Home > Life, Really?, Spirituality/Religion > What IS Trust?

What IS Trust?

Sometime in 2001 a conversation during a pool game resulted in a promise.

“That’s a great little car”, he said, referring to her white 1995 Infiniti G20 sedan. She took meticulous care of it, washing and waxing and keeping it out of the scorching Florida sun.

She smiled proudly. “When I’m done with it I’ll give it to you.”

“I’m gonna hold you to that!” He winked the way native Vermonters do when they strike a deal. Or when they challenge someone to a duel.

Nine years later, with approximately 160,000 miles on it, the car was still in mint condition as she drove it to the auto transport depot in Tampa. It had begun to rain and she fretted that it might get spots on it before it arrived in Vermont. She took the license plates off and locked it up for the last time. The remote door lock mechanism had stopped working but it didn’t matter. Nobody locks their doors in Vermont. She looked one last time, touched the hood and said, “So long, Mighty Whitey. You’ve served me well. Now go do the same for someone else.”

Yesterday a card arrived with a copy of the official bill of “sale”. For the relatively low cost of transporting the car to Vermont on a trailer, a promise had been fulfilled. The card read, “Thank you so much for saving my life and getting me to trust again…” No minor sentiment from a man who had often given his trust and had it trampled.

As so often seems to happen to inspire me to write, a number of synchronistic events have conspired to get me to pay attention to a certain value. Trust is such a huge one that it is usually hard to look at without having to shield my mind’s eye from its intensity. But I see that it’s flashing and trying to get my attention again.

I sit here listening to the soundtrack from “Les Miserables” that I downloaded with the money I didn’t spend on an item that I am trusting myself not to. I’m smiling at the irony of this choice as I contemplate just how hard it is to trust someone again once trust is violated, and how difficult it can be for us to forgive ourselves when we’ve been the one to commit the violation.

Where does trust come from and what makes us lose it? Is it the action of others or is it our own? I know many people I would trust with just about anything but I know that when it comes to honoring themselves and their own integrity behind closed doors, they do not do themselves the same justice. Does this lack of trust in ourselves translate to a lack of faith in others?

As I watched this transaction with the car unfold, I witnessed a level of morality that I don’t often see . It was a mutual exchange of trust but it was also the peaceful resolution to a challenge. It was as important to her that she trust him to care for her beloved car as well as she had as it was for him that she honor her promise to him.

These two people elevated the meaning of a simple wink and a smile to the highest level of integrity and proved to me that the fulfillment of a promise can heal a world of hurt….

  1. Tina
    April 19, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I’m smiling for Mama Nance…and for the nice guy that inherited Mighty Whitey. Thanks for the post Ellen – you know I like to devour all things related to trust and forgiveness. Peace lady…

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