Life's Doorway


Pause. I just had to stop this article to say, “Can I have a time out?”

I know kids don’t enjoy them too much, but man, I tell ya, I could really use one right about now. (If there are any kids out there that would like to donate theirs, I am happy to exchange lives and come and sit peacefully in a corner for five minutes. You just let me know!)

I know life can get busy, but what I’ve stuffed into mine seems a little ridiculous at times. Why do I keep doing this to myself?

It reminds me of this book I’ve been reading lately, ‘Invitations from God’ by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. The introduction tells of associations we make between invitations and what those invitations mean. For instance, have you ever felt loved when someone invited you to something? Maybe it was an invite to coffee, to hang out together at lunch, or even an invite for a date. We tend to love feeling included and being invited!

But we can also have negative associations. We’re not invited to the work poker party, or the friend’s baby shower, or our cousin’s wedding. These overlooked invitations may mean we feel slighted, forgotten and even unloved.

But why? There are really only two answers: either it’s something about me, or it’s something about the inviter.

Let’s start with them. A missed invitation could mean they forgot. It could mean the Facebook invite or email failed; technology does that sometimes. It could mean they are a small, mean-spirited person who wants to make me feel insignificant. And sure, it could just mean they didn’t want me in attendance. But that’s their right.

Just like you have the right to find better people to hang out with. Life is too short to waste on those who don’t want you around. If you’re a good person, you’ll have no trouble finding great folks who will cherish your company.

But this leads into our other reason; maybe there is something about me, something that makes people not want to invite me.

Maybe this is hurtful, but it’s also really valuable info. If I am constantly being left out, there could be a good reason. Maybe I’m negative, judgmental, or fearful. Maybe I’m bossy, prideful, insecure, controlling, or any other number of traits that make us not all that much fun to be around.

For me, it was being a know-it-all. I still struggle today, trying to find ways to share my thoughts without sounding like I must ‘impart my vast wisdom on the plebeians’, like when I use big words like ‘plebeians’ when I could just as easily say ‘common folk’. I know, who wants to hang around with someone like that?

Well, not a lot of people, judging by how popular I was back in that day. Fortunately for me, I started looking at my lack of invitations and started to realize there was probably something I was doing that led to them. And that was a really, really great thing!

It may sound strange, but not having any friends was just what I needed to learn that people don’t like being made to feel small and stupid. Sometimes, though, we just don’t bother to pause for a moment to make that connection, or to even think we could act any differently than how we presently do.

Well of course we can! We chose how to act in the first place! Why couldn’t we choose another way?

The trick is to see if the way you are now is working for you or not. Is it getting you what you want in life? Do you have close relationships that you cherish? Do people like being in your presence? If not, it may just be time to ask yourself why and to know that you can do something about it.

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