When we celebrate something new we can never forget it’s birthed from what’s in the past. We are creatures of continuity. It’s important to welcome what’s new but only by standing on the shoulders of what’s been in the past. Our past attempts, our failures, and our mistakes have given birth to our future hopes, desires, and aspirations. If we forget where we’ve come from we will never know where we’re going. If we cannot remember the signs of where we’ve been we may find ourselves walking the same trail over and over again. Jesus Christ did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, the spiritual tradition he inherited, he fulfilled it. We are not meant to abolish where we have come from but rather to transform it into a future filled with hope, love, beauty, and inspiration. We’re never trapped by our past but we should be informed by it so we can be transformed by grace.
I’ve worked with people throughout my career as a therapist, pastor, and professor who cling to their past in one of two ways. They either hold on to the past and allow it to shape everything they do or they’re so put off by it that any reference to what happened before is never permitted. This means the past either locks you into the only reference you have for living in the present or it’s a lost resource for understanding how to change and be a better person. Neither of these is helpful. If you’ve been hurt by the past transform it into a powerful engine for positive change. If the past was something you treasure, use it as a foundation to build something even better. The key is what we are now and what we will become in the future is always tied to our past. The power of the past is its ability to become a tool that allows you to transform what was into what can be. That’s what it means to be wise. A wise person is neither trapped by the past nor loses the lessons it has taught. A wise person uses the past to become a better human being. It’s a powerful force in your life, it’s just a matter of how you use it.
Trust is a fascinating thing and the fabric of every element of social living. Without it, things quickly fall apart. You can see this by starting with the relationship you have with yourself. For example, what happens to someone when they can no longer trust their senses? There are people who struggle with hallucinations because of mental health issues. They hear things that are not physically present, see things that are not there, and sometimes feel sensations in their body that aren’t real. For these people, the world is exceptionally unpredictable, and they cannot believe the messages their neurological system is sending them. Therefore, their world falls apart and what is real becomes an impossibility and something they believe they cannot know. Trust in what we sense is an important element for being able to engage the world surrounding us.
Trust between husband and wife is an essential element of a good marriage. Without it, they will continually be suspicious of one another and incapable of functioning as a unit. They cannot share the resources necessary for building a life together. A shared life is one in which two people give of themselves for something bigger than who they are individually. To do that, however, requires one partner to trust that the other will share themselves and not just take from the relationship selfishly. Parenting requires children to trust their parents. If a parent tells a child that what they’re doing, saying, or feeling is dangerous, unhealthy, or inappropriate the child must trust this to be true. Otherwise, any requirements a parent asks of a child would be seen through the lens of suspicion and therefore something that has little effect in their lives. Parents must build trust in their relationships with their children to at least dampen down the already persistent element of human nature which is to “Do whatever I want.”
At this point, you can see where I’m headed in this post. Trust is essential otherwise our world falls apart. My fear is that we currently live in a world where trust is broken maybe even absent. You have been convinced that scientific research cannot be trusted, older people in your life are not wise and therefore should not be trusted, that the physical reality about who you are is unessential, that governments are false, and that there is a deep state making things happen, that you can believe what you want and feel, and it will be so, etc. The damage this has created is beginning to creep into the lives of almost every human being on the planet. Being able to think critically is important and I am not suggesting we just act like sheep and follow the narrative that someone spins on television or through the wonderfully accurate reports on social media (Sarcasm implied here). However, I am concerned so many of us are untrusting of the basic elements of reality. I believe it’s causing irreparable damage to our ability to function as a larger society. There are realities in life that must be acknowledged, and we must find a way to trust the authoritative sources that present that reality. Our senses are one of those sources, honest friendships, historical facts, biological realities, and basic human needs are others that need serious consideration. For example, a human being must find shelter against the elements, feed oneself, clothe oneself, maintain a sense of safety, etc. Today, that’s generally done by finding work that can meet the economic needs of your real state of life. You may want to be a social influencer and be okay living in your parent’s basement, but the reality is someday, if that doesn’t work, you need to pay for a basement of your own. Trust the fact reality is going to smack you right in the homeless face.
Trust is essential. Trusting your experience, trusting those in authority, and trusting how the world works from the most basic survival requirements to the most complex social situations is really important. Much of that trust is broken because of corruption and lies. The question I have is how we can develop a real sense of trust to counter our escape from what is real? Perhaps we can talk about that in the next post.