I find there are two choices that then make that kind of trust possible. The first is to choose to trust, without doubt, that I too am of love, and to claim that. When the unfolding of love becomes a bodily experience, a strong reference point develops within. One gift inherent in this experience is that of beginning to be able to feel that same jewel in every other being. This is the second choice – to first connect with that inner-most of each person we meet. Once we do, we may also observe ways in which they may not be allowing the expression of this soulful nature. When we choose to do this, it then becomes easier to accept them just as they are, easier to not need them to behave in any particular way, easier to not absorb energy from the outside of us, and easier to truly trust in the essence of them. This does not mean that we would then choose to still engage with someone who is being abusive. It is self-loving to want more than that, and so we may choose to have expression with some more than with others, but the minute we contract away from anyone, we actually hurt our self. Making a choice to not engage directly with someone when heart-felt intuition tells us that they may be harmful or dangerous is self-honoring. Yet it is still possible to trust through feeling the essence of the person, while also choosing to avoid an interaction based on observing their choice to not allow themselves to be this in expression. This way of being helps me to also become really honest with myself and notice when I too am not expressing from my inner-heart, and then knowing there is a choice in that moment to re-connect. This is amazing energy to explore in and feel for ourselves the possibility of living in this way. It is through feeling this in our own body that it is experienced as truth, rather than an idea or a belief.
I want to share a true story that exemplifies how miraculous it can be to choose to see everyone as a being of love whose essence is trust-worthy. It is the story of Larry Trapp, Cantor Michael Weisser and Julie Weisser. In 1991, the Weissers moved to the town of Lincoln, Nebraska where Cantor Weisser was to work at a local synagogue. Lincoln was also home to Larry Trapp, known as the ‘Grand Dragon’ of the Ku Klux Klan. As the Weissers were moving into their new home they received a call. The person on the other end said “You will be sorry you ever moved in, Jew Boy!” Similar phone calls and hate mail continued to arrive at their home, and the police suggested that it was likely the work of Larry Trapp. Trapp, they found out, was severely diabetic and in a wheelchair. Julie Weisser, while deeply disturbed by the evil Trapp was expressing, was also struck by how isolated and alone he must be, stuck in all of his hatred. Michael Weisser began to call Trapp and leave messages.
Some of the messages are below:
"Larry, why do you hate me? You don't even know me, so how can you hate me?"
"Larry, do you know that the first laws Hitler's Nazis passed were against people like yourself who had physical deformities, physical handicaps? Do you realize you would have been among the first to die under Hitler? Why do you love the Nazis so much?"
"Larry, when you give up hating, a world of love is waiting for you,"
After one of these messages, Larry Trapp picked up the phone.
He yelled at Weisser to stop harassing him, and Weisser replied by
"Well, I was thinking you might need a hand with something, and I wondered if I could help, I know you're in a wheelchair and I thought maybe I could take you to the grocery store or something."
This kindness from the very person he was persecuting began to wake Trapp up. After this, Trapp began to get more and more confused and remorseful for how he had been living. He called the Weissers and said "I want to get out, but I don't know how." Thus began an amazing friendship between the Weissers and Larry Trapp. He denounced the klan, wrote apologies to many people, and realized that we are all one clan. His health deteriorated so much that the Weissers took him in to their home and cared for him until the end of his life. He died holding their hands. There is a book written about this story called Not by the Sword: How a Cantor and His Family Transformed a Klansman by Kathryn Watterson. This is an amazing testament about what can happen when we continue to trust the love that resides even in someone who has run so much evil and done so much harm as Larry Trapp. So the next time you notice what it says on our dollar bill, you may choose to feel that nature in the person you are exchanging it with, and in yourself, and trust.