All Betrayal is Self-Betrayal

“Into each life some rain must fall,” wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Ella Fitzgerald embellished it, singing, “Into each and every life some rain has got to fall, but too much of that stuff is fallin’ into mine.”

Been betrayed lately? Ever? By someone you trusted? Feels like that downpour Ella complained about, doesn’t it? And there’s no umbrella in sight.

Acts of betrayal are such bitter pills to swallow precisely because they do involve people we trust—a spouse, a business partner, a friend, a parent, or the poster boy for modern times, Bernie Madoff. And while betrayals don’t leave physical scars, the deep emotional and psychic wounds they inflict, if not healed, taint all future relationships. “I will never trust again!” is a familiar refrain we’ve probably all uttered at one time or another.

But what is “betrayal”? As with other life lessons, it’s one way to learn about ourselves and the world around us. Betrayal is the ultimate test of faith designed to expose the limits of a rational world and our inability to control it. We get hung up when we personalize and judge the lesson. Continue reading