Promises are a declaration assuring that one will or will not do something. A promise is an undertaking or assurance given by one person to another agreeing or guaranteeing to do or to give something, or not to do or not to give something. That’s a dictionary definition for what a promise is. And promises, by virtue of what they are, create the foundation for expectation. In other words, when a promise is made, it’s expected that the promise will be carried out.
Here are three true stories, and all three of them have Lewis at the heart of each story.
Back in the Fall of 2008, I ran into a well-known local musician at a local music store. We had worked together on a couple of gigs in the past. Straight up … we knew each other; it’s as simple as that.
Now this well-known local musician made a big deal about being concerned about Lewis’ health as Lewis had been diagnosed scant months before with Myasthenia Gravis. He made an even bigger deal about the fact that he was going to write a song for Lewis to raise his spirits. He was so enthusiastic about writing a song for Lewis that he spoke loudly and boisterously about the song and everyone in the store was able to overhear the conversation without much effort.
As readers of my blog know, Lewis underwent a thymectomy at the Hospital for Sick Children on June 9, 2009. If ever there was a time when he needed to have his spirits raised, it was in the weeks immediately following his surgery when he was in so much pain from the surgery.
And so on June 30, 2009 I messaged this musician who continued to get mileage from his comments about writing a song for Lewis via Facebook. I updated him on Lewis’ surgery and ended the message with, “I know you’ve been working on a song for Lewis. Any idea when he might be able to hear it?”
The next day, he wrote back with: “I’m sorry to hear about his flu. I’ve been working on a song for Lewis, but I’ve hit a road block. Could you give me a bit more insight into Lewis’s illness along with things that make him happy … Favourite colour ….. Activities …. Nothing major. Just a few ideas to help me out. Thanks. BD”
To help him out, since he obviously hadn’t been able to start Lewis’ song or email me for additional information about Lewis in the 9 months that passed between his promise and the Facebook message, I sent back a detailed message and ended it with, “Thanks for writing a song for Lewis. I know you’re a busy guy and it touched my heart (and Lewis’) when you said you were writing a song for him. I have no doubt it’s going to be a very moving and heartfelt piece.”
A few months after that, he messaged me saying that he had received an email from one of my friends that “deeply saddened” him. He claimed he didn’t know this friend even though he had met him on a number of occasions when this friend and I were together. He knew this friend he now denied knowing. And indeed, he was upset by what my friend had written.
He was so upset, he spent an hour allegedly crying his eyes out — allegedly for real, not just as a figure of speech — at the local music store about how some stranger had taken him to task on two specific promises he had made to Lewis, one of those promises being the song he had announced — on more than one occasion at this local music store — that he was writing to raise Lewis’ spirits.
Months later, I wound up shutting the book on Beau Dixon. He never wrote that song for Lewis. If he did, he certainly never played it for Lewis or recorded a piano and vocal demo of the song and sent it to Lewis. The promise was tossed aside but not before squeezing some personal gain for himself. It would seem that this is how Beau Dixon rolls.
Another local musician and I met on Facebook sometime in late spring 2010. The discussions on our respective Walls on hot button subjects such as politics and religion and lesser hot button subject such as music and disabilities were interesting, with many people joining in with their comments and points of view. He also got to know Lewis via my blog articles on this blog site, my comments on Facebook and via Lewis’ own website.
He had heard Story #1 and was saddened to see that a promise made by a well-known local musician to a young teen fighting so many health issues had been tossed off. In August 2010, he messaged me via Facebook and told me that Lewis inspired him to write “You Can’t Stand In The Middle” … a song he wrote especially for Lewis. He didn’t announce to the world that he had written this song. He wasn’t planning to profit from it by adding it to his upcoming CD. In other words, this wasn’t about getting mileage for himself from having written a song to raise Lewis’ spirits. This was about writing a song to raise Lewis’ spirits. Lewis received a copy of the song in September 2010 just a few weeks before he was scheduled for kidney surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children. That’s how Gary David Currie aka the Freeman rolls.
An online music colleague I met when the mi7.com music forums were still online lives in Japan. He is also on Facebook and despite living with the challenges and obstacles of having serious health issues himself, he faces each day with a positive outlook on life and a zest for living.
He needs a wheelchair to get around due to his disabilities and lives in the Fukushima prefecture where 22 out of the 23 monitors around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant stopped sending data 3 hours after the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Nuclear fuel rods were exposed and there was overheating in at least 3 of the nuclear reactors. He was to have hip surgery just before the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and, understandably, his surgery was put off after the earthquake and tsunami.
When asked how people could help him after the disaster hit Japan, his only request was for people to donate to the Red Cross Japan Fund. He asked nothing for himself. I let my online and real life friends know that this was the best way to help the people of Japan and many of us donated to the Red Cross to help Japan.
In June, Lewis let people know that he was turning 16 in July. When asked what he would like for a present, he answered that he would be happy if people donated to charities of their choosing but if they couldn’t choose, he would like donations to be made to the Red Cross Japan Fund. Again, friends donated to the Red Cross to help Japan and Lewis was very happy to see this happen.
Now my online music colleague has never heard STORY #1 or STORY #2. He doesn’t know about the well-known local musician who broke his promise to write a song for Lewis to raise his spirits; he doesn’t know about the local musician who wrote a song for Lewis to raise his spirits.
Last week was Lewis’ 16th birthday, as most of the blog readers know. Hiroto shared 3 original piano compositions with Lewis in honour of reaching this milestone birthday. They are, in a word, beautiful. As with Gary, Hiroto thought of Lewis and shared unconditionally with him. And that’s how Hiroto rolls.
Hiroto is known as the artist Hirotonix and released an instrumental CD, “Galactic Water” in February 2011. While he benefits from the work the Red Cross is doing in Japan, it would help him even more if music lovers purchased his CD. For those wondering how much £5.99 is in dollars, that’s $9.75 USD.
So there you have it, dear readers … three different stories about promises: One about a broken promise, one about an inspired promise, and one about a heartfelt and sincere promise.
The next time you are about to make a promise to someone, ask yourself if you can keep that promise. If you can’t, there’s no shame in not making the promise. The only shame is making a promise you don’t keep.
So now ask yourself this: When you make a promise, are you Story #2 or Story #3 …. or are you Story #1 and ok with that?