“PROMISE” – IS IT JUST A WORD?

It is said, “PROMISE is a big word. It either makes something or breaks everything.”

Well, one of our Indian movies has intensified it to higher ground, “It is easier to win someone’s trust and it is more easier to break it. But TOUGH is, ‘to sustain that trust’.” 

In the mid of this year, I was invited to join a National Conference at Shillong in October. Wow, Shillong! Who gonna miss it! Of course, ‘YES’ I replied. But after a couple of months, I received my University exam time table and somehow a 3 days gap between a couple of my papers offered me a break. As opportunities costs, I was asked to pay for the cancellation of my one-way train ticket and buy an air ticket. Penny-pinching and after a week-long thought-through I convinced myself to block the deal. Finally the day dawn, as likely my plan, I took the second-half break from the office and went to write the paper. Soon after, I called a cab for the airport to take the evening flight for Guwahati after 2 hours and then en route to Shillong by road. But as always, “human plans greatly whereas he has no idea what’s going to happen in next hour”, exactly so my cab took the U-turn and was stranded in the traffic for an hour. By the time, my cab driver gets space to sneak out for another route (of course, only possible on Indian roads:)) to the airport, I crossed my check-in time. One side, I was cursing my driver and another side blaming God, “how can you be so rude to me? Being an Almighty God, can’t you somehow give me a free road?”  Exhaust and down emotion, I reached the airport 15 minutes late to the scheduled departure of my flight. But to my surprise, my flight was flying 40 minutes late, as I stepped into the airport, my flight touched the ground and was taxing towards the terminal. With ‘let’s try’ thinking, I went for boarding pass and asked the executive, ‘I know I’m late to board your aircraft but I come to know your aircraft to Guwahati is flying late. And he slapping me with his words said, Sir, you are late than our delayed flight, YOU CANNOT BOARD THE FLIGHT. On my second request, he said, let me try Sir if it works! Again to surprise he handover the boarding pass and said, Sir, run to terminal 19, the gate is about to open. Hold on, the story doesn’t end there, there’s something for life-risk as well. By the time I land, Guwahati was raining like cats and dogs. Still praying, I got a brand new cab to Shillong, hungry and tired around 11 P.M I asked the driver, Sir, how long it will take to Shillong and can we stop somewhere for dinner. He replied, sure sir, around 1AM we will reach the Dhaba but Sir we must pray that there should not be any landslide. The way it is raining, I’m sure there will be landslide somewhere. After an hour, that skillful driver was good enough to turn the steering just in a few inches away from landslide. At 3 AM, I reached Shillong but again surprising my host was out of reach and I was in a drug-paddlers locality. With a bit more struggle, I got the connection of my other contact and finally, I got shelter.

Yes, as you think, my parents suggested me to cancel the trip and in fact, while facing each of the challenges I thought to withdraw from my “YES” to the conference organizers. But each time, one verse from the Bible went strong enough to convince me –

Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ 

Anything more comes from the evil one.

Promises are always made at the present time and mostly it is made about its future implications but the uncertainty of the future always appears as a challenge. As the future becomes present, at the most time it enfolds an awful lot of challenges. Logically, promises might be expressed with the help of word-formation but it isn’t just a word. The sustainability of our promise words shapes our identity – our character – our strengths – our understanding and majorly the other person’s TRUST. 

The well-known and well-uttered flamboyant phrase of our time is, “Heaven and earth may pass by but I will be with you at all times. You were meant for me”. But alas, since we tend to jettison our primary promises in most of our affairs we are experiencing more shattered relationships rather than the previous decades put together. Ironically, the British author Dr. John R. W Stott in one of his book on civilized society and its problems with morals and civility said,

“Many of the happenings of our civilized society would not exist if it were not for human sin. A promise is not enough, we need a contract. Doors are not enough, we need to lock and bolt them. The payments of fairs are not enough, we need to be with tickets that are punched, inspected and collected. Laws are not enough, we need the Police to enforce them. All these things and many others to which we have grown as a custom than we have taken them for granted are due to our sin. WE CANNOT TRUST EACH OTHER, WE NEED PROTECTION FROM ONE ANOTHER. It is a sorry state of affairs.”

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