Dictum meum pactum

My word is my bond.

It’s an important phrase to me.  In a very important way, it represents one of the cornerstones of my life, indeed of my very personality.  That particular cornerstone is trustworthiness.  It means when I make a promise I’ll do everything I can to keep my promise.

My word is my bond.

It has some unusual side effects.  Sometimes it makes me seem a little shy to make a promise in the first place.  I cannot say, “I’ll do what I can” or “I’ll try my best” lightly.  Once I have uttered those words I feel I have made a promise I must fulfill.  It does not mean I say, “I’ll give a half-hearted effort and give up when it’s not easy.”

Worse, when I make an absolute glorious commitment in full fledged glory, it needs to be treated like gold in a bank.  My kids get that commitment, all the time without asking.  My family isn’t the entirety of my life, though, and I have to find a balance for everything.

When I offer a promise with full sincerity, I better make sure I can make that kind of commitment.  Occasionally I get asked why I’ve stayed beyond the best before date.  There’s your answer.

My word is my bond.

When I say you are my friend, there aren’t strings attached.  On twitter, one of the questions one of my friends posed was, “What five things do you value most in your friends?“  I’m still working on the answer to that.  Sharing much of my value system is vaguely part of the equation.  Her answer was great, “Honesty, loyalty, reliability, confidence, sense of humour.”

We can disagree.  I can dislike your choices.  But my friends are my friends and there’s good reason so many of my true friends have been around most of my life.  Part of being a true friend means forgetting the minutiae and remembering the deeper part of why we get along and make each other stronger.

My word is my bond.

I love my community.  I run the risk that I haven’t been here as long as others and I don’t have a deep understanding or that I’ll be a “flight risk” and move away as soon as possible.  I run the risk that my motivations be suspect, that I care more for myself than my neighbours.  A risk that this “listening” I’m pretending to do is just a front for “getting my own way.”

I don’t believe in zero sum games.  I know that I’m wrong about half the time and it’s in the talking to others and gaining insight from their experience that I sharpen myself and focus better.  I do believe in openness and honesty and balanced evaluation of the facts.  And sometimes re-examination of the facts.

I know that I love the people and the place of my community.  Take either away and I’d like it less.  The people who want to be my neighbours, I want to be a good neighbour for them too.  Little stuff that means a lot.  I don’t mind having to prove myself over and over again.  It is only time and action that will prove my sincerity to others.

My word is my bond.

Ultimately, I can’t fix the world.  I really can’t do much other than try to make things better.  Last night I heard Jay Baydala say, “People are the answer.“  I agree.  I’m one person, but I’m looking to find answers.

I give you my word.