see the promises of this world day after day in our lives,
in an almost never-ending stream of temptations and
exhortations to buy the "latest thing" or to
follow the latest diet which is sure to renew our
self-esteem and make us feel so much better about
ourselves on every level. But Michelangelo is right
to call them "phantoms," for the promises
themselves turn out to be little more than smokescreens.
of the promises follow the lines of "If you do this,
you'll. . . ." or "If you buy this, you'll. . .
." When we do what is asked, though, whether it
be refinance our homes or buy new furniture or invest our
money in a certain endeavor, we find that the promise
itself, the part that follows "you'll," usually
doesn't happen at all. New furniture is nice and it
often makes our homes more comfortable, but it doesn't do
anything for our sense of self-worth. That must come
on the new commitment of volunteering your time somewhere
may make you feel a strong sense of doing something
worthy, but when it starts to keep you away from your
family and friends, is the promise really being
fulfilled? And the new large-screen TV may make you
the envy of the neighbors and may make watching movies
enjoyable, but did you really need that extra debt in
order to escape from reality for a couple of hours a day?
world makes many promises--that's how things are sold, and
how people fulfill their own needs. If I buy
something I don't need, I'm simply following the
suggestion of someone who has developed an ad campaign to
try to get me to do just that: buy something I don't
necessarily need. And what kinds of promises did
that person make just to keep his or her job?
promises of this world truly are phantoms--they almost
never come through in the way they're presented. The
only way to true fulfillment is to value myself and to
treat myself with dignity and respect. Then my needs
will change, and I'll no longer try to fulfill those needs
with things that I get or do as a result of promises that
really do hold no weight at all.