I promise.

Wednesday February 28, 2018

I promise to do my best,
To do my duty to God,
To serve my Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Brownie Guide Law.

It is nearly fifty years since I made that promise, and that promise today is different. Line two says, "To be true to myself and develop my beliefs," which is more inclusive, even if it doesn't scan. Line three includes serving the community as well as the Queen. But I can still remember making that promise.

There are other promises I have made.

I promised Caroline I would faithfully turn in a blog every Wednesday (or, if it was not explicitly promised, it is a tacit understanding at least).

On 7th May 1999, I promised my husband I would love and care for him always and be faithful to him.

I hope I have kept all these promises.

But the promises I make to myself, they are an entirely different matter.

I promise myself I will stop drinking. I promise myself I will eat healthily. I promise myself I will swim at least three times a week. And I promise myself I will have finished my third novel by Easter.

And – what happens? The bottle of Cabernet calls my name. My daughter has three friends around and I feed them all pizza. It is too much bother to cook myself salmon and vegetables, so I eat pizza (and cheesecake too). Today I need to write this blog and to pack up china for my mother in preparation for her move; so swimming falls by the wayside. "Tin Soldier"? It stands at 36,667 words, and the finished length will be 75,000 words. Easter? Cue sound of hollow laughter!

If we keep the promises we make to others, yet not the promises we make to ourselves, what does that mean? What does it tell us about the way we view ourselves in comparison to others? What are the implications of valuing others more highly than ourselves?

I find it interesting that, in Matthew 22:39, Jesus says, "Love your neighbour as yourself." He does not say, "Value others more highly that yourself." We and our neighbours are of the same worth – and worthy of the same love.

This blog is not meant to put more pressure on you – I am all for being compassionate with ourselves and to recognise that sometimes promises cannot be kept, for very good reasons. But I do think we should learn to value ourselves and our time and our promises to ourselves.

Last week I promised you that I would schedule more and do less. I have heard it phrased as, doing less to accomplish more.

This week I have not managed to keep that promise: things have been chaotic – mostly owing to my mother's move – she is downsizing and it's a big job: lots of packing.

So, I have let you and myself down. But this coming week, I will do better!

I promise.


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