Who Can You Trust?

Who Can You Trust?

. . . or should that read “whom” . . . ?  I always get confused about that.  When I was a teenager, I had a poster on the wall with a photo of a panther lounging idly on the branch of a large tree, gazing directly into the well-focused lens of the camera.  The words printed below him said simply Trust Me”.  The conflict between the text and the image was obvious.  If only real life were so plain!

Lately I’ve been polling people on this subject, trying to gather a consensus of opinions.  The results have been all over the place, ranging from “no eye contact” to “shifty eyes”; from “white shoes on car salesmen” (I think that was from the 70s!) to “people who tell me ‘No Problem!'”; and even “contractors who wear white sunglasses” and “folks that set off my spidey sense”.  One cousin summed it up very nicely with this phrase:  “those whose actions don’t provide evidence to support their words.”

Did you ever see the show called “Lie to Me” on TV from 2009-2011?  It featured a man who was an expert in reading body language who often worked with police in helping to solve crimes.  He would interview a suspect, or sometimes watch a recorded conversation, and provide his opinion about their level of truthfulness.  He had an impressive record for accuracy.  Or as Burt Reynolds’ character said in a movie I saw years ago:  “Boys, I got myself a pretty good bullshit detector, and I can tell when somebody’s peeing on my boots and telling me it’s a rainstorm.”

And me?  Well, I’ve been burned before, more than once, and believe I’ve learned something from each of those experiences.  That’s not to say I can’t or won’t be fooled again, even though I’d rather not.  It’s a delicate balance, this world of social interactions, a dance with steps that can change without warning, mid-tune.  The number of people who are now traveling from their native countries to others keeps growing, and the accompanying cultural differences can offset our original mindsets. That makes for another filter through which we might need to sieve the incoming information before reaching a hypothesis.

So, what’s your take?  Are there other Red Flags that go up when you’re trying to decide if you can believe someone or not?  Feel free to click the button to Leave a Comment and tell us about it!  And in the meantime, as my Uncle David W. used to say:  “Look a little out!”

Feeling Lucky?

Feeling Lucky?

Do you believe in Luck?  Or Karma?  Divine Intervention and Blessings from Above?  Murphy’s Law?  Paying it Forward?  Hard work and clean living?  Or is everything predestined to happen as it will?

Think about how many clichés there are on this subject: beginner’s luck, luck of the draw, playing the hand we’re dealt, living a charmed life, wearing a bulls-eye on your back; sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug; the list could be endless.

Last year I read a novel by Wendell Berry titled Jayber Crow.  It’s a fictional memoir about life in small-town America, written from the viewpoint of the place’s barber.  Earlier in life Mr. Crow had been a theology student.  During his last conversation with one of his professors, though, he asked (and I’m paraphrasing here), why do we pray?  In the Lord’s Prayer, he explains, we quote “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” . . . shouldn’t that be it, right there?  Who are we to go on and on afterward, telling the Good Lord what we think His will ought to include?  The paragraphs describing that conversation gave me a mental slap upside the head which still leaves me wondering.  Mr. Berry (in the voice of Jayber Crow) posed a very interesting question.

Sometimes when people get good news about something that has had them considerably worried and stressed, they’ll exclaim on their great emotional relief that “God answered our prayers!”  But what if the result wasn’t as they’d wished?  Does that mean they think God didn’t answer?  That’s not how I understand it.  Mother always told me (and remember Rule #1:  Mother’s Always Right!)  that God has three answers:  Yes, No, and Wait a while.

My late brother-in-law Ben was fond of the phrase:  “God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.”  This was his mantra even through the year and a half he fought against the cancer that took him.  No matter what the test results said, whether he could eat or not, even knowing another grandchild was on the way who he’d likely not get to meet on this earth, Ben’s faith was unwavering.  “God is good, all the time.”

So, a few weeks ago when I spotted the four-leaf clover in the lawn that you see in the photo above, I didn’t pick it.  Instead, I looked up at toward the sky.  And I smiled.