Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Circle of Giving

"As the bearer of the empty place, the religious mendicant has an active duty beyond his supplication. He is the vehicle of that fluidity which is abundance. The wealth of the group touches his bowl at all sides, as if it were the center of a wheel where the spokes meet. The gift gathers there, and the mendicant gives it away again when he meets someone who is empty. In European folk tales, the beggar often turns out to be Wotan, the true 'owner' of the land, who asks for charity though it is his own wealth he moves within, and who then responds to neediness by filling it with gifts. He is godfather to the poor. . . 

"[Footnote: ...In the spiritual world, new life comes to those who give up.]

"Such stories declare that the gift does move from plenty to emptiness. It seeks the barren, the arid, the stuck, and the poor. The Lord says, 'All that opens the womb is mine,' for it is He who filled the empty womb, having earlier stood as a beggar by the sacrificial fire or the gates of the palace."

                                      — Lewis Hyde, The Gift, 24-25.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post spoke to me quite literally as my vows have led me down a road of extreme poverty.

I wonder, is Tessa out there? Tessa - are you still with us?

Is this poverty something to endure or to cherish? As MS alluded to, is it OK to feel uncomfortable in some of the places God leads us?

And yet each day that I've lived in this level of poverty I've witnessed so many miracles. I've met so many people, classy, precious people, who I would have otherwise walked by without a second thought.

Part of me says I need to endure this poverty for others who are not strong enough to. But I'm healthier and happier than I was when I had a nice home with plenty to eat.

I have been trying to let God touch me, to change me. But in my heart of hearts I long to emerge. But I no longer have any sense of what it is to lead a 'normal life'. Am I scared I'll revert to someone who walks by, shaking their heads? It doesn't seem possible. And I struggle as MS does - why does everything have to be about me?

I will cling to my vows and my vows will keep me safe. I pray that God shows me the light.


9:24 pm, September 28, 2013  
Blogger Wild Fortune said...

Maggie - thankyou for this - I am deeply grateful for these words which are so affirming of this journey. This morning was a time of gathering with others for silence and beholding - a time & place in which self-emptying was at the same time also over-flowing gift & grace ...

And Clara, yes I am here, discovering each day that the poverty of emptiness is the place of gift ...

peace be with you

10:48 am, September 29, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for your note. I've had some time to reflect - sometimes we mistake peace of mind for boredom/stagnation.

Many things go back to what Maggie has said that if you're doing anything special, it's not God.

Another thing I've learned is how important it is to rest. Jesus rested by the well and his 'work' came to him.

Last night I heard a sermon about Jeremiah - how his faith in the future dictated his actions in the present. He trusted God's promises.

And yesterday morning I heard a sermon about Jacob's dream - how he'd been exiled and he'd seen how Heaven and Earth aren't as separated as we might think. He chose to believe his dream was real, to believe that God would protect him and guide him always.

Sometimes I forget how close God is to me. But today I am filled with hope - the hope of Jacob and Jeremiah.



8:01 pm, September 30, 2013  

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