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
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
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
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
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