A recent Sunday sermon was accompanied by a power point presentation, which included this slide:That’s me! I thought. Building trust is my construction project, and like many construction projects, this one has been going on for a long time.
As I reflected on this metaphor, I realized that I may have omitted an important first step of many construction projects—demolition. Often something needs to be torn down before new construction can begin.
I am one of those people who tends to favor restoration over demolition. I don’t believe that everything new is better than everything old. Call me a traditionalist, but I prefer old homes and historic buildings to new construction.
When talk turns to tearing down buildings, I have difficulty imagining the space without what has always been there. Even though a building may be decrepit and no longer serve any purpose, letting go of it can challenge me.
But sometimes, restoration isn’t possible and the only way to make room for something new is to completely remove what had been before.Last year, the nonprofit organization where I work moved into an elementary school building that had been vacant for five years. Seven other nonprofits joined us, converting the building into a nonprofit hub. It is a wonderful repurposing of a building that had outlived its usefulness as a school.
But, there are issues. During the years when the building was closed, minor repair projects went unnoticed, and it seems every week we discover something that needs attention.
My trust-construction project is like that—neglected and ignored areas need attention.
In the same way that I prefer restoration and repurposing to demolishing buildings, I resist the deconstruction that needs to happen in order to make room for my trust-construction project to move ahead. I give energy to the negative thoughts that swirl in my head, allowing them to get in the way of my progress. I return, again and again, to what shattered trust in the first place, not wanting to accept the truth of my history and making excuses for those who betrayed me.
Every Sunday at Mass, though, I get a reminder of true trust in action. The words of the Eucharistic Prayer remind me that on the very night that Jesus was betrayed, he gave thanks. Jesus’ trust was intact, absolute and unwavering. What a gift! What an invitation!
I have experienced the kind of trust Jesus exemplifies, times when I have been able to forgive in the face of betrayal, when I have been able to let go and to trust again. However, those moments have not usually happened quite so quickly.
God invites me, again and again, to accept my past, to forgive and to move on to the future God envisions for me, a future built on trust.
And every time I am able to follow Jesus’ example of letting go of betrayal and trusting in God’s unconditional love, I move closer to the completion of my trust construction project.