What is trust?

Open hand held up against the sky, with the sun floating above.
Image credit: Pixabay

Charlotte Rawlinson is a young writer, based in West Sussex. Having recently completed her A-levels and, with a keen interest science and maths, she is planning to go to medical school. She loves writing as a creative outlet and has her own blog. This is Charlotte’s first article for Sussex Bylines, and we look forward to publishing more thought-provoking articles from her. We are keen to hear from other young writers, so if you’re interested in contributing, please see our submission guidelines.

Christmas has passed and the new year has begun to blossom. On television, films such as a Christmas Carol, Home Alone and Miracle on 34th Street have been on repeat. Whilst watching Miracle on 34th Street, I was struck by a message that resonates well: What is trust?

During this film, as Santa stands on trial before a judge, the audience’s attention is drawn to the American banknote. Boldly printed are the words ‘In God we trust’.  As the scene unfolds, a lawyer asks why adults do not believe in Santa but believe in God, a being that they have neither seen nor heard. It is an interesting question and one which solidifies the idea that trust is something that is neither given nor earnt, but just appears spontaneously and without explanation.

But what is trust? A feeling? An expectation? It is all there, within that feeling of trusting someone or something.

Every day, we trust our cars. We rely on the mechanics as we dash at 50 miles per hour down the dual carriageway. Every mealtime, we trust the food we devour. Have you ever looked at your plate and wondered exactly where everything is from? What factory was it made in? What chemicals have been applied to it? Who has it been handled by? Was it stored correctly?

We trust banks with our money. We trust healthcare professionals with our lives. We trust those we love with our hearts. Hence, trust exists all around us. From our morning breakfast and commute to work, we place our trust into something or someone.

Sadly, when trust is broken, everything else seems to shake simultaneously. Trust is at the foundation of every human venture. Every building changes once the foundations have been rocked. 

Maybe the trick is to establish exactly what trust is to you, a reliance, expectation or vulnerability. Or everything? Like glass, maybe once broken, trust cannot be fixed. Or are you prepared to rebuild when faced with the appearance of betrayal amongst the debris. Betrayal is only a hinderance of trust. Once the storm passes, the feeling of trust is still there. Yet it has changed form. For example, what was once an expectation, has become a vulnerability. As we try to keep up with the transition, our foe (doubt) creeps between the shadows.

Trust does not come ready-wrapped beneath the Christmas tree or in our monthly wage slip. It just appears through life’s trials and experiences, like Christmas cards at your front door. Hopefully, many of us will trust the proposed vaccine to propel us to freedom in the coming year. Hopefully, many of us will trust the new year to bring fresher days as we escape the viral maze of 2020.

I trust you will have a lovely new year, despite the circumstances!

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