Much of the time I’ve been travelling, doing what I do now – way more than 30 years – it’s been to countries at the poorer end of the spectrum, a lot third world, some creeping into the ‘developing world’ category. I couldn’t even begin to quantify how many people I’ve met, been infinitely more blessed by than they have by me, the vast majority of them so poor that the blessing they’ve been to me is exponentially multiplied.
I learned something vital early on in this journey I’m on. Don’t make promises you can’t – won’t – don’t actually have any intention – of keeping. I’ve met countless people in Africa, India, South America, China, Eastern Europe (I could go on with the geography lesson!!) who themselves met people from western world nations, who made promises to help them – and never did. It’s devastating to them. As someone who (and those who know me know I hate this expression, but it’s the only one available) ‘lives by faith’, I know what it’s like to have promises made, and then have them never materialise. I made a decision back in 1987 that I would never promise what I wasn’t sure that I could come up with. Over the years, I’ve had people with me who have done it: and they’ve never been with me again (my choice), because it is so painful to be promised, to hope – and then have that hope deferred, which makes the heart sick….
This trip, we’re a bit short of our vital budget for the construction of the refuge house for street kids. Thanney and I have had some promises – maybe some are more ‘hints’ than promises of money to come towards the project, and then it never happened. We’re not talking ‘poor’ people here: not people whose circumstances would change so radically that they can’t do what they promise. In fact, those folk are the ones who TELL you that they’re so sorry, but things have changed, and they can’t do it….
I’ve got a question I don’t really know the answer to: perhaps you can help me with an answer? WHY? Why do people do that? Is it to ‘look/sound good’ at the time? Truth is, they look infinitely worse after the event….
I’m so grateful for the wonderful people who support me, regularly or one-off. But I’ve had a few of the others over the years…. What do you think? Am I being unreasonable, when promises come, and they’re not kept?