The Trust

by Andy Wood on December 9, 2008

in Consumers, Life Currency, Love, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Money, Protecting Your Investment, Turning Points

(A Turning Point Story)

Glavine

Glavine

It was something out of a Looney Toons episode.  The kind of thing you’ve heard about happening, never assumed would happen to you.

It happened to me.

I had gone away on a far journey and entrusted all my worldly goods to my wife and three kids, telling them we’d settle accounts when I got home.

Well, not exactly.

September 13, 2001 – Do the calendar math.  It was a surreal and vulnerable time. I was actually out of town on a consulting trip, when I got a call fairly early in the morning.  My twin daughters were calling, breathless with excitement.  Somebody had gotten the bright idea to leave a cardboard box in front of our house with two kittens inside.

“Daddy, can we keep ‘em, pleeze?  We’ll take care of them, and feed them, and clean up after them.  We promise.”

I wanted to kill them.

Not the kids.  Not the kittens.  I wanted to get my hands on whoever thought we ran an animal shelter for pathetic cats.  And these cats were pathetic.  They couldn’t have been more than seven or eight weeks old.  They were emaciated, mangy-looking, and seemed to have little chance of survival.

I did the obligatory Father Knows Best speech.  “Y’all don’t have time to take care of no cats!  And the last time we had a cat, she left a scar on your mother’s face and blood all over the bathroom.”

“Please, Daddy, we’ll personally take care of them.”

“Hmmph!  We’ll see when I get home.”

Chipper

Chipper

Being Atlanta Braves fans, the girls named the cats after some favorite Braves.  Carrie named her yellow-and-white kitten “Chipper.”  Cassie’s favorite player was Javy Lopez, but she worried that her yellow striped cat would die, and couldn’t handle having a dead “Javy.”  So she named him “Glavine.”  (When Tom Glavine went to the Mets, we renamed the cat, “Traitor.”  We were kidding.  Sort of.)

Chipper was in the worst shape, and sure enough, had gone too long without adequate nourishment, and had to be put down.  It was tragically sad, and again I wanted to get my hands on whoever was responsible.

Glavine was another story.  He hung in there, and began to grow.  He eventually became the greatest cat in the history of catdom.  Street smart, personable, and a champion mouser, he has made friends with three different neighborhoods, and made enemies (and lunch) out of numerous birds, mice, rats, rabbits, and some creature I never did identify.  He helped raise a Maltese puppy, teaching him how to jump nearly as high as he could.  Now he’s helping raise another.

Where Does That Instinct Come From?

This really isn’t about cats, kids, or Braves.  It’s about that instinct that every kid I’ve ever known displays, from very young ages.  The instinct that longs to be entrusted with something important and living.  A reflex that without thinking promises to care for, to serve, to be responsible.

Where do we get that?  What drives us, to the point of bargaining, begging, and signing our lives away in order to have something depend on us – even at a very early age?  Every parent knows that all those promises are bogus; yet we often give in.  Most parents know that this is the first (and hopefully last) time we “cosign a note” for our kids.  (Yes, friends, Cassie is married and gone, and Robin and I still have the stupid cat.  But we dang sure don’t have any mice!)

Anyway, back to the instinct.  I believe it’s a reflection of our design.  We were created to have dominion – entrusted to care for the planet and its inhabitants.  And while our reflection of God in creation has been marred beyond recognition because of the Fall, this instinct often remains.  It’s this drive that compels us to cleave to a life partner, to have children, to aspire to leadership, to care for plants or animals, to seize opportunities.

Stewardship is in our DNA.

It may be unrealized or neglected, abused or misguided.  But each of us at our core experiences a remarkable stirring to care for something or someone that ultimately doesn’t belong to us.

Start with the most obvious and least personal:  MoneyIt isn’t yours.  But even those who understand that, to varying degrees, instinctively want to have more, and to do well with what they have.

This drive for responsibility compels us toward other people.  We are drawn to relationships, both community and intimate.  Not to own them or control them, but to connect, to serve, to give and receive love and value.

The Trust compels us toward the planet.  While I’m not an environmentalist in the political sense, aren’t we all, to some degree?  How many different species of plants (remember to count the weeds) are in your home or yard?  And the last time a critter ran out in front of the car you were driving, did you hit the brakes or speed up?

Yes, we horribly fail at the trusts given to us.  We waste or idolize money, we make complete messes of relationships, and we’ve done some pretty brutal things to this amazing created order.  Still, The Trust calls us, compels us, even warns us.

Each of us has a Trust that’s uniquely our own.  It ebbs and flows, changes and ages with our lives and seasons.  You will leave a large part of your Trust to future generations to tend.  One part – your life itself – you will take to the grave.

But you’ll answer for all of yours, as I will for mine.

After all, it wasn’t ours.

So who or what determines what we manage?  Glad you asked.  Tomorrow I’ll show you why most of us won’t win the lottery.

In the meantime, the next time a kid (big or small) asks, “Can we keep him, pleeze?” remember:  You may not be able to say yes to the request.  But you can honor The Trust as it calls them to their own unique place of stewardship.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Carrie December 9, 2008 at 10:23 pm

aww….Chipper…..memories,memories

Carries last blog post..Festivities Have Begun

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