It’s election time here in Quebec. In less than a month, on April 7th, we Quebecers will elect a new government, and perhaps a new premier. And like every election time all we see and hear in the media are advertisements about the different leaders of the different political parties. As in every election all we hear at this time are the promises these leaders make to the people. And change is what we hope to get and that is why we vote.
Promise(v): assure, swear, undertake, guarantee, agree, give your word, pledge, secure.
Promise(n): assurance, undertaking, guarantee, agreement, contract, word, oath, pledge, potential, possibilities.
Have you ever wandered how many promises we make every day?
We make promises as a child, and later as an adult, as a student, as a teacher, as an employer, as an employee, as a sister, a brother, a mother, a father, an aunt, an uncle, a partner, a husband, a wife, a friend, a lover. We promise to write or call, to be there even when sometimes we know deep in our hearts that we won’t. We promise to love and grow old together. Promises we make every day. Life is full of promises we don’t get to keep. Paulo Coelho wrote:
“In the first place, you shouldn’t believe in promises. The world is full of them: the promises of riches, of eternal salvation, of infinite love. Some people think they can promise anything, others accept whatever seems to guarantee better days ahead, as, I suspect is your case.”
And when my kids are in some kind of trouble or distress and I try to give them a hug and tell them, “It will get better, trust me,” that hurts. Because deep down I can’t help but think, what if it doesn’t get better? Was it Saint Teresa who said:
“Words lead to deeds. They prepare the soul, make it ready, and move it to tenderness.”
I personally have given up on promises. Especially on the ones I make to myself. But it wasn’t always like this. There was a time when I very much believed in what people said and promised. As I believed that we, my late husband and I, will always be there for each other and will grow old together, so none of us will feel all alone in this world. A promise we kept but were destined to break.
“It’s strange how people give up on you within weeks of promising that they will always be there… and it’s just sad that promises are destined to break and when you had finally believed in that one promise someday you give up on yourself too… and it’s not about love… it is, at times, about barren hopes and a bleak tomorrow…” Sanhita Baruah