The big guy nearly seven feet four hundred pounds, handed me $5,000 in one hundred dollar bills and told me I could buy whatever I wanted for the group. I was sixteen and hadn’t ever seen that much money at one time, let alone handled it.

It was the first time someone handed me cash and told me to use it almost as I pleased. It was the first time I’d wonder why trust had been given and the first time I could purposefully use money as a means to express love. Since he didn’t ask what I would buy I wondered if he was super naive, which at his age and experience didn’t make sense to me.

I’d only been there six months but always worked really late so was there when stragglers came in, when inevitability they’d pull up a chair and talk about their day, their friends, wives and families. All of them were men. Nine. There were nine men who came in late and one woman who left early each and every day.

I’d felt to know them well enough to know what to buy for the Christmas dinner. Everyone’s gift was custom made, all the wives cried when they opened their gifts, and if memory serves me correct, I’d focused my customization efforts only on wives and children which today I have slight regret about. The guys were always tired when they talked to me; tired and frustrated – if not by work, then by life but without exception every one of them was working to keep a happy wife.

This memory arose as someone recently told me to create a job for myself. It happens every other year or so and when it does something inside of me feels warm. It’s a feeling of acceptance not for what I can do but for who I am and the potential of what I can create. It’s the same feeling of being handed money and being trusted to spend it for the benefit of someone else. I don’t think people know I aim to use it for love but maybe they do. Either way it doesn’t matter.

No one tells us as kids that trust is based on a set of expectations but it is. Always; not sometimes.

Broken trust is broken expectation.

No one tells us as adults that broken expectations can’t be glued together by apology. No one tells us that the least abusive way to trust is to remove expectation. No one tells us that self-abuse is a cycle of broken self-expectations.

So while it engenders a sense of warmth when others place their trust in me, I try to remain grounded in the idea that fostering warmth must come from within, that I not be dependent on another’s ideals of who I can or can’t be.

Santa Claus isn’t real but the spirit engendered in giving of ourselves is the realest package we can deliver to someone’s heart. Life will always support us while doling out tangibles unexpected. No matter the timing or depth of your pockets, continue to support yourself and continue to support others in Love.

That is a trust that can be shared and fostered without false expectation.

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