the potential and the peril of good intentions

So often, I see an avenue for encouragement.  I see something I could do. It may not feel like much – a mere contact, a mere word.  A simple presence – a being there.  A card.  A flower.  Just a little silly nonsense to lighten the air, even – something funny, something affectionate.

I put it on my mental to-do list.

Otherwise known as my good intentions.

Oh, they are such beautiful things!  They really are.  They are so filled with potential and promise.  They carry droplets of hope into the barren ache of despair.  They could, possibly, make a difference I would never be aware of, never truly understand.

But then I forget them.

Not immediately.  They go on the to-do list, and then they go on the roll-over list.  You know, the things I meant to do yesterday and will now attend to tomorrow (today rarely gets a look in).  Once they’ve been rolled over a few times I examine them and wonder – is it too late?   Will it still be appreciated?  I hesitate, now, to do them.

I put them on my ‘uncertain’ list.

Which means I still do not do them, as I am working out if they are now feasible, valid, or wanted.  I start worrying about how I will appear, about how it will look.

So much time has now passed that even thinking about them plunges me into despair.

So, I take them off the list for a while.

Time passes – days, weeks, months.

And one day I catch a glimpse of someone or something and – I remember.  And, sometimes I see – it would have helped.  I could have made a difference.

But now – what?  Their number has changed and I don’t have their new one.  They’ve moved away.  The links are gone, broken or rotted.  The chance is lost.

It was such a good intention.  So full of promise.

And then I start compiling a list of regrets.  Things I should have done but didn’t.  I’m so busy looking at that list that I neglect the new things, the new opportunities that today brings.  The cycle continues of the almost-not now-not evers.

I have to teach myself a new mantra, especially for good intentions:

Forget yesterday’s failures.  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Do it today.

7 thoughts on “the potential and the peril of good intentions

  1. Sue says:

    Oh Lucy, more than a few 'true-words' written there. Today, you think, tomorrow you will do, but the day after you wonder where all the time went .. ..


  2. Cindy Pierce says:

    Lovely post. Thank you for sharing. Such true words. I lost a loved one recently and I will be forever grateful I made the point to attend his last birthday party and give him a hug, even though I thought he may have been embarassed. Some things we must just do because they are in the moment and they are right.


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