Trust is such a pleasant word. It rolls off the tongue so gently and effortlessly; an invitation proffered, often said with a sincere smile. “Trust me”, it can almost be something demanded, but in that demand (if perceived as such), trust dies or diminishes. Weakened trust, is no trust at all, for fear and trust cannot co-exist in the same inner space, for one or the other dominates; there is no compromise.

Sometimes fear is good, for it warns and counsels whether to run, or fight, or to stand one’s ground…. surrender is not an option. Though it can at times be the sad choice made, leading to an inability to overcome fear’s misplaced desire to protect. Fear is loud, demanding attention, while the call to trust can be a gentle nudge to face inner uncertainties, but it does not demand. To learn to trust is a conscious act, one that takes courage and vulnerability, for it is a true call to death to a way of life leading to something unknown, because it leads to a broader world where fear no longer has the last word.

Often healing comes from allowing wounds to open and to not be afraid of the bleeding and the pain. I think the ability to allow this to happen is called ‘patient endurance’, which is fed by having a deep ‘trust’ in the process that is going on in ones life…. one’s inner life actually. For what we present to the world flows from one’s inner being and we do not hide as much as we think from others. Details yes, but how we relate; be it with grace, or anger or fear…. well no. We see each other; actually mirror one another, both for good and ill in any one relationship, or in all of them.

I remember one morning as I was at mass, just before it was time to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist…. it was presented to me in some detail, the depth of my own inner fragmentation, my failures and my own mediocrity in how I live out my faith. All I could perceive was inner ruins and a future of my inner state perhaps getting even more chaotic and my life fruitless and without meaning. My head was bowed and I knew I had a choice, something clearly presented to me, stark and without any kind of downplaying of what I was seeing. The choice was one of trust. What is it I put my trust in? I was about to partake of one of the deepest mysteries of my faith, the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ and at the same time aware of all that was ‘sinful’, wounded, warped within me.

I was being asked to wake up, to open my understanding of my relationship with Christ. It was then that it came upon me very forcefully, both on a deep emotional and feeling level, as well as intellectual, that what I was perceiving in myself has always been there and in fact I was being given only a small glance of what is truly within me, but not strong enough to be able to withstand it at this time. Trust gently asked me: “Are you even now able to trust in God’s love and compassion for you”? As I stood there I said “yes, I trust”! I refused to allow my many inner voices to dictate to me, voices from my past, things I had been mistakenly taught and also just voices that are, well, my own. When I made that conscious choice, it was like the waves of a stormy sea suddenly settled and I went forth, aware of my own inner poverty and received Christ, who is the true richness of my soul.

As a Catholic, it is natural that the sacraments would be a way for me to be able to make a conscious choice to trust more deeply in the love of God…. that my faith teaches me to be central to the Christian faith. Others will do it according to their belief system. For me the infinite resides in the finite human heart, as a Christian I call that infinite loving presence Christ Jesus.

Mark Dohle

Mark Dohle

I am 62 years old and have lived in the Atlanta area since 1971.  I am Catholic and my faith is important to me, yet as I age the mystery continues to deepen, so I read broadly and try to keep things somewhat open ended. I work with the aged and the dying. I was in the Navy for four years and I guess I am life of center when it comes to politics, but not too far left. Actually, I am kind of a political moron.

I am the third of  11 children; ten still alive, one died in in 1958, three days after birth.