Today’s Daily Prompt asks what kind of legacy we wish to leave on the world. In short, I hope to have accepted “The Invitation” by Oriah. My responses to each stanza of the poem are indented and bold, just like me.
The Invitation by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
I ache to raise my children to be whoever they wish to be, to share kindness and gratitude with the world, and to write. Truth and dare accepted.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
I have been and will be the fool for all, to all.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I have been at the naval of my own grief and unlocked truth through treason’s seduction. When fear withers me, I use faith and others to cultivate me back to strength and courage.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I can meditate with anguish, alone or in your company, in stillness, silence, and surrender.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
I can share happiness with my soul and yours; I can tango in spontaneity from my head to my toes while singing a proposition to join me and “shut up and dance”.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I can pay the price of falling short of others’ expectations of me in barter for the gift of authenticity and self-knowledge. I can be a ‘Judas’ in the dissertations of family, friends, and foes in loyalty to my greatest ally, myself. I pledge allegiance to my faith, my integrity, and my values giving credence to those who may need to rely upon my convictions.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I try to behold Grace in my eyes even when it appears disfigured through the near-sightedness of my own vision and perspective. I can welcome it to take up residence in the palace of my existence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes’.
I try to not look at the reflections of my and your fears and shortcomings but rather find bravery in standing with you side by side at the ‘jumping off point’, howling in affirmation to exclaim the prosperity of our trials and tribulations. I try to remember that success is first found in the pursuit, not only in its culmination.
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
I try to awaken from slumbers of sorrow and injury in a state of gratitude for my life and those of my loved ones and express the appreciation of my blessings in nourishing the souls of my children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
I can take an erect stance with you at the bedrock, the apex, and all places along the firing line and not let its fever burn or dwindle us.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I try to feed from the table of my faith daily so that even when I believe my pantry has run dry, I have enough sustenance in me to seek nourishment and nutrition from the soul food bank of family and friends.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
I can find solace in solitude and when I do, I try to not be imprisoned by my bars of solitary confinement structured in doubt, persecution, and ridicule of self.
“The Invitation” and other writings by Oriah on cultivating inner lives and co-creating meaning in the world can be found here:
Photo source: Zakwitnij!pl Ejdzej &Iric user on flickr.com