What’s Trust Got To Do With it?

Trust me….Trust me not…Trust….

For some, a suspicious relationship with trust is born from trust being broken after being either promised or taken as a given. It’s like being promised warm sunshine, and then a cloud comes along out of nowhere, and you feel that sudden chill; the sparkle is erased with blobs of grey and then you decide to keep your ‘coat’ on forever even when the sun comes out again and again and again…

No, I never trusted trust even when it held my hand, wiped the tears from my eyes, or was just there. I saw it as weak, unreliable, and a game player in the heart and mind of the wrong person. Some people really mess with trust and with people. How deadly and damaging that game can be when one person holds the dice.

And enter animals into my life and suddenly trust was like those rainbow-like perfect bubbles all around me. No wondering, second guessing, and none of those dreaded questions that have answers you’re never ready for. Did you? How could you? But if we’re asking questions like that – well, we don’t really need to know the answers. 

Animals have shown me trust can actually be a given, like the air we breathe. It’s not even a word: it’s a feeling. It’s pure and it’s magical. Being with animals gives us a sense of being enough, complete, and loved. It’s like standing on a strand where the ebb takes your heart out, the flow returns it and everything suddenly feels perfect. Animals trust us completely – making us trustworthy.. They have high hopes for us but we seem to lose some of these hopes when an animal heart is replaced by a human one. 

This morning at around 1am, I had many ponies looking at me: trusting me that I would feed them, fill their buckets, pet them and they trusted I wouldn’t leave the stables without dishing the treats out of course!. And then I thought of an earlier conversation with Pat about my future here as this is his home and yard after all. He selflessly turned it into a paradise-like sanctuary for so many rescues and to help me realise my vision: a place where the most abused could heal. And I realised that I really trusted myself that whatever happens I can deal with these rescues – all of them if there comes that day when Hilltop has to move. I don’t think I’ve ever trusted myself so much but it comes down to them. They think highly of me. It’s time I thought of myself the way they see me. They trust me.

Nearly all the rescues here had such low expectations when they arrived but rescuing and rehabilitation changed that. I’m not sure if they would trust everyone but they trust us. They have ‘coats’ that come on sometimes when new people come into the stables or yard. Their ‘just in case’ ones. Like a shield that protects them: their eyes become still, they stare at the newcomer, listen for a tone, and sadly some just leave the stable or move away, and won’t come back in ‘just in case’. They hide. Yes, animals trust wholeheartedly, it must be so traumatic when the person they trust neglects or abuses them. We have seen the worst abuses of trust here.

Valentine’s Day can be a tricky one to navigate if you get triggered by those big bunches of blood-red roses or hallmark’s 101 different versions to say the same thing. I’ve got 99 problems and Hallmark is one when it comes to Valentine’s Day! It can make some of us feel like no one picked us for their team. So with Hay not Roses and its all inclusive membership everyone can be part of the day of love by donating a bale of hay, the price of one rose to an equine rescue close to you. No relationship status needs to be disclosed! You don’t even have to be in one! But you can still be part of showing love and care.

There are many ‘loves’ in life, C.S. Lewis outlines some in his book, The Four Great Loves. For me the greatest love is the love for animals in our lives and the love they have for us. For the latter and former, it is transformative, especially for those who have travelled through life without it, they need not fear giving it or receiving it. Yes, it is one of life’s tragedies when we don’t get to feel love or give love. For some it is a trust issue and for others there is no one to love or to love them. Yes, many of us will go through life not knowing love, and I dare you (in the gentlest way) to try let love in and out. Maybe there is no human right now in your life to love, maybe there never was or will be, or maybe there is no human you trust, but that does not mean you have to go through life with a suspicious mind or not knowing unconditional love: adopt or foster and see how your heart goes. Maybe that will prepare you to love a human being – who knows? Animals can rescue and rehabilitate our hearts too.

But when all is said and done, I guess it is OK to leave a coat on; it’s OK to shield ourselves and our hearts from being hurt, but there are always different coats. It doesn’t always have to be the heaviest one. 

Remember to love yourself too on the 14th! x

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