Trust is of paramount importance in a relationship. The two individuals who comprise that relationship put their faith, their devotion, and their loyalty into each others' hands, depending on the other not to betray them. But what do you do when that trust is shattered? Is there a way to forgive, to move on, to let the past stay in the past and not let it shadow every interaction in the future?
Sometimes it's necessary to seek counseling. I had the chance to find this out for myself just recently.
No, I'm not talking about me and my husband. I'm talking about me and my new (used) van.
Last month, we chose out a new (used) van from a nearby dealership. They'd only had it on the lot for two days, and we were anxious to close the deal. Somehow or another, the slightly important detail of a brake inspection went overlooked, and we didn't know it.
One morning, on my way to pick up my daughter from seminary, I headed down our road and noticed that the asphalt was a little more slippery than usual due to snow that had fallen over the last hour. I didn't think too much of it. But as I headed down the incline and prepared to stop to pull out onto the main road, my brakes failed. The van just kept right on going ... into the path of a school bus. It didn't have time to stop. I couldn't stop. I yanked my wheel hard to the right and managed to avoid the bus and not to go into the opposite lane. After I coasted to a stop, I sat there and panted for several seconds. I then got turned around and back where I was supposed to be going ... and the brakes failed again. I knew I was in trouble, so I coasted off to the side of the road, parked, walked a quarter mile in a blizzard for help, (ended up getting bronchitis) and then I dealt with the dealer. That is a story in and of itself, but we'll just suffice it to say, that won't be happening again. The entire brake system was checked, much of it replaced, and it now works beautifully.
And yet ...
We sit across from each other in the therapist's office, the van and I. We were silent on the drive over. I didn't have anything to say, and the van knew that I wasn't ready to talk.
Therapist: Tristi, why don't you share your feelings with the van.
Tristi: Well, it's like this. You just expect that things will go certain ways. I mean, when I push on the brake, I expect the van to stop. Is that so much to ask?
Therapist: Van, what is your response to this?
Van: Doesn't she know I've changed? Sure, I failed her. It was bad. I admit it. But I'm totally new now. I'm not the same van I was back then.
Tristi: But how do I know that? How do I know that you're not going to freeze up on me again when I need you the most?
Therapist: Tristi, have you been trying to trust the van?
Tristi: I have. I've driven it several times. But each time we go down that incline, I hold my breath.
Van: She tightens her hands on the steering wheel. I can tell she doesn't trust me.
Tristi: Can you blame me? That was a life and death situation. People could have been killed. Of course I'm going to be a little skittish.
Van: (beginning to cry) But I'm different now! That old brake system doesn't even exist anymore. And you have no idea what I was going through, wanting to be there for you, but not having what it took ... I felt like half a van.
Therapist: I think what we need is time to heal. Tristi, you need to keep trying, every day, to trust your van. Van, you're going to need to keep proving your trustworthiness for as long as it takes. Well, our time's up. See you next week - that'll be a hundred dollars.
Is there hope for this star-crossed couple? Only time will tell ...