How exciting it is to receive a formal invitation to a special occasion! These are communications of great personal value, where someone has honoured us by having included us within his or her chosen relationships.

In the days before the convenience of the phone or the speed of email, invitations of this kind generally arrived in the post and were easily distinguishable from the usual flurry of accounts payable.

On discovering this moment of excitement, such a letter would immediately be separated from the rest as the color and texture of the envelope, perhaps the weight of the envelope and certainly the handwriting identified it as something distinctive. And then the moment of opening the envelope, not in haste but in happy curiosity, noting the sender, the event, the date and the request for response. A ritual procedure is taking place.

As for the sender, he or she has made decisions to celebrate, to set the time and place, to plan the occasion, consider the guest list, create the invitation – and then mail it to the chosen guests. This is another kind of excitement, perhaps in nervous anticipation of how things will eventuate. Soon those invited will begin to respond and soon a celebration will be under way to fulfill a joyful and unique experience. Celebrations like this should be treasured by all involved because really special occasions don’t happen that often.

But invitations surround us all the time – and yet how often do we value these for what they truly are?

Just think of it: each morning we are invited to exist within this day. We are invited to participate in life with those we love – or those we relate to differently. We are invited to use our knowledge and skills to contribute to our work or leisure. We are invited to care for ourself and for our partner, our children, their children, our neighbours and our friends. We are invited to choose.

The wardrobe (and the weather) beckons a choice of clothes for the day. The pantry or fridge offers breakfast and usually we are free to choose our morning tasks and our plan for the rest of the day.

But there are other choices, too. We can choose happiness or misery. We can choose kindness or arrogance. We can choose to linger within our mind in the fields of regret or we can choose to forgive, forget and live peacefully in this day. These choices equate with the relief and joy of personal contentment – a sort of freedom of spirit that generates a sense of kindness to oneself and flows on to generate kindness to others.
The possibility of making personal choices in everyday life is an ongoing invitation. These don’t come in prettily textured envelopes or offer the energy and happiness of an occasional social event. They do, however, provide another kind of fabric, the fabric that creates the tapestry of a life. Stitch by stitch, color by color, we each create the picture of our existence made up of every action, every decision, every thought and every observation.

Let’s look around at all the invitations we have accepted or rejected. Yes, there will be some we wish we had accepted; and some we wish we had rejected.

How have these each coloured our life? How have these directed us to become the person we are today? And can we pause right now and be grateful for the opportunity to accept the invitation of this very moment … we are alive … we are reading … we have boundless opportunity to explore further. In short, we exist! Let’s accept every invitation within each day with gratitude. And let’s be happy indeed, that we are free and able to do so.