Feather by Feather: Leaning into Abundance
February 22, 2019
One spring day in 2018, I was hosting a retreat on a farm. Between sessions, I had decided to gather feathers in the yard where many birds frequented the feeders. As I scoured the yard for feathers, finding one every so often, I settled into a deep contemplative space. In my own journey, I had been feeling both an invitation and a resistance to abundance. The invitation came from a deep place centered in love. But the resistance came from my fear of the concept. I realized I didn’t know what to do with abundance. What was it? How should I receive it? Could I mess it up?
As I continued to walk the yard I prayed, “How do I live in abundance?” At that same moment, I was reaching down for a feather, and when I looked up, I spotted the next one, and from there each time I was picking up one feather, I laid my eyes on the next. “Feather by feather” was the powerful answer to my prayer.
This resonates with a saying we use in spiritual direction – We move from clarity to clarity. This doesn’t mean we don’t have a sense of direction, but that we move with discernment step by step, open to receiving what Spirit offers each step of the way. This way of being recognizes that process is just as important- if not more than progress. Kairos time is God’s time for things to emerge.
When I came on staff as director, I was asked to name a spiritual goal. It’s simply this – To lean into abundance and not scarcity. This requires me to be grounded and discerning, vulnerable and open. This can be a challenging place to stand when wanting to do the most good while fostering a healthy organization, moving toward growth with care for both quality and quantity.
I’ve experienced abundance in so many ways in my role at Bridge of Hope. Whether I’ve been wondering who will help serve the meal two weeks before a fundraiser and more than enough people show up to offer help, or when the budget gets tight and a major donation comes unexpectedly in the mail, or when a Bridge of Hope mom has had a long, busy week and a neighbor shows up with a feast that will last for days.
Working with the realities of homelessness, we have to acknowledge the lack-of’s. Lack of a living wage, lack of affordable housing, lack of support, lack of connection… But there’s this sacred ground we are invited to stand on next to Jesus blessing the loaves and fish, the space where the need is great, but so is God’s love for the people. So, we lean into abundance trusting the process, basket by basket, step by step, family by family, month by month, feather by feather.