birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

How Deep is Your Pledge?

For some reason the word “promise” feels old-fashioned these days. Have I promised any human recently I’d do anything for him/her? Not really. I promised/vowed, in a traditional wedding ceremony, to love and honor my husband in sickness and in health. I vowed as an oblate, or third-order member of the Benedictine monastery, to uphold the tenets of Jesus and St. Benedict.

Did I take these “promises” very seriously when I made them? Yes I did. Do I think about what I promised every day, in a lifelong effort to burnish and deepen my vows? I have to say, not really. This makes me feel a bit like a fraud. Is my promise still true if I do not consciously contemplate it on a regular basis and pledge anew to follow through? Yes, but I feel as though I could do better.

Then again I recall that Heidi Klum and husband Seal tended to have showy marriage vow renewals and celebrate receptions EVERY YEAR—until they filed for divorce. So there you go.

Come to think of it, on a lesser but still important level, I do have a way of “promising” friends I’ll call soon and we’ll make those lunch/dinner/coffee plans. But then I don’t, and they don’t either, because the superficial busyness of life crowds in. These are the broken promises, harmless though they seem to be, that probably erode my day-to-day life more than anything these days. It’s a good time to contemplate this pattern.

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Pinky Swear