Saturday, March 3, 2012

Promises in Trade

Perhaps it’s a natural instinct. To make promises to the Light in return for a favor.
A big favor.
Somewhere in the middle of a summer night in my sixth year here, I made my first promise.
When the stabbing light and explosions of thunder exploded closer and closer, shaking the walls around me in a house I didn’t know could tremble -- I knew it was coming for me.
Because I was a bad little girl.
There was no running to mom and dad in my house. In fact, I’m pretty sure that never even crossed my mind in way of comfort.
Why was the sky mad at me? What had I done so wrong?
There was also no going to church in my house, and the only time the word God was mentioned, it was usually followed by a four-letter word.
Maybe that was it.
Maybe it didn’t like that.
“I’ll never say bad words again,” I cried out into the walls clattering in fear at the onslaught of a fury I couldn’t comprehend.
Right. I would give up swearing.
Right. I was 6 years old, it wasn’t like I went around swearing like a soldier, but it was all my tearful mind could come up with in trade for safety.
I said it over and over again; softer in the silence in between strikes; louder and with more tears when it came again to rattle my bones and question my veracity.
Fortunately, somewhere along the way, the storm passed.
Eventually, I fell back into sleep.
I don’t remember if I stopped swearing for a minute, an hour, or a day.
I don’t remember when I broke my promise.
I don’t remember when I rationalized that the storm hadn’t passed quickly enough to warrant my honoring the promise.
But I did, finally, remember the promise.
Somewhere in the middle of a hot summer day in my teen years here, on a playground behind a school with a group of friends, I remembered.
Maybe because dark clouds were approaching.
Maybe because I was swearing like a soldier.
And when I did remember, I sat down on a swing for about a tenth of a second and considered the promise.
Then I started swearing with attitude.
Maybe it was because I remembered that the storm hadn’t passed quickly enough to warrant my honoring that promise.
Maybe it was because I remembered that thousands of more earth-bolting ground-shaking thunderstorms had passed over to terrify me since that night.
Maybe it was because I didn’t believe there was really anything up there to promise anything to.
Or worse.
Maybe it was because I thought that maybe there was; but that something so big that it could rattle houses like tin cans should be doing something better than rattling houses like tin cans just to terrify little girls into searching for something to promise in trade for their safety.
I had a long way to go before I could see the Light.
And, sometimes, sitting on a swing on a playground behind a school all by myself but never alone, I still believe that I have a long way to go before I can reach the Light.
Or better.
I know that I see and consider and understand exactly the facet of the Light that I am ready to see and consider and understand at this point in my spirit trekking journey.
We all do.
And it’s perfect.
As long as we keep trekking.
And remember our promises. To ourselves.

The promise I made in my late teens was really a doozy! Have you ever made a promise to the Light in trade for something? An “I’ll never do that again…” or “if you do this for me, I’ll do that for you?”
Have you realized that you’re worth keeping your promise to?

1 comment:

  1. It has taken half a century to realize that I am worth making a promise to and keeping a promise for the light. I think we all have been in those scary dark corners when those promises coming rushing in. What I have found through this life is that storms do pass and the sun comes shining in. Thank you for sharing your journey.