The thing about invitations is that they always give you a choice.
To attend or stay home? To accept or decline?
And usually, they are easy choices to make. Because, yes - I do want to go to that birthday party. Or yes - I will be your 'friend' on Facebook. Or yes - I accept that job offer.
But there are the more complex invitations too. Sometimes we get invited to engage in an argument that will have no positive resolution. Or we get invited to join someone in gossip or slander and a slew of other-centered contempt. We can be invited to join family members in their familiar ways of relating which can feel like abuse or wounding all over again. And often times, life can present us with difficult circumstances and disappointments and we can be invited to either wallow in it and let it take us down or struggle through it all well.
And again, our response is always up to us. Our choice. We get to decide how to act, what to say, and how we will respond when these invitations present themselves.
Recently, I received an actual for-real invitation. It came with a fancy envelope and beautiful script writing on gold foil paper. Just the sight of it promises to be a grand celebration. I was immediately flooded with emotion and conflict and curiosity. As I sit here and type this, it's staring at me begging me to RSVP as the event is only a month away. And I wish it felt easy to accept, but it doesn't.
It reminds me of hurts and pain from the past. Places I felt betrayed, abandoned and forgotten by others I had given my heart to. And for a long time now, I have let myself feel justified in my hurt and anger. I've pouted and ignored several other invitations or opportunities as if I was trying to prove something or get back at them for how I felt. I was hoping my absence and silence would make an impact. And the last few years I've really only discovered that I've only felt more of the same feelings. The not showing up and the staying quiet and being absent hasn't brought healing. It has never made me feel better and I can't shake the memories of my hurts either. I'm in the very same place with all of it, and I don't like how true that feels.
And all of this from a piece of fancy paper.
Tonight, I am trying to be curious about what reconciliation might look like. About what showing up to the celebration might be like. If I'm ready or if it would only invite more feelings of hurt.
Either way, it's up to me. Because the thing about invitations is that they always, always give you a choice.