Read My Lips

I believe trust is the most important factor in holding together micro- and macro-relationships (micro = two people, macro = more than two people, up to and including entire societies). I’ve been thinking on this one for a while, like years, but specifically for the last week as I’ve bandied about what exactly I want to say. I’ve not come up with any smart way to say this, so it may just end up being a “stream of consciousness” which probably means it won’t make complete sense all the way through.

Anyway, enough with the predicates.

A friend of mine has gone through some change-of-life situations recently, and has ended up back at home after several years of ministry and work in various forms. There are understandable pressures as different humans reacquaint themselves and sort out the new hierarchies of authority and responsibility. As this friend has aged several years since she was last regularly present at home, the hierarchies are not the same as they were. Dealing with a similar situation myself over the last few years, her situation has showed me, from a different perspective, the dynamics involved in this situation.

Trust is particularly important when dealing with multiple independent adults residing in the same house, especially when one of the adults used to be a child in that home. The parents are still used to dealing with this person as a child, where trust is not so important as obedience and authority. But even when the relationship is an obedience/authority relationship, trust is important. The child must trust that the parent has their best interests in mind and heart and will not proscribe a course of action that may result in harm to them.

*note: at this point my browser window crashed (I’m still working out the kinks in Linux on my laptop) and though I’d written about twice this much, I’d not saved it yet. Being as this is a “stream of consciousness” piece, it will not sound quite the same. I really liked how it was going before the crash too…

When dealing with multiple adults (individuals with lives and wills separate from each other) living in the same house, trust is very much the substance which both holds together and limits friction resulting from the different goals at once contained within the house. Particularly if this relationship has been that of parent/child in the past. Parents have to both trust that the once-child-now-adult has absorbed the lessons of childhood and trust that this new adult will not burn the house about their ears (this is not a commentary on the basis of the trust, merely the trust itself, so if the person is undeserving of that trust, at some point they should be ejected from said domicile to face consequences of life on their own). The once-child-now-adult must still trust the parents but now not so much in the blind way they did as children, but as one would trust a good friend or wise elder person.

Trust is a fragile thing, too. In a sermon I heard once in Columbia Missouri (only Sunday I’ve ever spent in Columbia Missouri) the pastor made a simple point that is still important nonetheless: trust must be earned. Duh, I know, but think it through. Soldiers are expected to trust each other with their lives, that is a very obvious and gritty example. And if a soldier fails in that trust they can face Court Martial, a very serious proceeding indeed. On a personal level though, trust between relations, once breached can take a long time to be re-earned and the wounds may never fully heal. I have once very personal example of this, and I must predicate it with a disclaimer. I have verbally and in my heart forgiven my dad for this, and I have done it repeatedly. I know my dad is human and that I’ll likely face a similar problem from his perspective through neglect or chance during my life. I will not detail the event but suffice it so say my dad lied to me, and I still recall this even on odd occasions. As I said I’ve forgiven him and I know I’m no one to claim righteous indignation at a falsehood committed against me, but I always have that question in my mind: “Is he telling me the truth?”

When any authority, parent, pastor, mayor, husband, wife, makes a statement, the trustworthiness of that statement must be beyond doubting. Truth is not strictly necessary so much as a “to the best of my knowledge” and there must have been some effort behind that search for the truth. If there is any duplicity or planned inaccuracy, that persons’ truthfulness will always be questioned by right-thinking individuals (notable exceptions being Clinton and his groupies LOL). Speaking of Clinton, will any of you ever trust anything he says? Ever? Nope, me neither.

Secondary relationships from the perspective of the parents in a house with mature children (relationships those children have outside the house) are particularly difficult territories I’ve found. My perspective is that unless there is sufficient concrete proof the friends are having negative effects on the adult child the parent has little control, only counsel. The adult child raised properly does not follow lock step with their parents, and usually tends to be more divergent through the first years of adulthood until they’ve found who they are and settled upon their life courses. Their friends may be very different from what their parents prefer but look back at the friends that you’ve had over the years parents and see that you’ve still turned out alright, eh?

This is still very much a thought in progress, but this I know is true: Your word is your identity. If you say something, it is so. If it is not so and you spoke out of ignorance, make your word agree with how it is (admit you’re wrong and make it right).

A good name is rather to be chosen that great riches. And a good name doesn’t cause headaches and worrying in the night.

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