My trust is rusted, and it continues to flake and crumble at a more alarming rate every single day. Went out for a short drive to the US post office today. And it really is a very short drive. Just under 3 miles. Traffic was pretty busy, too. At noon on a Wednesday, during a pandemic, nothing looked different. Very few people were actually wearing masks as they were out walking. Same old irritation also evident by drivers who were held back by others actually going the speed limit on a city street. But a new, more alarming, rush of fear as some young driver in an expensive, black Infinity, slashed in and out of traffic like he was playing a video game. There were the old corrosive fumes, the weariness accompanied by frustration; but a new kind of fear. I can only tell you why I think this is. For me, this new fear, this new erosion of trust, comes from a general lack of control over anything in life. And no steady stream of real information that usually helps me sort out my unrealistic fear from the rational.
When I finally got to the post office to drop off my mail in the drive-thru box, the driver behind me honked impatiently as I rolled up my window and took my car out of park.
I used to think it might be a relief to get out and take a little drive. But I was dissuaded that was not a safe choice for me many months ago. I drive an older car -- and I'm an old person. If my car breaks down, or I get a flat, or if, by even-unhappier chance, I get into an accident, then what? I know. You think I'm overreacting to possibilities that seem pretty remote. We take good care of our old car and its tires. We have road assistance available. I know. But with this damaged and deteriorating trust, nothing is straightforward. The guardrails that were pretty reliable for most of my life are gone. We are under the thumb of a madman. And no one has the ability to put on the brakes or even steer us in a different direction. Everyday we learn of another disaster that pushes us closer to a complete breakdown of our societal norms. Our scientific community has been silenced, stifled. Conspiracy theories are driving the news, forcing our attention to our apparent imminent destruction every hour of every day. Voting is essential. Yes. And I've done that. And I've done all the postcard and letter writing I can, shared all the things on Facebook I feel are helpful or informative.
I know we bring our past with us into every new experience. And with a family history like mine, being parented by someone who was by turns manically charming and energetic and depressively paranoid and paralyzed, it's really tough. Those of you out there who have had that experience will know what I mean. Once you are out of it, and you actually can develop your own reliable scaffolding, and your own trustworthy relationships, you begin to see the world differently. It comes into color. It's no longer a jerky black and white film with an undecipherable storyline. You find that there are places to get solid information, and you begin to develop a bit of trust in your own responses to the world and circumstances around you. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes years and years to recover from the entrapment of living with a parent who is unstable, unreliable, changeable. There are many who read this who will know exactly what I am talking about. No reason to beat ourselves up about what we know to be happening to our world right now. It's okay, everyone says, to feel how you feel. But that takes trust too. Trust in yourself.
Finding truth and consistency in my family and my home, my garden, is my greatest consolation. I am grateful every day for all of these things. I know, in my soul, that we will find wholeness again. As individuals and as a nation, we will come back to a place where we can have rational political discourse, rational response to science and all it brings us, and rational approaches to healing ourselves as we heal our world and our world heals us.
I thought it would be great if someone came up with 'Trustoleum' -- you know, to simply stop the erosion. But what we really need is to rebirth our trust. I have to believe in that possibility. We can rebirth trust, just as the garden and our world are transformed by the turning of our world around the sun. It may never be the same, it will probably always be a little different, but for me, that's what I'm believing. For now. What about you?