It was a sad day when I decided to sell my pick-up truck. This was back at least twenty-one years ago while we were living in Alaska. We owed money on a travel trailer and the pick-up truck, while managing on a modest pastor’s salary. After taking a hard look at our finances, it was decided they both had to go. The travel trailer was hard to sell, while the truck was extremely easy to sell. With cash, I bought an old Jeep Cherokee. The plan was once our finances were repaired, I could have another truck.
Our situation was complicated when I got into mushing sled-dogs. While most mushers put a dogbox on their pickup trucks (a box divided up into compartments for the dogs), I transported my dogs inside my Jeep. It’s amazing how bad a Jeep Cherokee can smell when you fill it up with sled-dogs! It was truly a day of celebration when I bought my used 1998 GMC ¾ ton 4X4 pick-up truck. It’s a big, white, truck. More recently I decided my truck needed a name, so I named it Little Red.
Little Red has been on many adventures with my family and myself. This has been my truck for about eighteen years. For many of those years–in both Alaska and Arizona–this was my daily driver. Little Red turned out to be a very dependable vehicle, until recently. In the past year Little Red started having enough issues I was hesitant to trust it. It is bad for a vehicle to not be driven. Every time I thought about driving it, though, I asked myself: “Do you have time to be stranded?”. The answer was always “no”. Eventually Little Red wouldn’t even start.
One of the projects this summer was getting Little Red running. A new battery was just the starting point. Then the transmission, brakes, and air conditioner had to be fixed. I changed the battery, but a professional mechanic fixed the rest. With trust being re-built, I now enjoy driving Little Red again.
How critical is trust in our personal relationships? It can be easy to take trust for granted until it is broken. All of us are guilty at some point in our lives in breaking trust. Trust is one of those invisible components that strengthens relationships. Having people in our lives we know we can trust is invaluable.
Breaking trust is much like cutting our skin. It is possible to heal trust, though it leaves a scar. It is better for trust to never be broken. Once trust is damaged, however, what do we do? The first step is for those involved to decide if the relationship(s) are worth salvaging. If the answer is “no”, it might be time to walk away. If the answer is “yes”, then risky steps need to be taken to start the healing. Like most injuries, healing isn’t immediate. It takes time and effort. There is no guarantee trust will be re-built, but some of the sweetest relationships are those which have been re-claimed. Are there any relationships in your life aching for trust to be re-established? If so, are you ready to take action?
It appears to me in the United Methodist Church one of our foundational issues is trust being broken. I’m hearing many issues mentioned, with trust rarely being one of them. It might already be too late for our trust to be re-built. Many things have been said and done in our denomination that have caused pain. Is United Methodism worth salvaging? If the answer is “yes”, who is willing to take steps to start healing our trust? To have a chance, these steps need to be taken soon. How General Conference 2020 is experienced will tell us a lot about our desire as a people to grow trust. Few of us, though, are delegates to General Conference. It is easy to shift all the responsibility to elected delegates and leaders, yet each of us has a role in re-claiming relationships. My hope is the choices we make as United Methodists will be ones to make Jesus proud.
Your brother on the journey, Mark
Further thoughts: Anyone wonder why I named my truck Little Red? I did this in memory of my Grandpa (my Mom’s Dad). He was a farmer and rancher in Texas, and always had dogs around. The dogs changed often, but the names tended to stay the same. In particular, I remember “Spot” and “Big-foot”. The names and the dogs rarely matched. “Little Red” seems to fit Grandpa’s style of creating names.