“Love many, but trust few.” So read the words in an answer to a question I offered to Ugandan men in my continued research. (I am looking into how Ugandan men describe the tools they use to navigate life.)
The question was about which Ugandan proverbs help the participants understand what is expected of them as “men” in society.
One answer was: “Love many, but trust few.”
As I unpack the answer, I am challenged and convicted.
I see a vulnerability (“love many”) that is quickly corrected by self-preservation (“but trust few”).
This is perhaps one of the classic dichotomies of this human experience: the balance between giving and preserving.
As I examine our current political realities (including the fears of my left-most friends, the convictions of my right-most friends, and the great fallibility of my own reasoning), I see this tension between love and preservation, and I am left with this question: “So where do we go from here?”
I suggest asking ourselves three questions:
- Have we been here before? What does history have to tell us? Look it up. Think about it. “Study about it” before you “panic about it.“ We are not the first humans.
- Why am I afraid? I used to think that the suffix “-phobia” was overused. But the longer I live and the longer I encounter brick walls (physically, spiritually and mentally), I realize that these walls are constructed out of fear. But if our strength comes from the Lord or from other concrete capacities, why build the wall?
- Might I be better? Throughout my life, my parents have told me that they hope I will be [even] better than they. It used to confuse me. But now I say the same to my kids. The privilege of standing on the shoulders of our spiritual/adopted/biological elders is not to be discounted, but rather to be considered as paramount in this question about where we go from here.
Greatness happens–with purpose, instruction, and thought.