You would think that living in a lake community like Chestermere would have hardened me up somehow to that initial shock of cold that slaps the breath out of you when you first jump in a lake. I was never good at running straight off the end of a dock into a cold lake and it always took some mental preparation to take the leap.
Not so with my wife. She grew up jumping into glacial-fed mountain lakes, and she’s grown a level of resistance to those near-absolute-zero water temperatures. When we first were married she was determined to teach me how to join her, so she began by booking a campsite at one of Canada’s warmest lakes, Christina Lake, in BC. It was a moment of trust when I first took the plunge and, who would have guessed, it has become one of our favourite places to visit.
Trust takes intentional time to foster, and it is always fragile, but trust is truly the door to some of the very best experiences we will ever have in our lives. Trust is more than agreeing to an idea or great concept. When we trust, we believe ‘into’ something or someone. It’s hands-on-tangible. Trust is fully active and leads us to feel and experience the thing we’re about to jump into. This sense of trusting in something or someone means that we do not keep one hand on the ledge, we put ourselves out there, ‘into’ the care of another person. We trust our dentist, our doctor, our long-time business partner, our spouse – and our kids put their trust ‘into’ us. Stable connections of trust create those relationships we cherish the most in our lives. It is always risky to put our faith, belief, or hope ‘into’ another person. But the very best lives are those lived in trust.
In the same way that the very best lives are built on a network of trust-filled relationships, we’re really finding that the very best neighbourhoods are built on trust. A city is not just a collection of people who live together. A city is a community of people who have learned to trust each other. When we define our city in this way, it changes everything.
For those who feel their trust has been broken or betrayed (which may be everyone of us), we may take some time to warm up the idea that Chestermere will thrive only when trust is central to who we will become. World class neighbourhoods and cities have never risen to the occasion on a wave of cynicism or jaded suspicion. Trust is the only way forward in relationships, good business, in church, schools, and in neighbourhood life.
Building trust is not difficult, choosing to make it a core priority is. Here three ways we can build trust on our street this week. The first way to build trust is to talk with each other. Sit over coffee and ask to hear someone else’s perspective. Trust-building happens all the time in our local Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, and at the Waiting Room Cafe. The second way to build trust is to see the value in other people. CS Lewis wrote that, “we meet no ordinary people in our lives.” When we see people as extraordinary, we treat them as such. The third way to build trust is to act with integrity. Be honest, speak well of people behind their back, and do the right thing.
Trust takes time to build, and it relies on the commitment of many people. But when relationships, neighbourhoods, and cities are built on a foundation of trust, there is no limit to what we can accomplish together.