Monday, May 9, 2011

Law 5: Faith is Trust

Making Monday

One of the frightening things about an intimate relationship is that you expose yourself to the other and must trust they will not take advantage of you. Intimacy, in terms of the trust required, is an act of faith much like the faith of the makers.

The word, 'faith,' comes from the Latin, fidere, to trust.

Generally, when we have to trust an institution or another person, we need assurances that our trust is well placed. It's no accident that financial repositories, which often bear names like, 'bank,' and 'trust,' try to express their strength and stability in everything from their stationary to their architecture. Classical columns flank the entrances to many a bank, suggesting (or so the trustees and their architects hope) stability and durability sufficient to entice us to put our money there.

But the faith of the makers is counter-intuitive: makers trust their weaknesses when they make.

Part of that trust arises because creation begins with weakness. Before it becomes the steel in a skyscraper, iron ore is something that can be crushed. Before the book is a best-seller, it is a first draft rife with issues. Like a tender plant, just sprouted, in the first stages of making the project is a fragile thing that can crumble to oblivion without the care of the maker.

A deeper, and far more personal, dimension of the faith of the makers is the trust that only by exposing their own weaknesses can they bring something new and wonderful into existence. Each time we put pen to paper, we give our critics evidence that our characterization is weak, or that we don't do dialog very well, or that we have occasional lapses in grammar, or any of a thousand and one other weaknesses. But the fire of the idea that compels us to make won't let us wait until we've perfected all our skills. The irony is that a guileless passion often produces a more meaningful expression than a technically flawless execution.

And so we make.

Even though the very act opens us up to scoffers and detractors.

Even though our self-doubts can combine into something that makes our critics pale in comparison.

We do it because we trust that through the intimate process of making we can transcend our weaknesses in the joy of bringing the new things in to existence.

Image: Bill Longshaw /

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