Best Intentions

Early to bed, early to rise…

…Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Or so goes the old saying. Reality often paints the picture of2014-07-23 06.27.54 one who stays up late, wakes up late, and is constantly rushing about the day to accomplish tasks better suited for another time.

It’s like the other quote, “Never put off for tomorrow that which can be done today.” Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and even Thomas Jefferson. Truth be known it is a statement probably as “old as the hills” and no one knows the original attribution.

How about one more saying, “The best laid plans of mouse and men, often go awry.” Make your plans of intentional action even when history tells us that the uncertainty of tomorrow will wreck your best laid out plans.

All of this to consider our best intentions for the day and tasks that lay like litter on the cutting floor of life. “Well! I meant to (you fill in the blank).” Pay the bills, make the phone call, mow the yard. Blah blah blah blah blah blah….

Life is replete with good intentions. Some are better than others! But if you publish what you plan on doing, then everyone will judge you by what you’ve accomplished.

One of my favored series of books has been the several compiled by William J Bennett. In this one, the title says a lot, “The Book of Virtues.” The subtitle: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories. Chapters include  words like Self-Discipline, Compassion, Friendship, Courage and Perseverance. Words that have deep meaning, especially when read in light of a story that emphasizes the point. Without moral principles in our life to guide our next step we are drifting in oceans of peril.

Older than this book are the story lines that come out of the Holy Bible. Scripture has given us examples of virtue for a few millennium.  Virtues are often things defined that show moral choices from high moral standards. And morals are simply those benchmarks used to show principles of right or wrong thinking and action.

Making a promise in older vernaculars was making a “vow”. This is a promise you make and intend on keeping. Generally there are consequences to not keeping the promise.

One of the most solemn of vows is the one we know from wedding ceremonies. We actually call them “Wedding Vows.” A promise made to each other, probably along the lines “…to love, honor, cherish and obey, in sickness and in health…till death…” Promises so easily broken in the present world. Instead of the traditional vows some even write their own. Promises broken often require legal extrication from promises made and sharing of assets and debt.

Regardless of the words of the vow made, they are often promises done in the sight of God and witnesses.

Jesus speaks of it like this:

Matthew 19:4-6 KJV And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, (5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

God made them two, and they become one, and they are joined by God. Man should not have the power to break apart.

Samson was born with a Nazarite vow upon him. Moses established these vows in Numbers 6. Nothing to do with the vine, either from seed or fruit, or the drink that comes from it. No razor to touch the head and the locks are allowed to grow to their full length. These are the two we mostly remember. There are others. Regardless, the consequences of his broken vow was “binding, blinding, and grinding.”

Losing ones’s vows before the enemy must be pretty demoralizing.

I sit back today and look at the long lists of tasks and promises staring me in the face. I can turn the list over. I can take a boondoggle (some free time to spend how I choose). Or, here’s something novel, I can simply buckle down and get to work.

There are miles to go before I sleep… 

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