Promises to Tomorrow #17 Invitations

Invitations take many forms – a summons, a gentle prod, a formal request, a temptation, a provocation. I take invitations seriously and try to notice when they arrive subtly in the shape of clouds in the sky and not so subtly with the loud voice akin to a cease and desist legal letter. Each one has it’s own flavour and is coloured by the person extending the invite, they don’t arrive without a bearer, endowing them with power, position or pride. Each day invitations arrive that invite us to our own versions of making bread out of stones, jumping from a pinnacle or relying on angels to break our fall. Who is doing the inviting seems to be fully embedded into whether the invitation can be accepted or not – the more pure the person doing the inviting, the more pure the invitation … but maybe the more clever the ego at tricking us into believing that … the old wolf in sheep’s clothing trick!

Several invitations have come my way this week and are now being accompanied on their journey to being accepted or rejected by a discernment process that doesn’t want to be pinned down just yet. The wash behind the invites is everyday life, rich in its complexity, ambiguity and volatility. Unpredictable and yet certain – elements as familiar as thunderstorms that will pass and bring new life and sunshine.

Being open to invitations during thunder and lightning, doesn’t diminish the invitation as the invitee doesn’t always know what is happening in the invited’s life – that is part of the purity of the invitation. Like the best of the old gospel songs and the foundations of all rock and roll – it is call and response all the time. Hearing the call, knowing when to respond and how to respond are all separate acts and honouring the invitation in its own right and for its very self is part of the pleasure and part of the pain.

In making a promise to tomorrow, hearing the invitation for itself and not connected to the discernment or the answer brings gratitude for being worthy of being invited, and if it is the ego at play, then respect for being worthy of the challenge to grapple and discern the purpose of the invitation in my life at the junction it causes by its arrival.

…. then there are the times of ache when you aren’t invited to the party and the ego takes its own course into unrequited love and humility makes a home in your heart. Thinking of how this lesson has best been taught by the Essex troubadour Billy Bragg who I got to hear again this week and on a rainy Monday night, with the faintest sound of rumbling thunder in the distance, the crowd in the pub roared as we accepted every invitation to respond to the call to arms against fascism. An invitation to inoculation warmly and rowdily accepted with no discernment necessary. Invitations to more music will rarely get turned down!

The Saturday Boy

I’ll never forget the first day I met her
That September morning was clear and fresh
The way she spoke and laughed at my jokes
And the way she rubbed herself
Against the edge of my desk
She became a magic mystery to me
And we’d sit together in double
History twice a week

And some days we’d walk the same way home
And it’s surprising how quick
A little rain can clear the streets
We dreamed of her and compared our dreams
But that was all that I ever tasted
She lied to me with her body you see
I lied to myself ’bout the chances I’d wasted

The times we were close
Were far and few between
In the darkness at the dances in the school canteen
Did she close her eyes like I did
As we held each other tight
And la la la la la la la la means I love you

She danced with me and I still hold that memory
Soft and sweet
And I stare up at her window
As I walk down her street
But I never made the first team,
I just made the first team laugh
And she never came to the phone
She was always in the bath
I had to look in the dictionary
To find out the meaning of unrequited
While she was giving herself for free
At a party to which I was never invited

I never understood my failings then
And I hide my humble hopes now
Thinking back she made us want her
A girl not old enough to shave her legs

Billy Bragg: The Saturday Boy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

billy

Billy Bragg, Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, 24 April 2017

 

2 thoughts on “Promises to Tomorrow #17 Invitations

  1. Pauline Small

    Thanks Moira. We invited someone to eat with us tonight and had a beautiful evening of shared conversation. This reminds me that I can both extend an invitation and also respond to ones that are unexpected or even unrecognised.

    Reply

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