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" … Me and this world somewhere in-between."

I watch our new kitten Molly and I wonder how she might come to trust this world, for her world seems eminently trustworthy now, yet she still lives by tooth and claw. She defends every inch of territory against even her greatest benefactors, her true champions. She has not yet come to know the reassurance a petting hand might impart or the comfort of a languid lap stretch. True, this world stands as a convicted serial son of a bitch, with a long history of betraying anyone who would ever trust in it. It seems more indifferent than deliberate, though, a blundering behemoth perfectly capable of continuing inadvertences, but probably rarely on purpose, for this world has no real need of purpose. It need never justify itself. However cruel it might seem, it merely mirrors its inhabitants.

We discover the rules we must live by, never writing them for ourselves.
We learn through disappointment what we must avoid and by absent feedback what we might embrace. In this way, this world truly does resemble an unendingly cold and dark place. Its face, an alluring illusion. It's heart, superheated pumping magma. Its soul seems sweet in springtime and bitter through winter, blazing through summer, and resigned in fall. This world seems mercurial at root, steadfast yet also ever-changing. It reneges on its promises, and it seems to promise much, more than any self-respecting world might reasonably deliver.

TrustingThisWorld involves trusting myself without the hope of reciprocity. I can be whatever I set my fancy to become, but never solely on my own terms and also never solely on the world's. Our relationship, this world and I, unfolds rather timidly, with me seeking reassuring cues and it steadfastly refusing to comply. I might reasonably conclude that its apparent rudeness says something, perhaps everything, about me, but I know myself to be innocent inside, a fact I will probably try to hide from everyone else, and perhaps also from myself, for I desire to belong and not to be limited by strong vulnerabilities. The world might be dirt, but I know myself to be no better, though I'd like both of us to be better than we might otherwise have been when it's just you and me between us.

Trust must be an extension, not tribute. It cannot repay some kindness another gifted you some other day. It's given away without explicit expectation of ever being given back in return. It must be its own reward and never transactional. Its contribution to any relational seems wholly one-sided. I trust myself first. I extend my trust after, not before. TrustingThisWorld seems a self-serving act, neither giving back nor paying forward, but an awkward expression of the way one chooses to live, in spite of or maybe more because of the way this world is.

Molly the kitten knows much of this already. I can see it in her eyes aching to trust me without the ability to consummate her intention. Her brother Max, who came to TrustingThisWorld before she arrived, treats her like a chew toy and all of his life as a languid game, tooth and claw in service of endless play. She responds much more defensively, all too seriously, and she seems to play him for a fool. She takes the high cynical ground which he charges, only to be repeatedly repelled, though none of this wrestling dents his infinite enthusiasm. She seems to remain distinctly skeptical, slinking off to her unknown lair before their wrestling gets either of them anywhere. Max to his throne, Molly to her secret lair, Me and this world somewhere in-between.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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