Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pondering Promises

I like to run outside. Preferably through a beautiful forest preserve. Somewhere I won’t likely run into people I know which is just about everywhere in this tiny place I live.

I don’t listen to music while I run (unless I’m sorely lacking motivation) because, to me, it’s thinking time. My mind is quiet for a change.

I drove to one of my favorite places this morning, Swallow Cliff (Home to the infamous “Stairs” I talk about). I needed this today. It was a gorgeous morning; peaceful and quiet and perfect to ponder “a promise” prompt courtesy of Mama Kat's Writing Challenge.

Not one to follow rules precisely, I decided to twist this and thought about my feelings about promises in general.

How do I feel about promises? What kind of promises do I make? Should I, or anyone, promise anything? You know, stuff along those lines.

I thought about the kind of promises I made to people when I was younger. “I promise we’ll always be together” (probably not a good thing to do at age 21), “I promise I won’t tell.”, “I promise to go with you to….” They were simple, small and easy to keep with the exception of the one I should never have made. Lessons….

“Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you promise.” 
- Author Unknown

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve promised less. And it’s not for fear of falling short and I don’t believe I’m copping out either. It just hasn’t been required. People know they can count on me. I’ve demonstrated the “reliability factor”. I don’t often let people down but I have on occasion.

There is actually one thing that I will promise and I do so often. I’ll always hold someone’s confidence in a securely locked spot deep within me. Consider it a vault made of steel…NOTHING is coming out…not tomorrow, not next week or next year. Not ever.

Promises get broken and that saddens me because I know it hurts. I’ve felt it but I don’t spend time worrying that someone will disappoint me. We all make mistakes, and I’m a frequent offender. I also don’t believe those close to me would ever intentionally disappoint me either, but sometimes they do. I’m a big girl and I can deal with disappointment.

What weighs on me the most is the possibility that I might disappoint someone else. That’s tough for me.  I don’t want my promises to be empty and unreliable. So, I don't frequently make them.

Is it a bad thing that I don’t make promises often? I’m not sure how to answer my own question but I don’t think so.

I like this promise...It's sweet and easy, and these days, I'm loving sweet and easy!



Jamie Miles said...

You are so very right. The older I've gotten I realize that keeping a confidence is sacred. And I too love to run outside and have been unplugged for the last 6 mons. It's great to hear the birds again.

Gina said...

It is scacred. I expect the same in return, however, and have been burned unexpectedly and by someone to whom I gave my trust. So that makes me even more conscious of my responsibility.

Love the peace and quiet. It was beautiful yesterday and the sound of the birds was awesome!

Jester Queen said...

I just hate letting people down. Especially my kids. At the same time, I try to not get caught in that expectation web where they think I'm everything, and then I just set myself up for failure. But it's a tight line to walk.

Gina said...

It is a tight line. I try very hard to keep my word. I say try because sometimes it becomes impossible or things don't work out as planned or something becomes out of my control, etc., especially with my kids. At that point, it's time to sit them down for an explanation. They have a lot of confidence in me and if I commit to them, I will give it my very all. But I just hate it when I don't live up to expectation!