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The Promises We Keep

The colour of our character

By The Bearded ChieftainPublished about a month ago 3 min read
On my way riding 100km to keep a promise made 20 years ago.

The promises we make are no measure of our souls, our spirit or character. Rather, they, like so many other platitudes we utter are simply white noise on the wind. "I promise" is spoken today with no more thought or gravity than "the sky is blue" or "water is wet". In fact the expressions "God damn", "I'm sorry" or "I love you" are also cast to the wind without thought. One may as well say "I'm here" to a crowded room to get the same depth of meaning and intent most people offer when making a promise, or declaring their love.

We are comfortable in the use of our words so casually and even flippantly spoken. Although we may have the best intentions in that moment, that intention quickly passes as something or someone else catches our attention, but not before the words escape our lips, or fingertips in this age of endless texting. No-one cares to notice, or so we believe, because we ourselves do not notice.

For some though and it seems to be precious few, the words once uttered, carry the weight of their soul's intent. They've sworn a sacred oath to another for which the universe is their witness and their chosen God or Gods, the final arbiter of their success or failure in keeping their oath; their promise.

The paucity of these people in our lives gives rise to an attitude of indifference within ourselves. We fail to recognise our lack of self discipline and shallowness of character as we use language, our words, tone and inflections so casually. We therefore also fail to recognise how our thoughts, words and even actions ripple through the soul of those scarce individuals who's word is still iron clad.

However, once or maybe twice in a lifetime, we meet one of these old souls with values and integrity and we notice they are different. They make us feel better about ourselves. They speak to our spirit and yet we pause not at all in flippant and lazy use of language. We continue to make our statements and declarations, our promises on things so inconsequential that no-one will notice or care if we fail to meet our obligations under these trivially uttered oaths. No-one that is, but this special soul we have failed to recognise.

Thus it is, that we fail to notice the wounds to the soul of this person we've grown to trust and to be fond of, even to love. We continue to miss the vital clues of a wounded soul and, instead focus on nothing other than the perceived unreasonable behaviours this once "perfect" person starts to exhibit. We never stop to consider how the behaviours are akin to the instinctive reactions of a wounded animal lashing out even at those who would heal them. The wounds? Well we inflicted those with our breaking of the promises we so casually mete out.

To these rare individuals, their utterances are seldom casual. On the rare occasion where they do speak without thought, their thoughtless utterance becomes a trap, binding them as they live within the steel of their principles. They make their promises as sacred oaths and would never declare love to another without it being an all consuming emotion, unmistakable in their heart. Each person around them that that casually tosses promises out like chaff upon the breeze and fails to meet the obligation, is adding yet another wound upon the soul of this principled person to be carried until time softens the scar.

Often, this person of integrity may become so wounded themselves that they will rail against their principles, and even violate them, as they start treating others with the same casual indifference they, themselves were wounded by.

We need to look about us, at those people who have touched our lives in that way that so very few can, and acknowledge when our own laziness, our casual disregard for our words has wounded that person. Reach out, apologise, or keep the promise made, even if it is late, and watch the reflection of their soul healing through the light in their eyes as it regains it's brightness.

We are the ultimate gatekeepers of our own oaths. As we go forth, we must bear in mind that a promise without intent is meaningless to those who act casually, but casual utterances are destructive to those special few who hold their principles dear.

Therefore it is not the promises we make that are our measure in life, rather it is all down to the promises we keep!


About the Creator

The Bearded Chieftain

A self-described Adventurer in the vein of the *Boy's Own Annuals* and Foundation Member of Gen-X (the 65-66 models). An old Aussie Soldier who also worked various other roles including Private Military Contractor in three conflict zones.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (1)

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  • Vicki Lawana Trusselli about a month ago

    I related to your story as we all make promises to people our whole lives. Some people are in our lives for one minute and others stay for hours and even years. It's a warmth of one's heart to remember the promises we keep to our brothers and sisters. 💜

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