Acts of Trust
Because it’s good to pause and remember once in a while.
Putting your child on a school bus in the dark.
Eating food you didn’t prepare, from a plate you didn’t wash.
Pulling out of your driveway and into morning traffic.
Waiting in the emergency room of any hospital.
Giving your keys to the valet parking attendant.
Closing your eyes as you lean in for that first kiss.
Sitting on the edge of an exam table in one of those paper gowns.
Saying “I do.”
Walking barefoot in clover in the summertime.
Eating the egg you just gathered from the chicken coop.
Closing the door to that chicken coop at sunset and walking back to the house until morning.
Installing a ceiling fan.
Signing a DNR.
Writing a blog.
Eating yogurt two days past its expiration date.
Listening to your gut.
Asking a stranger for directions. And following them.
Driving a rental car.
Swallowing your prescription.
Letting your toddler sleep with you.
Participating in a clinical trial.
Sleeping in a tent in another state on a grassy slope near the ocean.
Closing your eyes and making a wish.
Delivering a eulogy.
Letting a phlebotomy student draw your blood.
Getting your hair cut.
Eating street food in another country.
Stretched out like that, such a list of common and daily activities takes on a new meaning. We hand over the keys to our lives so easily, to people and circumstances we haven’t fully vetted, and when all goes as we expect, we move forward to the next encounter coming at us and keep the trust-flow going—proceed until apprehended. And when that flow is turned off abruptly or shatters, we slog through a series of questions born of self-doubt and renewed determination not to be fooled again.
And then we set our alarm clocks for the next morning’s routine, confident they’ll buzz or sing or morning-news us awake the next day. Back to normal. Business as usual.
We also take the long road to trust with some of these, and with good reason. Saying “I do” or bringing a child into one’s life tends to work out better with a bit of reflection and some studying. It’s ok to take the slow path toward these milestones, filled with just enough information to cross the line into New Responsbilities. No one would argue or push from behind impatiently. No one who’s wise, anyway.
On the trust continuum, you’ll also find Assumptions, Taking Things for Granted, Innocence, Foolhardiness, and Evidence. They all share some common ground as markers of the human experience, and we shake hands with them frequently in the span of our lives. All are valuable, some make us wince more than others. All are teachers.
Just for today, pause the trust response. Not to check it’s integrity, but to appreciate its fragility. And to give thanks for anyone in your path who makes you want to keep handing over those keys to most of what matters to you.