Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Vow

As I sit here typing this morning, the fragrance of fresh brewed coffee is wafting through my nostrils. I’ve wrapped my hands around the cup several times and sipped. It’s a foggy morning as I stare off the front porch and out into the mist. I suppose the wolf man might be out there somewhere. But on a more serious note, I am here. It is a quiet morning after a very busy week. It is refreshing, and soothing to just sit here with cup in hand. I really don’t want to pen anything down… just take in the serenity. Nevertheless, I made a vow to myself. I vowed that I would take this time (and it has been a fight) and faithfully write once a week. There are weeks I absolutely can’t. Just take a look in the “Archives” and you’ll know that’s true. Even in the weeks I do write it is a fight. The fight comes in many different forms. Sometimes, I am tired. Sometimes, I am lazy. Sometimes, I have other work that has to take priority. Sometimes, my heart isn’t in it. Sometimes, I just don’t feel good. Sometimes, my motivation is gone. Who wants to get up at 6 a.m. on Friday and/or Saturday to write an article that you don’t get paid for?
But, I made a vow to myself. I vowed that I would write. I vowed that I would write in a forum that would cause me to publish quality. I vowed that I would do it faithfully. I have no one else to hold my feet to the fire about this vow but myself. There is no one looking over my shoulder to see if I am writing. There is no one to watch and see if I am doing my homework, researching my thoughts, or just reading to expand horizons. It is I… myself… and me to see that this writing gets done and thus fulfill my vow.
Now, you may ask, “What’s the point?” I am surrounded by people who make vows, and have no intention of honoring them, or at the very least have not considered the cost of honoring them. I discovered this phenomenon when I started my ministry. People would “vow” to be in church on Sunday when I would ask them to come. They wouldn’t show up. I finally quit asking because I realized that I was setting them up to lie. I don’t think the modern era understands the vow “…’til death do us part.” I believe they comprehend the words. I don’t believe they intend to keep the vow. I mean isn’t it a little crazy to suggest that no matter what…you stay married. C’mon that’s what divorce is for…right!?
Then, I think of who the vow is made to. People are counting on me to keep my vow to them…aren’t they? People want the assurance of my vow… don’t they? When I don’t keep a vow what does that say about me? I guess that’s why we have contracts. We now put our agreements in writing so that when one party breaks the agreement the other party can collect damages. Contracts are in every part of our society. Now, I’m not saying contracts are a bad thing. But, instead of the integrity of a vow, when you enter a relationship, make out a contract. That way, a person doesn’t have to have the personal integrity, stamina, or character required to honor a vow. One party can choose to “buy out” the other’s contract and end the relationship. If one party doesn’t hold up their end of a contract the other party has the right to end the relationship and seek to collect for damages. Finally, both parties can just simply agree that the relationship is mutually bad and dissolve the contract. The possibilities are provided for in the contract because it is anticipated that someone somewhere will not keep the terms agreed upon. That’s what a contract is for.
To quote Webster, a vow means, “…a grave, important and serious promise.”
A good teaching of this comes from the Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hears A Who. I read this years ago, and I have never forgotten this little ditty to this day.
“I meant what I said
And I said what I meant.
An elephant’s faithfulness
One hundred percent.”
Here in lies the nature of a vow. No one can make a vow for you. You have to make it yourself. No one can make you keep a vow. You have to keep it yourself. It says a lot about a person who can keep their vows.
How ya’ doin’ in that department?
On the lighter side, I’ll ask you about your vows… but I won’t ask about your diet