No one denied these men the right to own land, or to keep what they owned, or to sell it and give away their money. Yet that right implied an obligation to satisfy the needs of others as well as their own, and brought with it the privilege of doing so in a manner that was beyond the strict letter of any law and which could go as far as a charity that was heroic. – Thomas Merton
I am blessed beyond measure beyond measure beyond measure. I live in a place that I treasure both for what it is now and for the hard history of enslavement that has happened here. I am married to a man who is a true partner, an unfailing supporter, and a passionate liver. I run a business that is successful and provides me more work than I can complete most days. I have the honor of researching the lives of enslaved people.
In every way I can imagine, I am “living the dream.” A dream I would not have imagined for myself even 15 years ago. A dream that came to me as gift one Sunday morning during an outdoor church service where Jesse Johnson talked about how the “still small voice that Elijah heard” was God’s Whisper.
Sometimes, though, I feel a little guilty, like I am not doing enough with the blessings I have been given. I know it is not for me and Philip alone that we have been given this farm and the gift of this space and the means to support it. (And oh boy, does it take everything we have to earn the means to support it.)
We open this space as we can to guests and friends. We sell our items in the farm stand for less than what anyone would pay in a store in the hopes of providing for people in need while also supporting the farm. We give as generously as we possibly can.
Sometimes, still, I think it not enough. I wonder how this blessing will reach other people. I wait to see how that will come.
We have big dreams of retreat space in the barn where folks can come find quiet and space and, above all, respite for hurts or busyness or just the weight of daily living. But right now, we are not ready to be that kind of space. We have to finish the interior of the barn. We have to set up systems of scheduling and figure out how we will cover our expenses in that space. We have to be responsible in our sharing in order to be able to share for a long time.
We are waiting to see how the good of all this space will reach other people more fully. I’m terrible at waiting?
At moments, I wonder if I am squandering a good thing, hoarding it just for myself. But then I remember that we are given gifts to treasure and that sometimes we don’t yet see the way they will serve. I also remember that sometimes we are given things just because we need them. That’s what love looks like.
So we wait, and we work, and we pray for wisdom and goodness to rain down on this place. And meanwhile, we pick a few strawberries and play with some goats . . . and we enjoy.
May your day be full of the gifts you need for yourself and the gifts you have to share. May your waiting be full of richness and the use of that waiting be clear in just the right time.
If you are interested in reading more about our dream for this farm, please check out my book God’s Whisper Manifesto. Thanks.