Do You Keep Your Promises?
I thought about skipping my newsletter this week because it’s Halloween tonight and the air is filled with anticipation and I thought: Who wants to sit around thinking about life when we can be out in the sugary madness of it all, actually living instead?
But I skipped sending my newsletter out last week.
One week is a break. Two weeks is a departure. Three weeks would feel like giving up altogether.
What happens when we don’t show up for our commitments?
We become known, within ourselves, as people who don’t keep promises. This might sound like a small thing but it’s not, I assure you. When we stop keeping our promises - especially the ones we make to ourselves - we lose the sacredness in our lives.
This is what feels so specifically hard about the phenomenon of the past year and a half to me. If everything is cancelled, what matters anymore? If we can all work in our yoga pants and dirty socks and get away with it, why should we give that up or try harder anymore?
Someone reposted an article at the beginning of the school year about how our kids have “fallen behind” because of all the disruptions since 2020 and someone else commented: “Behind what? The arbitrary targets of our broken education system?”
The problem is, when we eschew our standards, sit out the race or regard the target as arbitrary, we begin to mess with the meaning of things. And that leaves the door open for despair.
I was waiting on a red light last week and across the intersection I noticed a monster truck with a bright blue and white Trump flag hanging off the side of its flatbed. I thought to myself: we have very different political views but here we are respecting the same rule: red means stop until the light turns green.
We’ve had some dips in recent times, as a society, into a kind of anarchy I’d never seen before during my lifetime in this country. And I’ve had some dips into my own personal anarchy before, too.
The only way I've ever been able to accurately describe this is: “going sideways.” It feels like a carnival ride; the bottom falls out and we plunge. Down feels up and up feels down. Nothing makes sense for a minute or two.
I don’t enjoy living in that reality.
I like the one where sacred things are held sacred. A promise isn’t easily broken. Red means stop. We can disagree without destroying each other. We can keep aiming for the target, even if it takes lifetimes to reach. We hold to our standards because holding to our standards matters. We understand the meaning is in the trying, not the attaining.
The satisfaction is in the showing up, not the applause.
Happy Halloween beautiful spirits! See you next time,