On this past Sunday and Monday, I had three lessons about trust. It showed me some of the ways that trust is so important and also how much it can lack within our society and our relationships.
Act 1: Contracts
On Monday afternoon I took a class about real estate contract writing for a new job. A lot of the content was underscoring how many protections are built into the contract and what might need to be covered by addendums and whatnot. The instructor made a lot of comparison to how things used to be in the 70s vs. now and how the contract has gotten continually longer and the protection clauses have grown. “Don’t trust anyone,” she said.
It struck me that this is a very sad commentary on the state of trust within my society and shows how far humanity still falls short of the ideal of loving kindness and compassion in all our actions. How do I embody these ideals and make myself worthy of trust? It’s a good question to contemplate from time to time.
Act 2: ADR
On Sunday, I had to take a cat I was pet sitting to the local veterinary ER. He’d had an emergency surgery for a urinary blockage a little over a week ago. I started to see him Friday afternoon, and he ended up vomiting up his food every time through Sunday morning, when the owners asked if I’d take him in since he was refusing to eat and getting surly (a sure sign he wasn’t feeling well).
I had a feeling stress had upset his tummy and he was ADR, or Ain’t Doing Right. ADR is a standard diagnosis for cats, whose nine lives reputation stems from their propensity to get inexplicably sick and then inexplicably well again. Getting into bad digestive cycles is a common ADR issue. The cat just needs a little supportive care to bounce back. After four+ hours of waiting and tests, they determined it wasn’t related to his surgery or a blockage. He had tummy upset that escalated.
The kitty is doing fine now. He got fluids to rehydrate him and anti-nausea and vomiting meds. He’s eating small meals and getting a whole lot of TLC from his owners, who were frantic with worry and flew home early.
Talking to the owners on the phone, hearing the worry and fear in their voices but also relief that I could give him care, was an interesting experience. They had to put a lot of trust in me. When I met them at the veterinary hospital, we hugged and they thanked me for all I did. I wouldn’t have done anything else. I think most people would have done the same.
But it also reminded me of a story I recently heard from a friend who is a veterinarian. A stray dog was brought in to her clinic to be scanned to a microchip. He had one and the owners were contacted. Turned out they were on vacation and had no idea their dog was lost. Their pet sitter not only lost the dog but never told them what was going on.
I remind myself that for every negative story like this, there are a whole lot more positive ones. I commit again to being a person who creates positive ones.
Act 3: True Love
On Sunday afternoon, my husband and I had a talk about an issue that’s been bubbling between us for a while. It was an area where we struggled to see eye to eye, which is not common in our marriage of 22 years. Emotions ran high and we both ended up feeling very alienated from each other.
On Monday evening, we tried talking again. Emotions still ran high, but we’d had some time to process. The conversation went much better. Even though we remain divided on the issue in some ways, we found a way forward. At one point, my husband laid his hand on my heart and said, “We have to trust each other. We have to trust that our love is strong enough to handle whatever the future holds.”
He is right. We reminded each other that we take life a step at a time. Projecting into the future too far only left us both scared of and excited about the possibilities in different ways. But if we walk each step together, we can handle what comes without feeling overwhelmed.
Life is change. I trust my husband has my back, and he trusts me. It is a choice we make. A commitment. And it helps us both send our ability to trust outward, even knowing we will inevitably be hurt by people.
Again, it comes down to trusting and being a person worthy of trust. May we all find our way to this place.