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Guest column| Mary Partington

In a word, trust spares us doubt and despair

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Want to bet?

Words can hurt, Just ask a child who has been bullied. Ask anyone who has had their reputation blemished by false gossip. Today's political candidates don't throw darts or spears; they throw words because those are the weapons they carry.

Words can be savored like a luxurious piece of chocolate. Words can bring tears of sorrow or joy. Words can comfort or disturb. Words can kill a love or bring it to fruition. Words can be cheap or, in a lawsuit, very expensive. We give our word and we live by the Word.

A word we occasionally forget the real importance of is "trust." Without this word our world can fall apart.

We must trust our lawyers, doctors and public officials. We have to be able to trust any entity or person with whom we have a fiduciary relationship. Without the ability to trust these people, we are cast on a sea of doubt and despair.

When we give the keys to the car to our teenager, we trust them to not exceed the speed limit, refrain from drinking alcohol, go to the place they said they were going and to arrive home at the stated time. Teenagers do not yet understand the concept of trust, and while they may intend to do all the right things, there are times when they fail to keep their word. As parents, we give them second chances to regain our trust and we pray their lack of judgment will not do them great harm.

We recently took our car to the dealership where we always have our work done because a warning light came on. The service person took our keys and went away to connect the car to a diagnostic computer. On his return, he went into an explanation of the possible reasons for the warning light. The news went from bad to worse, and after asking questions, we realized this was not a repair that was urgent and that we had time to think it over. The manner in which he behaved gave us reason to question the validity of the problem and the solution.

Before we left the dealership, we readjusted the gas cap and the light has not come back on. Time will tell if our mistrust was misplaced.

We have decided we need to replace a major component of our home, so we invited a company to send a representative to give us a cost estimate. The company representative was very professional and conducted a survey of our needs and explained all the options. We were impressed by the company and the representative and signed on the dotted line for the work to be done. Time will tell if our trust was misplaced.

Sports records are the aim of sports professionals: the most home runs, the longest field goal, the greatest amount of weight lifted. Now, we cannot trust the validity of some of those records because the athletes may have taken drugs to aid their performance. A major baseball figure probably will never be in the Hall of Fame because he broke the public trust.

Because we are human and destined to make human mistakes, we occasionally behave in a manner that may shatter the trust others have in us. All we can do is begin again.

And, as our currency says, "In God We Trust."

Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey. Guest columnists write their own opinions on subjects they choose, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

In a word, trust spares us doubt and despair 04/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:32am]

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