Promise. What is a promise anyway? It’s something I swear. I solemnly swear…to do something. On my honor, I will try…
So it’s a declaration of intent. It’s a particular kind of commitment. (Bringing in those other advent words, oh, yeah…) It’s a commitment between parties, or between one party and many. Or between self and the Universal All, I suppose, however one envisions that. The main thing is this: it takes two to make a promise.
And so it takes two to keep one. I can promise to love and cherish, to have and to hold, but I need someone to actually have and cherish for that to make any sense. I can swear on my honor to do my best, but someone else has the job of witnessing the results.
I remember (possibly inaccurately, but oh well) being taught in school that true civilization began when people first chose to honor the promises of those who were no longer alive to enforce the oath. That lesson might have been modern myth-making, but even so, there’s a reason I still recall it now. It feels right.
They are a binding force–they tie people together and more than that, they tie us all to everything that is larger than ourselves alone. Kept promises are the foundation of trust. Broken promises break friendships, turn love to hate, destroy lives and nations.
Hmm. I think that was going somewhere, but I’m out of time.
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image:klimkin via pixabay