Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trust Me

What is trust? It is a quality that is easy to talk about but hard to pin down. Relationships require it. Relationships that do not have it can only be described as tentative at best. But what is a relationship? At its simplest, a relationship is an association between two people. The association may be something endowed by the individuals involved or it may be brought about by an external agent.

Does trust require a balanced relationship? It is our western sentimentalism that complains if a relationship is not balanced. And yet nearly every mother is aquainted with profound relational asymmetry. Her newborn infant realizes at only the most basic level that a relationship exists and cannot return anything to it, yet the mother loves and cares for the child (as does the father, one hopes). But how many mothers would say that they get nothing in return? Perhaps when she is especially tired and into a long period where the infant is crabby, but not when the child is in her lap, cooed and rocked to sleep. The infant's steady, whispery breathing and tender facial movements deposit treasure in the mother's heart.

Is the infant trusting? The infant is dependent on mom, but the awareness has not yet awakened for trust to be present. And yet it is impossible to isolate a particular point in time where that awakening occurs. Trust does not barge in, it sneaks in. It is present in the infant only as a seed. Consistent care given by parents waters the seed and it begins to grow. If not, the seed may remain dormant or grow into a spindly shadow of what was intended. Radical gardening may be required later to restore the plant to its original design.

Trust is essential in every relationship for it to be fruitful. Without trust there can only be association, aquaintance, convenience.

Trust can overcome attacks from the outside.
Trust empowers, encourages.
Trust allows roots to go deep.
Trust predicts good rather than evil, success rather than failure, satisfaction rather than want.
Trust is earned, love is not.
Trust benefits from the discipline of remembering the good.

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