Trust. You can ask Webster what it means… but I’ll tell you too. It is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. That’s what it is.
Sometimes, in life, we trust. Trust is… after all… the foundation of all human connections. We trust a million times a day, probably. On some level… we have to trust all sorts of people…. just to get through any day. It governs all the interactions we have with each other.
We couldn’t leave the house, or drive a car, or eat food…. if we didn’t “trust” that other people took their responsibilities seriously. We need others to do what they are supposed to do…. and to obey the “rules” of whatever it is we are doing…. driving, eating lunch, washing our hands, whatever. Think about it. We trust.
Well. Because of that…. I am filled with mixed emotions tonight.
For those of you in the far away, we have a Historical Society here in Preble County. I first started serving on the Board of Trustees, in the late 1990s. My first year was probably around 1998. We have had the same Director, for about 25 years, I think.
Melanie Jane Lightner. Jane.
I thought she and I were friends. Not like going out to dinner friends, although we did share plenty of dinners over the years, at this event or that. Nonetheless. I thought we were friends, and I trusted her implicitly. When things would come up over the years, and the board would be “teetering” on how to vote, I would always ask for Jane’s suggestion during the meeting.
My reasoning was that Jane knew better than any of us, how the organization was running, and what might be….. our best course of action. I trusted her, as I said before.
So a few years ago, we found out she had allegedly stolen money from the PCHS. That’s the Preble County Historical Society. There seemed to be overwhelming evidence which was presented to the Board. Our then Treasurer was the one who figured it all out. And as the details unfolded, and the case was being built, the more and more it appeared all of this was true.
The past three years were pretty rough on the entire board. We had to keep quiet about all of it, while the State Investigators did their… investigating. We could not say anything to anyone. Publicly or otherwise.
She was charged with stealing $70,000. Although, the evidence acquired indicated much, much, much more than that. Finally, after multiple delays, stalls, and extensions, Melanie Jane Lightner plead guilty, as charged.
Today she was sentenced.
I couldn’t go. I was afraid I might shout something out loud during the proceedings. I didn’t want to end up in jail for contempt of court… that is for sure.
I still am very emotional about the all of it. I’m angry. I feel betrayed. I feel inadequate for having not known this was happening. For being such a gullible idiot. Did I mention I feel angry?
But tonight, when I watched this on the news, I felt sick. Sick to my stomach. I felt sorry for her, when I saw them putting the handcuffs on her wrists. I felt angst for her, when I saw the clip of her getting on the prison van, with all the other inmates in stripes. I didn’t expect to feel this way.
Then, anger kicked in again, when I heard the clip of her speaking for herself in court. She said, “I deeply regret my actions.”
Hmmmm. I think she really meant that she deeply regretted getting caught. If perhaps, she had said “I’m sorry for hurting all the people I let down. All the members of the society, the Board of Trustees, the public who attended our events. I am sorry for hurting those people…. all the ones who had trust in me.”
But she didn’t say that.
I hope Jane can somehow admit to this truth. I don’t think she has yet. But I bet tonight, she has plenty of time to think about it.
So tonight, I sit with it. I rarely write about things that are in the news, or controversial.
But this one had been on my mind for the past three years, and I haven’t been able to talk to you about it. Tonight I am.
It is funny. Trust. Seems like I trust many of you, and truthfully, most of our interactions are limited to meeting here just once a day. To talk. But I guess that is what friends do. They interact. They believe in one another, and they trust each other.
I believe it is best that way. I really do.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.”
― Paulo Coelho,