Your Word

Whatever happened to the words we say being our bond? If we make promises, we are supposed to keep them right? In business, there is a fine line with what we’re told. Expectations are that if we have a deadline, we are expected to meet it and if we don’t meet those deadlines, there are penalties. Recently, I had a situation where a friend of mine was supposed to do a project for me. She kept putting it off telling me that it would get finished. As the deadline approached, her life began to unravel. She had car issues and started working so much that she didn’t have time for anything else. While I understood she had hit a major snag, the fact that she didn’t do what she promised nagged at me. Instead of taking ownership for the mistake, it was put back on me that she was “sorry I felt the way I did.” I helped her out financially for years and she only attempted to pay me back once and that was because I begged her to send me the money. When all was said and done, I felt used.

Isn’t that par for the course? When we can’t get things done, there’s always excuses. We didn’t utilize our time management in the appropriate way. When the world feels as if it’s crashing upon us, it’s easy to take the mentality of woe is me. I make a lot of mistakes and I’ve done the same thing that she did. It’s not a fun feeling. The danger of not keeping your word is that you start to lose relationships, opportunities, and directives that will assist you in future endeavors. I could have understood my friend’s situation if she hadn’t gone to sleep so much when she did have the time to do it. She let her depression make decisions for her. In the end, it made me not believe anything she told me from that point forward.

My mind never stops. Even when I’m sleeping I see things that are like a constant cinema that only I can watch. At church, it’s one of the hardest venues for me to attend. One of the reasons is because the church that I attend is an older church. It has a spectrum of seniors and youth with very little in between. The older generation truly believes in keeping their word. When they tell someone they are going to do something, it’s done. No questions asked. Whereas the younger generations tend to put off tomorrow what could have been done today.

If there’s one thing this virus outbreak has done, it’s forced all of us to slow down. There are some things that are completely beyond our control. However, in many situations, this time that we are being forced to use is giving us a different level of achieving goals that we’ve put off. We may have told our significant other that we would get a project done and now we actually have more time to do it. The flip side is that if you are among many folks who have lost their employment during this time, it may prove to be challenging to keep your word. Money is a motivator. No matter how any of us may feel about keeping our word, if it requires money to make it happen, we might not achieve the goal.

Emotions are running really high right now. My job is one that is still being allowed to be done with the virus. We are on lockdown so I’m not allowed to let anyone in my office but I have to tell you all about something that happened recently that made me feel like I was able to keep my word.

I manage a storage facility in NC. When customers don’t pay on their units after a certain amount of time, those units are auctioned. There was one unit that did get auctioned off. The man who owned that unit had gotten the storage and put just about everything he owned in it, including his wife’s ashes. He had called me several times wanting the ashes and I was willing to help him get them but he never called me to arrange a time he could come. After a while, I wasn’t willing to help him anymore because he didn’t keep his word on anything. Eventually, his unit was sold to someone else. The woman who won the unit was wonderful. She brought me the ashes and I had absolutely no clue what to do with them but I told her I would try to get in contact with the family so that they could pick up the urn. Little did I know how difficult keeping my word would prove to be. I called the funeral home and to their credit did try to find her husband. Unfortunately, they had no other contact information for the family. They told me to contact the local sheriff’s department, which I did. They too weren’t able to locate the husband. After the sheriff’s department told me there was nothing they could do, something told me to look at the obituary again. I saw a picture of the deceased and her eyes just looked at me through the computer screen. My heart just kind of dropped. I knew this woman was loved and couldn’t stomach the thought of her being discarded like she meant nothing. I had to find her family. According to the obit, her sons names were listed but there was no indication of what city or state they lived in. When I went to find them, there were several different listings for men with their names and I couldn’t locate them. However, there was also a name for her brother and his wife that live in Florida. I found them. I managed to call them and they were able to get in contact with the sons and their spouses. They came and got the urn. Their peace of mind was worth keeping my word. I can’t tell you the sense that came over me. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve made so many mistakes and broken my word more than I should have. It took a long time for me to understand that what we say is a reflection on us. Now that I’m older I understand. None of us are perfect and there will be times in our lives that we have to break our word. Communication is so critical to keep from relationships collapsing because of a lack of trust and commitment.

We all are having to keep our word with each other now. We are all having to protect ourselves and keep everything together. The most difficult part of the journey is having the patience to fulfill our day to day endeavors. Families lives are being uprooted. People are not being able to attend sporting events, attend any type of large gatherings, celebrate birthdays with friends and families, go to concerts or movies, everything is changing. The things that we promised are now something that it is becoming more difficult to keep our word on. What we can keep our word on is that we will do everything we can to defeat this virus and get back to our lives. Take care of yourselves and each other. We are all on an unusual journey.

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