Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The "Sixth Element"

The four classic elements of the ancient world were earth, wind, fire and water.

In a relatively recent film whose premise was frustratingly lost in meandering (shout-out to Chris Tucker), Bruce Willis learned that the character played by Mila Jovovich was the missing "FIFTH ELEMENT". 

In this post, I would like to promote the existence of a sixth essential element; the element of trust.  Trust is the element which fundamentally binds all human relationships.  For if "no man is an island", then we all most certainly depend on each other in every aspect of life.  Trust is essential to that successful dependency.

MERRIAM-WEBSTER defines trust as:  "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something."

Is there ANY interpersonal relationship, from the exalted to the quotidien, that does not absolutely rely on trust?  In the library (where I am now), we trust that the other patrons will preserve the quiet.  In the car, we trust that other drivers will observe the rules of the road.  At school, church, work, the supermarket, we trust that all those with whom we have even the briefest contact will fulfill their end of the mututal trust bargain and thereby assure that all will be well.  On the airplane, I trust that the aircraft manufacturer and the pilot-in-command are competent and trustworthy.

But on a more intimate level, the element of trust may be even more apparent.  How do close relationships form without it?  The brief answer is, "they don't"!  Taking that concept a step further, even the most intimate relationships of long standing will not endure the loss of this one key element.   Examine those relationships that YOU find most meaningful:  parent/child, spouse, master/pet, best friend, close family member, boss/employee.  When I reflect on those relationships in my life that I feel have been and continue to be the most "successful", invariably they share that one common element.  Conversely, I can think of none that has thrived in its absence.  At home, my partner and I have built a successful, 27 year relationship whose foundation is our mutual trust.  

To measure the value that our society places on trust, think about the measures we have in place to address its loss:  divorce, DFACS, employment termination, expulsion, prison, the death penalty...  We do not suffer lack or loss of trust, nor will we long abide those whom we deem to be untrustworthy.    Trust is essential to maintaining "the peace".

THE BIBLE (1 Corinthians 13:13) cites "faith, hope and love" as being the three most important values for humanity, the greatest of these being love.  

But don't faith, hope and even love rely on "the sixth element"?

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