a cal­lous start­ed form­ing on his thumb in the area where teeth hit skin. About that same time I began devel­op­ing a very pla­ton­ic friend­ship with a man I met at church.

It was slow at first, a brief hel­lo here, a wave good­bye there. I’d see him on Sun­days and he’d ask how my week was to which I would recap for him the hap­pen­ings at work, my car trou­ble, and the “new” thing I was doing to curb my then 2‑year-old’s thumb suck­ing habit. He start­ed sit­ting with me occa­sion­al­ly dur­ing ser­vice, or I with him, I’m not sure which. One day he sug­gest­ed lunch after church, to which I reluc­tant­ly obliged.

“You know I got the kids with me,” I said. The thumb suck­er and the oth­er one.

“It’s fine. Bring them,” he answered. So I did.

The months turned into years and we learned each oth­er, our life sto­ries, sour love affairs, brush­es with the law, encoun­ters with God. Once he bought me a gift for Christ­mas, which I prompt­ly returned. I can’t take this. I’m see­ing some­one. I dat­ed a lot and I told him. Most­ly cor­po­rate types, tai­lored suits, pol­ished shoes, a stark con­trast to who he was. Anoth­er time I went away on busi­ness and came back a week lat­er heart­bro­ken and torn. He was there with kind words.

Fri­day nights when I had no oth­er plans, he’d come by with food and a movie. When my car broke down, he was there to give me a ride. When I was run­ning late, he’d get my chil­dren from school. When I was sim­ply lone­ly, I’d call him and we’d talk. So I asked him one day,

“How come you’re so nice to me?”

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