I know it’s been a while since I last posted a blog. It’s not because I haven’t been thinking of you; I think of you every day, but I haven’t been sure what to say. Last month, I had some huge things to get off my chest about being honest and my fear of growing old. And this month, I had some huge things to do, like getting back into a classroom after a 10-year hiatus. I had to remember how to stand up in front of an audience for 3 hours, 2x a week and convince them that something they hate is something worth loving. I have to show them that something that is really hard to do can actually get easier if you work really hard at it. Sounds like an oxymoron and that’s what I feel like up there sometimes – a moron.
As you can imagine, I’m not a typical college professor, who takes herself too seriously. I’m just me, which means I’m silly and irreverent, but somehow underneath it all, educated, informed, intelligent and very good at what I do. While I might not take myself too seriously, I take my job seriously. I want to help young women and men become more proficient writers and better communicators. I want to help them breathe a little easier when they get handed an assignment, no matter what class, or job they’re in.
But transitioning from working at home to working at night has been a little shaky at times. The prep time, the paper grading, the rush hour traffic has put a serious crunch on my time.
It isn’t that I don’t have time to write; it’s that I don’t have the time to think about what to say. For me, this blog is a natural extension of my “thinking” time, my “praying” time, and my “being” time and there is a lot less time for those things. I am still getting up early; I am still spending some quiet moments with G each morning, but the thoughts that usually come from that time are fewer and farther between. My mind is on a writer’s strike. It wants more vacation days.
I was talking to my friend J the other day about not knowing where my life was going. There is a lot going on, but not in any one direction and she said a funny thing to me.
“If you don’t know where to go, pay attention to where you’re invited.”
I’d never thought of that before. Where am I being invited? Not parties, of course, but in life. What opportunities are being extended? What is being asked of me? What is being offered?
She suggested I look for patterns, to see where one invitation led to another and another and another. The universe is always evolving, always moving towards something good. We are a part of that evolution somehow. The more we say, “Yes” to invitations, the more we are co-creating.
The tricky part is discerning which invitations are the right ones – the life events we are actually supposed to show up for. Too often, I think we end up crashing someone else’s party.
Deep in our hearts, we know which invitations are the right ones, the ones we truly want to accept, but most us stick with our gut response, trusting the guilt that makes us say, “Yes!” to everyone and everything, or the fear that makes us say, “No!” to even the most beautiful, and transformative opportunities. (For the record, I’m a yes man, while Tim’s a solid no.)
It was with this idea of invitation in mind that I said, “Yes” to teaching English 101 for Vincennes University at Balboa Naval Hospital. My heart wanted to meet and know the enlisted, the veterans and the wounded warriors who would be my students. Tim didn’t really understand it (a lot of work for a little money), but it wasn’t his invitation. It was mine. And though it meant saying no to several other things, it felt like an invitation I couldn’t refuse and didn’t really want to.
I’m looking and listening for invitations every day and when I opened up Facebook this morning, there one was, front and center from my “friend,” Glennon on Momastery. She sends out these amazing invitations, huge, fancy, hand-written ones, the kind that make you feel like if you don’t go, you might be missing the party of the year.
But I need to remember; it’s just an invitation, like any other. It might be right for me, or it might be just right for you, so I thought I’d pass it along, just in case you didn’t get one directly from her. Don’t RSVP yes or no based on guilt, or fear. Check out the link and listen to your heart.
Read Glennon’s fancy, photographic invitation here.
Did your heart start to beat faster when you heard the stories?
Did a face, a smile, a word connect with something deep inside you?
Did you just discover that this is something that really matters to you?
Because that’s what the right invitation does. It gives you an opportunity to participate, to co-create, to bring about something new and good in this world.
And when you do it, God looks around and smiles and says, “This is good.”
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This made me cry. I’m not sure why as I haven’t read the book yet. I think it triggered a few emotions – my best friend lost his cousin the same way; the reference to the flowers made me think of my poem, How Did You Do That (I’m not sure why)…and wanting to do something good with something that was very painful. I know I am going to enjoy reading this book.
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As always your timing is perfect…I used the phrase “If you don’t know where to go, pay attention to where you’re invited” during my witness today at Padre Bill’s church to invite others to join Just Faith…it was the perfect way to close…thanks!
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