What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web.
My six year old grandson and I have been reading Charlotte’s Web together. He’s been fascinated with spiders and spider webs. Their intricate patterns with purpose yet very delicate, destroyed with a falling leaf or sudden gust of wind. At the same time spider’s webs can be deceptively strong, clinging, entangling, difficult to extract oneself from once encountered.
In a recent radio program I heard reported that two-thirds of Americans don’t trust one another. Not only that, they think it’s dangerous to put their trust in someone else. It seems as if we are becoming a society that is grounded less in spirituality and more in consumerism. Trusting tablets, televisions, video games to bring us peace and fill the void. I can’t help but think of these things as spider webs, attractive, clinging, but neither supportive nor life giving but life-taking. And yet in “things we trust.” Or so it would seem as we spend our dollars, thinking this will show our families how much we love them or worse show how much value we have in what we buy.
When I think on the times that I have been most blessed, felt most valued and cherished it has been when someone has placed their trust in me. Trusting me with a confidence, a fear, a shared hope. Opening their heart in my presence and trusting I will hold it with great care. That trust is the most amazing gift I have ever known. And it’s scary, to keep that trust, to want desperately not to fail, to not want to cause harm or betray that trust. But stepping forward boldly and holding that trust with equal vulnerability.
As I reflect on advent this season, I can’t help but think about the miracle of trust. How did Mary trust her experience of the visitation? How did Joseph trust what he had heard? I can only imagine how hard it would have been as they began to share with friends and neighbors. The comments, the gossip, relationships they trusted, tested and perhaps failed. But yet they placed their trust in a higher place and were willing to be vulnerable in sharing that trust. They knew that in being vulnerable one can be hurt. And theirs was not an easy or painless life.
What would our life look like if we placed our trust in God, owning that in the vulnerability of giving our trust to others we will most likely be hurt? But also, we may experience that graced gift of returned trust, acceptance and love, sharing with one another our willingness to be vulnerable and love.
Civil rights leader Vincent Harding recently said in an interview on NPR’s program On Being, “It’s going to be generations before that really comes to fruition. Not just generations, but working generations. Commitment to give ourselves fully and deeply to the task of creating something new, not just assuming that by sitting around the new is going to come. Only as we, strengthened by the grace of God, say there must be something new and we must help to embody it and to create it.”
And that requires trust, the miracle of trusting in the movement of the Holy Spirit, the miracle of trusting in one another and a willingness to see that as strength not the weakness of a spider’s web. As Mary and Joseph waited, they also gave themselves fully, deepening that trust with God and one another. In this time of waiting for the miracle, how have you trusted? Where have you been willing to step boldly, making something new from the gift we were given?
Trusting you on the path,