The Gift of Promise
 Elita Sohmer Clayman

Maria Clyde, my hairdresser coined this expression when she and I were talking while she was doing my hair one Friday afternoon. She wanted me to try some new product and I said maybe next week. She said this will be a gift of promise meaning that I promised to be brave enough to try this new item.

Of course, when I came in the following week, I said I will wait. She said you promised. I said I will wait until I am ready because some times I have allergies to new products used cosmetically.

I loved that expression and I told her I would use it as a theme for a coming article on the dance website. So here I am and I will tie it into ballroom dancing and life.

Ballroom dancing is like a gift of promise or a promise of a gift. The gift being the satisfaction we get from accomplishing all we can when we learn to dance or continue to dance afterwards. You all know that my husband and I started out almost thirty-one years ago to take a set of ten lessons for an event we were having the following year. I wanted to be able to get up and dance at this affair with dignity and finesse and to have lots of fun celebrating my son’s Bar Mitzvah party. In reality, I want to show off my dancing abilities.

So we took a set of ten lessons and stayed in the dancing world for this length of time. Time goes by fast as we age and before we know it, it is July and I have already seen advertised on television items for Christmas 2008. That is a bit early but only proves that time marches on and if we are lucky, we march or dance with it.

On June 18th of this year 2008, my husband and I were injured severely by someone in a car who was texting and not keeping his eyes on the road. He ran a red light and crashed into our car leaving the car almost gone and our ribs and bones and shoulders and back quite injured. We went to the emergency room of a local hospital where we each had chest x-rays, EKG’s and he a cat scan of his stomach etc. We were there a long five hours in excruciating pain and suffering. Now over four weeks later, the car is still being repaired and our bones and etc hurting and we are in many sessions during the week, each and every week with physical therapy. The doctors all say do no housework, no dancing and we just got back to going on our recumbent exercise bike which we need for our knees and heart. It has been a long four weeks and still continues to be even longer.

People who through their own negligent thinking and lack of control to text or cell phone call are doing a great disservice to others. Innocent others who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong moment. We were those people. You probably know some acquaintances that have been in the same situation.

The gift of promise mentioned above should be in all of our minds. We should be giving the promise to behave towards others as we want to be treated. We should not use our cell phones while we are driving, we should not text while we are driving and we should be promising ourselves to be diligent in the treatment of others’ lives. We should not harm others because we are impatient to call or talk or message. We should be caring enough humans to realize how precious life is to our self and to others, even strangers on the road.

There is a thing in psychology stated as put the bad things you encounter out of your mind and then store them in a box and put the box away. Also, I would note that you can do the same things with the good events. Put the good event thoughts about to happen or that has happened in a box and keeps them out in your clear vision. I decided to do something different. When I wake up in the morning, I take a pad of paper and write down the good things I expect could or hope will happen that day. Even if it is an item
like expecting a special magazine in the mail to come, or going to the mall to buy a shirt or blouse, I put it down as an anticipated or foreseeable occurrence that I hope will happen. Some things expected or hoped for may be simple and plain things like the magazine or they could be exciting things like the birth of a new grandchild, the arrival home of a child who has been away for many months. They could even be envisioning going to a dance several weeks from now. I have always felt that anticipation is half the delight of something wonderful about to happen; whether it is today, tomorrow or six months from now. Dancing has always been my vision, before I learned to dance well, after I danced splendidly and even when unable to dances as is now because of the accident, it is still a delicious thought and also a gift of promise.

When we found out in January of 2005 that my son and daughter-in-law were expecting their first child and our third grandchild the exhilaration of that momentous announcement was so glorious. I remember the date they told us that, we were sitting in a restaurant having an early dinner in Northern Virginia where they reside and I was so happy and tearful that I could hardly eat the food. We had been expecting the expecting announcement for awhile and when it did not happen, we knew it would come soon. That day I did not think about it happening and when it did there were no words from me, a writer that I could express without tears. Anticipation can be the excitement beforehand and hope can be the excitement before the anticipation. Added together, the event whatever it is will be the phenomenon. Any phenomenon does not have to be world event like, it can be a simple pleasure designated for you and your family or you alone.

Putting away the bad thoughts in a ‘box’ in a locked drawer will eliminate bad mood happenings and putting the good events in a box is like
storing your jewelry in a special container. You may not look at the jewelry often but it is there awaiting your perusal. Going on a vacation is wonderful but anticipating many times is just as lovely. Preparing for an event and finally attaining it are two components of a good time.

So the gift of a promise or the promise of a gift is a good slogan to keep in your mind. Remember that you must always gift yourself because you are special. My mother always said that as a child and a teen and then as an adult, that I loved to give as much as I enjoyed receiving. She said that giving spirit of mine made me into a special person. Of course, she was prejudiced.

Now as a senior adult, I still like to reward people that have been good to me with special gifts, a piece of inexpensive costume jewelry to a person working in an office who took time out to care about me in one way or the other. Right now I am on my way to Kohls, a specialty store here in our city to buy several small pieces of costume jewelry to give to a fine secretary in a physician’s office who last week went out of her way to give me results on a medical test I took. She did not make me wait till I see the doctor two weeks after the test. She sent the results to my regular internist and to my gastroenterologist doctor and faxed it to me. She was kind, considerate and did it with compassion. You do not see this so often in salespersons, in medical personnel or anybody. She gave me the gift of a promise by sending it to me so I would not have to worry if the outcome was bad. It was a good report and saved me who is a constant worry wart to not contemplate the worst scenario.

Receiving is fine, giving is also good. It makes a person feel satisfied to maybe bestow a small kindness in the form of a material possession. It makes the receiver know he or she is the recipient of a form of thank you. Many people nowadays do not know how to say thank you verbally or in a tangible gift. When my son was almost twelve the teacher, Mr. Wilson said to him “Jeffrey, you are the politest sixth grader in the whole school.” He said “thank you Mr. Wilson.” “That is what I mean” he said.

Thank you verbally is the most inexpensive expression one can say. Eight letters in the two words conveys a proper and appropriate response. Gift yourself with a promise to try and be happy, to always say thank you and most of all to respond to kindness by giving a gift of your self to someone, even a stranger by saying pleasant niceties and the promise of a mental reward will be yours. You can put this into your box and know it a promise of a gift to your self. This will make you feel quite special and so you really are and most of all, you know it.

Thank you Maria Clyde for this lovely and meaningful saying.

Keep on Dancing and enjoying life. Life is a gift and we promise our self to appreciate it.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
Baltimore, Maryland
August 2008

Keep on Dancing


Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL