On a crucial early date with my husband-to-be, I shared in a tender moment of first love, that I trusted him. I told him this so he would understand that I valued trust as much as love in a healthy relationship. It was my signal of my strong interest in him as a future life partner. He understood my meaning, and offered his trust in return.

Trust is fundamental to the health of all relationships, whether two, three, a thousand or a million people. I have recently become aware of some alarming studies and research on trust in our nation, or more pointedly the lack of trust and its impact on our social fabric. The social fabric is made of bonds among family, friends and neighbors, and extends into institutions such as churches and social organizations. The lack of trust undermines the bonds and in turn weakens the institutions. Lack of trust also weakens foundations such as our democracy, news media, and political systems.

I suspect none of this is surprising to any of you, for you’ve probably personally felt the lack of trust. Having a study verify and affirm your feelings may lift you up for a moment, until you ask if the study is trustworthy.  Then we’re back to feeling lost and disconnected from relationship and from society.

As we head into the holidays, we may for a few hours, or even a few days, feel trust building up at the edges of our existence again. We may reach across boundaries with neighbors or family in an effort of joyful holiday spirit and good will (that is one of the points of Christmas after all!), and feel the bonds of our social fabric being mended. We may decide that we don’t want to feel like the Grinch or Scrooge, and that instead we take personal responsibility for lowering our mistrust of                                                                                                                                 (pick just one thing or person).

May you find the courage to take some risks and offer your trust to someone long known or not known. May you receive the honor of being trusted and know it as the rich and full bond that it is, and thereby tighten the social fabric of our country. May the holidays bring you extra moments of reconnection through efforts of building trust.

 

In the pursuit of joyful trust,

Kate Walker