A disc goes up into the air, and nobody sees the end of its flight. Does it land?
I’ve recently been thinking about the relationship between trust and control. I like to think (perhaps those who know me will tell a different story) that I have a positive relationship with control. Sometimes it tries to take over me, but then I remember to trust: to give the benefit of the doubt, to assume the best of others in (or maybe after) a frustrated moment, and to ultimately believe that what is coming out of my own mind isn’t necessarily the absolute truth or the foolproof plan.
It is recently that I have made the conscious decision to work on trusting. I’m not exactly sure in whom or what I should put it, but I’ve decided nonetheless. I don’t mean school or work collaborative projects where some members pull more weight than others. I mean big picture, “put-yourself-out-there-and-blindly-hope-for-the-best.” Fear of disappointment doesn’t stop me in my tracks anymore. We all learn the hard way to say what we feel while we still have the chance, to take advantage of the time we have on this earth, to be brave and say the words we’re afraid to say. I’m not claiming to have perfected this idea. I’m claiming to be working on it: to choose trust rather than control. To control is to know. To trust is to wear your heart on your sleeve. To trust is to be willing to accept that it may end up far from perfectly but you refuse to let that possible ending deter you from taking a chance at an amazing one. I won’t lie; it’s backfired on me, left me with nothing but tears and a box of tape and glue with which to put myself back together. I won’t lie, it’s not always pretty. But the lightness, the happiness, that comes from accepting vulnerability and embracing the unknown is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.
Trust and control go hand-in-hand. There is gray area, certainly, and there is overlap, but the two often butt heads. To be in control is likely to be comfortable, while trust can be terrifying. I won’t bore you with my life story, but it’s been on my mind and now, here at Ultimate Peace, I wonder about it in a camp context. More specifically, our camp context. An Arab kid who has never met a Jew comes to Ultimate Peace willing to trust that she’ll be safe and happy even though she’s interacting with people she may have never understood or even met before. A Jewish kid comes to camp willing to trust that his Arab teammate will throw him the disc even though they don’t speak the same language, come from the same community, or have the same background.
For me, that’s what trust is about. For me, that’s what being willing to give up control is about. I’ve learned more than I could ever possibly express from these amazing teenagers we work with at camp. But perhaps the most meaningful impact they’ve had on me is their willingness to give up control and to trust. To realize that they might be on a team with people whose language they don’t speak, whose culture they don’t understand, whose history has clashed with their own. It strikes me every year what an incredibly brave thing they do simply by coming to camp, and each year I take it a little bit more to heart. Each year, I come home more determined to be vulnerable and to embrace the uncertainty of trust.
If I throw a disc from a mountaintop, and I can’t see anyone down below to catch it, is it doomed to lie in the valley forever? Or can I trust that someone, someday, will find it, will pick it up, will grow to love it as I had?
All I know is that camp is starting in a couple days. And that means new co-coaches, new LITs, and new campers – new people in whom to place my trust. But I’ve seen everyone working to set up this little oasis of peace, as we like to call it. And I can’t think of anyone I’d rather stand on that mountaintop with, together letting a disc fly.