Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's Not

Am thinking about
broken promises.

Have been thinking about
broken promises
for a few weeks now.

Trying to get perspective
because one day
I looked around
and that was all I saw.

But that wasn't the thing
that I needed to
get perspective
about.

The thing that I really struggled with
was that
in my truest of hearts
where my character was born
and nurtured
despite all I experience
I saw these broken promises
and kind of thought
that they were ok
when what I thought I should think
was that they were an abomination
and that they reflected poorly
on all those who made promises
and chose to break them.

But even after weeks of thought
I can see
that this simply isn't true.

It's still hard for me to say
but broken promises can be
perhaps
a bad thing
but it is a
worse thing
to stand by a promise
that does you more dishonour
than would be the case
once that promise
is broken.

The reality is
that the world is mutable
and people need to also
move in this state of flux
sometimes
if they are going to survive
both on the outside
as well as on the inside
and that breaking a promise
can actually still be done
with honour.

Whether someone else
chooses
to see the honour in that
today
or tomorrow
or ten years down the track
well, that's up to them.

So, to all of the people
whose broken promises
have come to sit for a spell
with me
in my heart
and in my head
I thank you
for helping me in my lessons on
empathy
respect
understanding
patience
compassion
release
honesty
adaptability
support
forgiveness
and unconditional love.

But
thank you
most of all
for helping me in my lessons on
being true to myself
and being able to make
my own choice
in the here and now
and knowing
that everyone is just doing their best
at the time
and that includes me.

This is not to say
that it is ok
for a first option
to be to opt for the easy out
(because we all know there are no easy outs)
and break our promises.

It is also not to say
that we create an
image of perfection
that cannot possibly be maintained
when we make a promise
so we should therefore
not make promises at all
what a terrible world
it would be
without any promises at all.

But, we do have to be realistic
about the role and purpose of promises.

When we make a promise
we are saying,
"this is how I hope it will be"
and this is always something
we should work towards
but
as with everything in life
when we consider out choices
we do so with all of the new knowledge
that we acquire each day
and we need to apply that new knowledge
to our promises
whether they were to someone we love
or to someone we once loved
or to someone we never loved
or even to ourselves
and if we have learned something
and it makes us realise
that hard as it may be
our promises no longer serve us
or those around us
we need to make a better choice today.

We can do this
and still wish we felt
like we did when we made that promise
in the first place
but we can't just keep a promise
for the sake of the promise
because
a promise needs to have substance
otherwise
it is just words
and we don't live in a world of words
we live in a world of actions
and we each get to chose our own actions
in each instance
every moment of the day.

So, whether I make a promise to myself
to give up junk food
or if I make a promise to my child
that I will never let anyone break their heart
of if I make a promise to my sister
that I will stand beside her on this journey
and then circumstances change
and my priorities in life change
and what I need more than the comfort
of the words in that promise
is to honour my self and my heart
and for the person I made the promise to
to do the same
then it is ok
if I do it the right way
and lead with my heart
as best I can at the time
to break that promise
and live in love
truth
and light
always.

And the same
for when
someone else
breaks their promise
to me.

And I can wish it were different
but it's not.

3 comments:

Jen said...

yes, Wendy, yes

You are absolutely correct, but I think that if need be we must break a promise with honour. And dignity. And caring for those that we once loved and respected.

You are amazing.
xoxo

Tracy ~ The UnOfficial Witch of Ridgewood said...

Yes Wendy, you are...amazing.

I don't believe that anyone makes a promise with the intention of breaking it. I also know that the adage, "never make a promise you can't keep" is expecting too much. People are human and therefore, imperfect. I think living up to one's promises, to the best of their abilities, is the admirable thing, but admitting when one is unable to keep a promise is honorable as well.

Rob-bear said...

"A promise made is a debt unpaid."
~ Robert Service (Canadian poet)

I think you have made a wonderful point, Wendy, and made it very well. The other side of the coin:

we don't live in a world of words
we live in a world of actions
and we each get to chose our own actions
in each instance
every moment of the day.


Actually, we do live in a world of words — and sometimes we give our word — our promise — too easily.

It's like Bob Dylan's "Just like Tom Thumb Blues":

Everybody said they'd stand behind me
When the game got rough
But the joke was on me
There was nobody even there to bluff.

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