Bird Droppings January 28, 2023
Reconciliation of trust
After working around the house this morning, I came upstairs to work on my dissertation. I got sidetracked talking with my wife; about a year ago, she was headed to a funeral in Dublin, Georgia, for her aunt, who had just passed away. Her G.P.S. was taking her a different route than she had planned. However, the route she followed was nearly twenty minutes quicker than she had planned. Sometimes in life, tradition routine does hinder us from new experiences. How often do we get caught up in routine and not take a side road or different pathway? I get caught up in my routine and wonder why I got nothing done. Would it not be great to have a G.P.S. checking each move we make psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally? Today I write that trust has come up several times lately for me.
“It’s the examination of conscience. Unless you examine your conscience, you don’t know what you have to be sorry for and what to confess” Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., S.T.D., Ten Tips for Better Confessions, The Gift of Reconciliation
Sort of difficult on a Saturday morning to start with a vocabulary word and one we seldom actually use. I think we perform the process but somehow never understand what we are doing when we do. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary has its definition of the word reconciliations the following:
“The state of being reconciled which is based on reconcile or to restore to friendship or harmony” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
It has been a long time since I was called up to the principal’s office for supposedly writing a note for a student to go home, something I would not do and did not do. This student was someone I had trusted and now had seriously betrayed that trust. The following day I asked my students to write about what they would do if someone betrayed their trust, not referring to the incident that had occurred. Many of my students often feel betrayed as a part of their disability. They have difficulty trusting anyone, and betraying that bit of trust they may have is so hard even to accept that it hits them extremely hard.
Some of the examples are “I would never speak to them again,” “I would consider them no longer existing,” and one student went so far as “I would kill them.” I was hoping that was a figurative term only. When I look back a few lines to Webster’s thought, reconciliation is a “restoring of harmony.” Not being able to trust affects my existence in how I perceive each person that I now encounter. Often being on guard, wary, not a sensation that I liked, or even the effort of being cautious.
“Trust is a firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing. It is a reliance on something in the future, hope. The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one: One in which confidence is placed.” Dictionary.com
Trust is a simple word, as I looked for definitions, and a bit more understanding can be had in words such as reliance, confidence, hope, integrity, and character. These are all words used in defining trust. By going a bit deeper, trust is synonymous with belief and faith. When we trust someone, we have faith in them and confidence. To tear this down is a serious issue and difficult to repair. This is perhaps why my students had difficulty pondering what you do when someone betrays your trust. It was from that point I wondered if we could reconcile.
Within most of the world’s religions, forgiveness is paramount to any attempt at moving forward. It is about forgiving and reconciling within some religions, as in my first quote based on reconciliation. Within the Catholic Church, where reconciliation is a sacrament, there is a restoration for the most part for many people. In the religion, that restoration is often with God or the church. Still, deeper when that reconciliation is between two people, there is a “restoration to friendship and harmony,” as Webster eloquently states.
“The man who trusts men will make fewer mistakes than he who distrusts them” Conte di Cavour, Camillo Benso
That state of distrust is uncomfortable for me. When I trust life, it flows and moves easily from point A to B. In a state of distrust and continually looking back over my shoulder, my neck and soul get tired. Therefore, I work with students who do not trust me so easily. Many teachers prior to my room do not trust them, and I, until proven wrong.
“All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud; you have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is much easier to function in a state of trust than distrust; perhaps reconciliation is such a powerful tool for restoring that harmony, that smoothness in life, and faith in others and yourself. I came to school after that incident in a state of distrust and, as the day went on, unsure of which direction to go. Walking to my room, the student who betrayed my trust came up and asked if we could talk after school; I said. There was desperation in the voice, a need for reconciliation, a need to restore harmony and friendship. School went by, and the day ended; I was oblivious to my conversation earlier of talking after school. This student comes in and tries to explain, tears so close to welling up, “I am sorry.”
It is amazing how several days of pondering what to do are melted away so quickly with three words. The days of should I do this or that or should I do that are wiped clean, reconciled, and harmony is restored. My good friend Emerson compares me to a bud. Nearly eight years ago, I found a pin, one of those simple metal stick pins with a slogan. It was given to me on my twenty-third birthday by a friend in a youth group I worked with, a 1970’s pin, as it goes, “Bloom where you are planted” with a flower or two around it. I affixed it to my I.D. badge lanyard; from days gone by, what a simple message that still carries impetuous. It is still so true and still what teaching is about for me. It is helping students bloom wherever it is that they are and more so about life in general. We all should be trying to bloom where we are planted. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your heart’s namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)