Monday, January 9, 2012

The Burden of Unkept Promises

Sometimes those hours between midnight and dawn are like little doors that open and close and draw you into faraway thoughts. Your body should be sleeping, but instead- you drift...
Your soul is restless, your mind questions, your brain plans, your memory replays visions....oftentimes your instinct worries- yet, other times your heart finds hope.

I drifted into one of those doorways this morning. It was situated somewhere between 1 and 2 am. And behind it stood a lifetime of resolutions.
When a person says "resolutions", we tend to think of New Year's Eve- of a giddy, half-serious, handwritten list of habits we wish to break- or dreams that we desire.

But actually resolutions come to us all during our lifetime, and they come to us in many forms. Some are ardent prayers, others simple plans, and still others are a detailed layout of the future.

This morning I realized that mine have been promises. To myself.
Promises I didn't keep.

How would I treat a friend that had broken so many promises?
Well, I would find it hard to believe and trust them again.

And yet, I excuse myself !
I fully accept "sweeping them under the rug", giving up without a fight...
forgetting completely and without remorse-  the zest and determination that fevered those promises.

When I was young, I wanted so badly to "be somebody". To grow up famous and wealthy and successful.
But now, I just want to be "me".

It's in these early morning hours of meditation and reflection that I realize how difficult that is. How painfully unfathomable is that goal of being the person that I know I can be!
It's sad, really. Like being lost in a forest and not knowing which way to go... Afraid to go anywhere at all-  because you might lose sight of the sunlight through the trees...
...that you might stumble and fall- and forever be a prisoner in a stranger's body.

Last night my husband and I ran into two old friends of ours- and after a bit of laughter and reminiscing, the woman looks at me and says. "What do you do now?"

I froze.
And then said, "nothing".

What was I supposed to say? I blog?
I wash clothes and dishes and dirty floors?
I dust and doodle and read and write and watch old black and white movies on TCM?
I dream? I eat? I nap?

That I make millions of resolutions that I never keep? That I meant to be productive, artistic, healthy and thin? That I meant to have a career, a purpose, an independent income... an interesting life?

Resolutions....Those promises that disappoint, die, and dishearten...

But it is only because I have allowed them to be such.
It's gotten to the point where no one listens anymore. No one believes or trusts that I'm going to do those things that I say...that I'm going to be "me".
I've simply "cried wolf" so many times that my voice is blocked out... and silent.

I had written a comment in my new daughter-in-law's blog that this year I was ready to start my transformation.
Last night my son says jokingly- "Feel free to start coming out of your cocoon anytime, Mom."
And we all had a good laugh.

But last night when the doors of solitude and reflection opened, it suddenly wasn't funny anymore.
Reality stabbed me like a knife. It stung over and over again like an angry bee.
I had not only let myself down, but I had also let others down.
Friends and family that had expected more from me than what I had given.

How do you say "I'm sorry"?
How do you regain that faith they once had in you?

How do you go into that forest and blaze a path so beautiful and clear that you never become lost again?


"Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born."
       - Dr. Dale Turner


  1. You are a wonderful and loving wife, mother and MIL! You are always there for all of us, whenever we need you. You never let anyone down, ever. You always put others before yourself. You are a giver, that is who you are. You want everyone you love to be happy. I have never met a more selfless person in my life. Maybe it’s just time you spend a little more time on what Rae wants, instead of everyone else. You may have disappointed yourself, but you have never disappointed any of us. We only care about you and want to see you happy. love you MIL!

  2. Well said Cindy! You need to take time for yourself and so do I. It is the stress and sometimes drama of the people around us that make us disappoint ourselves! It is just plain old ordinary everyday life.....and everything feels so much better after that creme horn! LOL I too have let myself down...I have not accomplished all that I want in life. I talk the talk but find it challenging to walk the walk.

    You have never let me down or others around you. We just gotta learn to do for US! Love you...

  3. Oh my gosh this post hits me right where I live! I have resolved this year to try and satisfy resolutions I have let go in the past.
    Great post!
    Blessings, Joanne

  4. I remember the time in my life when I had to face the reality that I could never be what I wanted to be. So I became who others needed me to be. I love the way you look at life, you remind me of George Bailey, you have no clue to how many lives you have affected for the better.I love you sis!

  5. Dearest Rae, Even tho the diff. in our ages, you have been a close friend like no other You have encouraged me more than you will ever know.
    The day you gave me that photo of "the moust: never give up your dream: You will never know if you live to l000 yrs old what that meant to me. No one has ever given me anything like your caring. I had to stop & reflect on you buying that frame, painting that picture and I thought, oh my goodness someone in this world cares about my dream.

    rae you are so talented, so many people would love and envy you of your wonderful talents, your love for your kids, your grandkids. You had one of the sweetest Mothers I ever knew in my life and it was my late Husbands honor to send her off to Heaven with his message of love abouther and you know Rae,,,, you are so much like her.....I too have been in the same spot you are once or twice ha ha, but you know what learn to love yourself, like everyone else loves you...... its worth the ride, love ya b.lipe

  6. Rae you are the most loving person I know. Dont ever let me hear you put yourself down. Remember the day you gave me the photo of mouse and it said "dont ever give up on your dreams" It is because of you that I havent. I cant tell you how happy that made me, you will never know. To think someone is concerned about you shows love all the way thru. Your a special lady with so many talents. You are so much like your wonderful mom, I loved her very much. You have been my inspiration many times in life Rae... love b.lipe

  7. Actualizing to our fullest potential is our life's work. And, it indeed takes a life time. Personally, I think you're right on schedule. The truth is, as mothers, we pour our lives into the greatest work of art ever: our children and family. You've done well, my sweet SIL. After all, a star can't help but shine!