A promise, they say, is a word or words offered another person which contains a pledge to do something at an appointed time regardless. Promise! I remember an uncle say that when someone promises something to him – correspondingly he pours out to that person a bag of expectations, anticipation, trust, hope, and zeal. A promise he pointed out is a guarantee, an assurance, or a pledge of truth and stands on one’s integrity and honor. Well, don’t we actually lean heavily on such things in our day-to-day lives? Isn’t it part of a two-way human communication traffic built on a desire to keep things moving along? Thus we promise loosely, tightly, falsely, or truthfully just to get things done or undone. Don’t we?
Promising to come back on Tuesday to return the book you borrowed as you know how important it is to its owner to have it back -- and doing it, reflects your concern and thoughtful consideration towards your friend - a sentiment coming from the heart. But on the other hand, your brain may sometimes tell you differently, that …
--you can do it another day as you’re very busy (just when are you ever not busy?!)
--and that it won’t be missed anyway (are you sure of that every time you delay or put it off?)
--or say to yourself that your friend would understand it if you delay (stretching it again for the __nth time?).
Let’s go over a life scenario or two, real ones (names changed).
“Billy, we’ll go to the carnival on Saturday night…..and ride on your favorite carousel for as long as you want.” ------- a beaming father tells his 5-yr-old kid whose eyes sparkled with glee over the prospect of getting on his favorite carnival ride. Come the promised day, the father stayed at the office till 11pm on overtime work. He forgot about his promise. Do you think that it crossed his mind at all while working at his desk that his child was waiting back home expectant and trusting over a promised ride? Can you imagine the fragile thoughts and feelings of a little child who must have hoped so hard for that promised thrill only to have it crushed just like that?
“Darling, I’ll be away for only a year to work there and save up for our wedding. When I return, you’ll be my Mrs. Jose Rivas.”….… He sweetly promised as he gently wiped away the tears from his sweetheart’s eyes. A year and several months after, a relative who flew in from that same country told her that he was living with a girl with whom he has a son. Distraught and stunned she cried her heart out locked in her own room. The following morning they saw her lifeless body on the bedroom floor with a locket clasped in her cold hand. Inscribed inside were the words ‘Love Forever’, signed Jose.
So tragic how empty or careless promises can shatter a heart or snuff out precious life. A dear close friend once told me this, referring to her suitor --- “I don’t really care what he says, he can promise or not promise the entire world to me; but what he DOES or WON’T DO --- will tell me all I need to know ‘bout him.”
That brings to mind another of my dear uncle’s wise sayings -----
IT IS NOT WHAT YOU PROMISE -- BUT WHAT YOU DO THAT COUNTS.