Monday, 3 October 2016

Promises promises. . .

I think subconsciously I really like this song because trumpets feature quite prominently in the introduction, accenting specific points of the melody and also because of the quirky rhythmic nature that changes quickly.  This is due to the style of music of the 1960s from which this song was composed and it's another Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic featuring Dionne Warwick.  This track belongs to the musical The Apartment and if you're unfamiliar with the song, you will be able to appreciate the dramatic or flamboyant sections of the song (wait till you get to the instrumental interlude and you'll see what I mean).

Promises, promises
I'm all through with promises, promises now
I don't know how I got the nerve to walk out
If I shout, remember I feel free
Now I can look at myself and be proud
I'm laughing out loud

Promises.  Are you the maker or breaker of promises?  To me they almost exist in the same way that lies do, because you can make small or big promises.  When someone continually makes promises then breaks them, or they have to keep making promises because they broke the last one - why do we put ourselves through such torture?  Do we live in the hope that maybe this time, things will be different; that this time around, maybe just this once, the promises can be kept longer than an hour, a day, a week, a year.  What do we need to do in order to be promise keepers?

Oh, promises promises
This is where those promises, promises end
I don't pretend that what was wrong can be right
Every night I sleep now, no more lies
Things that I promised myself fell apart
But I found my heart

If you constantly break promises to someone, how do you think the trust starts to look and feel after a while?  Pretty much non-existent right?  Are broken promises worth losing sleep over?  I guess it's when you start lying to try and patch up those broken promises.  I have always told my former students not to lie.  I also told them that if you're not good at lying, you might as well stop doing it.  If you have to lie, why not get paid for it, like you would in a job?  Not that employers would list for prospective employees as one of the skills and aptitudes - ability to lie exceedingly well under pressure to increase company profit margins or something like that.  They would expect you to use your discretion right?  And mask it under some other attributes like critical analysis, excellent communication skills, evaluation and monitoring.  But I digress.  We're talking about promises here, not lies.



Oh, promises, their kind of promises can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kind of promises take all the joy from life
Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises
Can lead to joy and hope and love
Yes love!!

I wonder sometimes.  Where do we learn about how to make promises and keep them faithfully, truthfully?  Do we look to people we admire, role models to teach us or give us some exemplars about what keeping promises looks like?  The juxtaposition in this verse tells us about the fine line that exists between promises that threaten to destroy and promises that bring joy.  What kinds of promises do you make?  Has someone told you what promises they kept for you or because of you?  They could have been negative ones rather than positive ones.  Think of every villain that has ever existed in a movie.  They act on those dark promises that they make to themselves when they set out to make the protagonist pay for making their life difficult, for thwarting their efforts at world domination.

Instrumental interlude

Every night I sleep now, no more lies

Things that I promised myself fell apart
But I found my heart

There's something about that soaring trumpet line when it cuts through the top of the melody in the instrumental interlude.  It makes me question how far we are willing to push ourselves when we decide to honour promises that we have made to ourselves.  We might have made promises to ourselves quite freely and easily but never kept them.  This shouldn't deter us from making promises, rather, it should be a wake up call that we need to start considering how to keep them, keep those promises longer than what we are normally able to do, like we're trying to build up our tolerance levels for keeping promises - because keeping them is much harder than making them.  We never think about the consequences of promises that we make - what happens when we make them, what happens when we don't keep them.

Oh, promises, their kind of promises can just destroy a life
Oh, promises, those kinds of promises take all the joy from life
Oh, promises, promises, my kind of promises
Can lead to joy and hope and love
Yes love!!

What are your kind of promises?
I hope that you find joy in the promises that you make in your life.  We often think that we need to make these promises a public display for everyone to see, but no, start with yourself, in the privacy of your own mind.  What promises will you make to live your best life?  What promises will you honour and keep?  What are my promises?  How do I know what promises are worth keeping and which to let go?  Why make promises in the first place?  Did I get it right for myself?  I can't tell you how many times things that I promised myself fell apart, but I found my heart. . .