When we were kids promises happened every day. “Wait for me after school?” “Yep!” “Promise?” Sepia coloured days where promises meant everything.
Today I am the keeper of someone else’s sepia days – my two boys. Their world is full of promises. Days that tick by to the tempo of one promise after another. “Sushi after kindy today mum?” “Yes PJ.” “Pinky promise?”
We intertwine our two little pinky fingers, shake and smile knowing the promise we just made is not only binding, it is sacred. Each promise is another stroke in the sepia palette of their world.
The most significant promise I have made was my wedding vows. Standing there on that altar twelve years ago now in front of God and our family and friends I could barely whisper the promises to my husband to love, honour and cherish him. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the vows and the promise I had to keep. Overwhelmed by the staggering reality that this promise shook the foundation of everything I believed in and wanted.
Looking back there was another promise I made that was just as significant, if not more significant in my life. A promise that was not spoken out aloud or made in front of family and friends. This promise was made in silence. Looking down at AJ, and two years later looking down at PJ, in my arms moments after they were born my soul promised to be everything and anything for those two boys.
Stripped bare and exposed to the vulnerability of the life I held in my hands the promise to those two little babies wasn’t one to love, honour and cherish it was a staggering promise that in every capacity, with every breath and every cell in my body I would dissolve my pretences and ego and humble myself to the sacred life I held in my hands.
Since then? Not so many promises. Other than the every day sepia promises with my boys.
If I think about it long enough I realise I have never really made a promise to myself. Or have I? Surely the promises I made to my husband and to my children were also promises to me. But there really haven’t been promises exclusively for me.
There have been many aspects of my life I have vowed to change, work on and try hard to improve. Listening to my inner voice, being open to possibility – all good things that I have tried to incorporate into my life – for a better life. But these were never really promises.
Maybe fear is the reason I haven’t made a promise to myself. The undeniable linger of failure and how that could not only break a promise, but crack the foundation of who I am. I can feel the words trapped, hovering somewhere between my heart and my mouth – frozen and unable to come out.
The promise to pursue my hearts desires with complete abandon locked in a black world of no light, devoid of air and lacking the chance at life.
If I were to paint a mural of those heart desires I would paint a completed written novel, strike that, I would paint three or more completed novels. I would paint a blog that grows in strength, diversity and audience. I would paint evenings clear of any schedule except time spent with my boys. I would paint readers who are connected and enlightened by my words. I would paint and paint and paint.
But instead of promises I exercise caution and tread with hesitation. Something that weighs me down. Something that I need to change. Something that I need to sit in the stillness of my mind and find the ropes that bind this weight down and sever them.
Promises to ourselves are far more important than any other promises we can make. Sepia toned promises to our children. Diamond studded promises to our partners. All shadows. Until we can find the strength to make promises to our own heart desires first.
When was the last time you made a promise?
This was the last Conversations over Coffee link for 2014.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of such inspiring conversations.
In anticipation of #convocoffee 2015 please leave me your suggestions for prompts or themes in the comments below – would love to hear your ideas xx