Vows are a solemn promise to the future. Not necessarily a guarantee, but certainly a declaration and always vocational, a sacred intention. How do we bring our commitments to fruition in an ever-changing complex world? The idea of a vow is an old fashioned one and connected to a time where relationships had their own time line linked to the longevity of a human’s life span.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honour you all the days of my life. Wedding vows
The good times and the bad times – in equal measure and yet sickness comes before health in the marriage vows, a secret code embedded into the transaction to let you know that is where the learning will most likely come. Another hint of the future hidden in the vows knowing the days of life are limited and finite.
Loving you is also a key message – not loving some kind of preferred imaginary version of you, but you, a clever little word able to be singular and plural. What if the vow refers to the plural – the you the couple becomes by being in union?
Taking an oath is sacred and sanctified by the witnesses. In these days when the oath is linked to office or evidence it is a public declaration that brings integrity and honour. It is also an opportunity to be humble and being willing to hold yourself to some kind of public account. It is a marriage with the people or with the truth.
Our world is challenged by ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ and so the marriage, the social contract with those who have taken vows and oaths on our behalf: delusional leads to dissolution. The marriage between political leaders and the public is heading to divorce. The public prefer the good times and health to bad times and sickness and their patience won’t last as long as most marriages.
The social contract between those who make oaths and vows with us is under threat. Springsteen forecasted in Badlands (from Darkness on the Edge of Town) these badlands are the price to pay before we are raised above and are treated so much better. The vows strain towards hope, lean towards fidelity, taken in dark times, cling to the promise of better days beyond the badlands.
…Poor man wanna be rich,
Rich man wanna be king,
And a king ain’t satisfied,
’til he rules everything …
Well, I believe in the love that you gave me,
I believe in the faith that can save me,
I believe in the hope and I pray,
That someday it may raise me
Above these badlands …
Badlands, you gotta live it everyday,
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you’ve gotta pay,
We’ll keep pushin’ ’til it’s understood,
And these badlands start treating us good …
What vows will you make to the future to go beyond the badlands?
My promise to the future is a vow: to be true to you (plural) and bring my truth to our conversations in public and private domains; seek to honour others truths; bring what health I can to places where there is ill health … and that will take me into the badlands.