Promises–Cross Your Heart or Cross Your Fingers

Froglegs has learned something new. There are levels, or degrees, of promises.

How do I know this? So glad you asked…

The other day we were having a discussion. I don’t even remember what it was about. All I remember is the end of the conversation.

“I promise, Froglegs,” said this Nana, very sincerely.

“Do you really, REALLY promise???” was his response.

“Absolutely, I promise,” was my reassuring reply.

“Ok. Pinky promise, then,” he demanded. To which, I complied and we pinky-ed our promise.

I had to chuckle at being made to pinky promise with my grandson. I really take my promises seriously anyway, with or without the pinky swear part. But my little buddy knows all too much about broken promises, so if my pinky-pinky promise with him added a measure of security, well…let me double pinky promise with that sweet boy.

That also got me thinking about our young neighbors next door. They just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, and like all marriages, they have already gotten to experience the ups and downs that occur in all relationships. But I am getting way ahead of myself here.

This young couple purchased the house next to ours, but only the young man moved in.  He lived there alone for almost a year. From time to time, his fiancee would come over to work on the house or in the yard, but she never stayed the night.

Finally, their wedding day arrived and for the first time, she was there 24/7. My husband and I were so blessed to see the honor that they held for their coming marriage. And the seriousness in which they have continued to live out the promises they made to one another.

As they settled in to their life as  husband and wife, Superman and I would comment from time to time at the joy they shared together and how easily it overflowed into their interaction with our family of monkey-children.

During the winter, the couple went skiing and the young wife injured her knee. Eventually she had surgery to repair it and the subsequent rehab to get back her range of motion and strength.

This couple had also gotten a German Shepherd puppy named “Stella”–and believe me when I say that this dog required a lot of exercise.  And Stella didn’t care if her owner was saddled with a bum knee.

One afternoon, we were enjoying the weather, sitting on our deck and watching the ducks and the birds doing their flying, floating, quacking…We saw Stella bound down the hill of her back yard, and her “mom” carefully navigating the slope to get down to the flat part of the yard.

Once safely down the hill, she tossed the balls and played fetch for quite awhile. Suddenly, we saw Stella take off for the front. No matter how she was commanded to come back, Stella was not in any hurry to obey. After just a few minutes, we saw the reason why…

“Daddy” was home…she jumped up and down and ran with great excitement. She followed him into the back yard where we observed him, carrying a load of stuff, walking down the hill to his wife’s side.

He kissed her so tenderly as his greeting to her. There was a purity to their embrace that was so moving. I think Superman was almost teary-eyed by this point. But then, the young husband leaned over, scooped up his wife and carried her up the hill so she wouldn’t have to walk back up the steep slope with her bad knee.

We just looked at each other. Their love was not the transient kind. Their promises to love each other for better or worse didn’t have qualifiers attached. Their promises to love each other in sickness and in health were not made with their fingers crossed behind their backs.

No. Their promises were the “cross your heart and hope to die” kind…the grown up version of the pinky promise. The kind of promises real fathers and mothers make to their children. The kind of promises God makes to His children.

That pinky promise meant the world to my Froglegs. And those marriage vows carry that same kind of intention–

I just wish everyone would approach every promise as a life and death kind of promise instead of the “fingers crossed behind their backs” kind of promise. Can you imagine what our world would look like if everyone kept their promises???

What a wonderful world that would be…


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