Of the many storefronts in my memories, one boutique stands out. I have no idea what is within this flea market. Candidly, I was not able to muster the courage to take a step towards the door when I considered the scene. I am not sure what specifically shaped my reaction. It could have been the various things hanging from the balcony. The dark and light shading also was a factor. Even the chaos of it all played a role. Whatever it was, I did not find anything that I could trust. I also did not have confidence that it would be a safe space.
I have come to appreciate that the uncertainty I experienced in front of this store reflects other parts of my life. Trust and safety are important elements in my relationships. They shape my approach to work. Each impacts my decisions and actions. The linkage to courage and hope is tangibly strong.
Life reminds me that trust is born through dialogue and experience. It begins with listening. Even as I write these words, I think of where I have placed my trust. In every case, I heard, felt, and then engaged with people and institutions. As time passed with both sides collaborating with the other, trust emerged from the shadows. Paul’s words of old are replaying in my mind; “The point is, before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.” (Romans 10.17)
Words are meaningful when they are accompanied by actions. Love finds its meaning in the experience that comes with two individuals being together. Compassion is only a concept until it is expressed through one’s choices. Empathy is meaningless until it is realised in the moments of someone’s life.
Trust and safety are gifts. They must first be offered. This is the first half of the equation. To be complete, trust and safety come to life when they are accepted. Life reminds me that trust and safety are comfort food for my soul. In freely receiving, giving is possible.