Oh, I really don’t think this word is a good idea. I don’t think I should write about it. I don’t think this is a good idea at all, at all. You see, this year has not been a good one for me and trust. I don’t know how trustworthy I’ve been, but for better or worse, I lost a lot of trust this year, and that’s hard. Of course, I know the fault is entirely mine in this case. The thing about trust is that while trust is an excellent idea, it’s all tied in with expectations, and those guys are bad news.
Losing trust – coping with the bad things that happened in my life when I expected God or other people to make good things happen – has felt incredibly horrid. I cried a lot. I gnashed my teeth and fussed at the evil that was my lot and was angry at God and institutions and individuals – all of whom failed me at times. I got depressed and decided nothing was ever going to work out again. It got so bad that I had to stop thinking about how much it hurt because it was bringing me down and making me a negative person. I actually give myself a point if I can avoid thinking about this stuff.
Now, look! It’s Elul, and I have to look into this mirror. Sometimes, the whole Elul thing is mildly annoying. It’s the beginning of a new year (Not only am I Jewish, but I’m a teacher and a mom) and I’m incredibly busy. I could have done without all this emotion wrenching soul searching stuff. Because what I see in the mirror makes me mad all over again – not at God, institutions or other people, but at myself. I see that naïve little girl who believes that if she’s nice to people, they’ll all like her and be her friend. She either blames others for things that go wrong in her life or feels defeated because things are too hard. She takes peoples’ words literally at face value, and is shocked when it turns out those words were never meant to be taken the way she heard them, and that people change their minds all the time.
Am I still, after all these years and all this learning, that naïve little girl? Because I am neither little nor a girl, so it’s time for the naivety to go as well. It’s way past time I grew up. So, I face the mirror. I say, “people are, like me, imperfect. Institutions, being composed of lots of people, are even more imperfect. And I am not smart enough to know what God means when something happens.” I stop waiting for someone else to solve a problem or provide comfort or share an emotion. I realize that I have all I need. If God is asking it of me, I can solve my own problems. I can find comfort in many different ways. I am lucky in that there are many people who love me and whom I love in this world and so there’s always someone to share an emotion if I really want to.
I need to accept things and people as they are and relate to them in that way, without the fantasies and expectations getting in the way. I need to even accept that the naïve little girl in the mirror will probably be a part of me for some time to come, because I too am not perfect. I need to rebuild my strength, release my expectations of anyone, and then, slowly, start investigating what there is that’s left that’s worth building into a new, and different trust.