The turkeys are grazing on the lawn outside, having breakfast in silence. From time to time, one raises its head, mindful of my presence. They are circling the farmhouse, slowly.
I have been watching them all weekend. In Native American spirituality, turkeys are a sign of generosity — as in potlatch — as in the ancient spiritual practice of giving everything in service of the community. That is what the elders did and so the one who had nothing – the one who had given all – was the most revered. Watching the turkeys, I wonder, “What is the gift?”
This weekend, I have been in this silent beautiful corner of New Hampshire, celebrating one who gave everything – her possessions, her money, her life – as a gift, as an offering, as an opening to a deeper love and different flow of life. She gave it all in a glorious act of potlatch – or kenosis as we Christians call it. And all weekend we have been living in and celebrating the pulse of love that flows from that. It is here at Hallelujah Farm, holding us.
I am speaking of my friend Helen, who died six years ago. At the time of her passing she gave her money to The Narthex Fund, with the instruction that it be distributed to support the teaching of Christian Wisdom. Her money has now been fully given. But Helen’s spirit is still here – with the turkeys maybe – delighting in the way wisdom is moving in the world. But I could be speaking of any one of us. This is the mystery we are all invited to – the mystery of living in gift, which asks us to give everything we have as an offering and which offers so much more in return.
The turkeys are crossing the road now on their slow march up the sloping field of the upper farm. They have completed their circling of the lower farm chapel in which I stand.
This weekend, many Wisdom & Money friends came together to meet each other and share stories. Sitting in that circle, I marveled often. How did I find my way to this circle of people willing to walk through the doorway of money? How did I come to be among such inspiring and courageous spiritual friends? The love in this circle flows like a palpable energy. Like molasses, it is slow, thick, rich and dark. It draws us deeper into mystery.
Everyone is gone now – even the turkeys – except for me. I am still standing in the chapel where we prayed and chanted. In the silence, I hear echoes of Sunday morning’s chant, “Leave all things that you own. Come and follow me.”
The chapel is empty. The farm is quiet. Love is everywhere.
That is the gift.