Broken

Well, my fifteen-year old son has gone and gotten himself kicked out of camp. It doesn’t appear serious–typical adolescent experimentation–but it’s darn inconvenient.  At least, I hope that’s all it is.  The hard part is that the trust we’ve built over the past few years is broken. Which makes parenting a lot harder.

If there is one message I have in my life (both family and ministry) it is that trust is precious.  To trust ourselves is hard enough, but to trust another? It takes courage.  To trust is to make one’s self vulnerable.  When trust is broken, everybody is hurt.  I think of this a lot in the context of our congregation.  It’s so clear that trust is vital to community health. And it’s not just harmed when someone doesn’t live up to our trust. It’s also harmed when a person refuses to trust others in the community.

In our congregation, we don’t have a Board of Directors, we have a Board of Trustees.  I love that word, “trustee.”  These are the people in whom we place our trust.  They serve the congregation and are entrusted with leadership.  And they take the job seriously.  I have never had a trustee who didn’t.  They may not always work in the ways that I would like, or understand to mission and vision of the church in the same way as others, but they have always, always, been worthy of my trust.

I think the giving and receiving of trust is sacred.  Our Unitarian Universalist tradition is covenantal, not creedal.  That means what binds us together is not shared belief, but a willingness to enter into trusted relationship with one another. What holy work! And work that demands so much of us.  We don’t belong because we believe the same things, we belong because we have chosen to trust this community and in turn, be entrusted with what is precious–the encouragement of other people to spiritual growth.

As for my son, trust will grow again.  There will be some hard days, even weeks, ahead.  We will both struggle to rebuild what has been broken.  The breaking makes me sad, but I know that even this is an opportunity to learn new ways to love and to experience the grace of learning to trust again.  In the meantime, we will muddle through.

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