It wasn’t all that many years ago there was a young boy who walked amongst those who had the gift. This young man who we’ll call Jimmy marveled at how the elders around him carried this gift that they had received and he too wanted this very same gift, but for some reason that he did not understand he couldn’t receive it this soon in life. Following the examples set by the Elders that surrounded him, Jimmy began to gain knowledge of this gift and how valuable it really was to have such a gift.
However, Jimmy knew of other Elders in his tribe who had not received this gift though not very well since he was forbidden to play games in the forest with those Elders’ sons. Once he was caught by his mother playing near the river with Tommy One-Shoe, and he was scolded severely and didn’t even know why. Still lacking full understanding, Jimmy Lone-Wolf spent many late afternoons of his childhood atop a mountain peak that overlooked the valley in which his people lived. It was here in the silence beneath the golden afternoon sky that he would search his heart and commit to following the lead of those who had the gift.
The years passed slowly and Jimmy grew, both in stature and maturity. One day the Chief of the Elders came up to Jimmy as he was gathering wood for his mother and invited him to come to the “Ceremony of the Gift” on the last cycle of the moon. Jimmy was excited and tried to hide his excitement from the Chief but could not contain himself and enthusiastically shouted yes. The old Chief walked away with a smile on his face as he too remembered his youth. Jimmy was now of the age of accountability, but he needed more.
With his arms full of wood, Jimmy ran home dropping pieces of wood along the way. He had to tell his mother of the news. He knew she would be so proud of him for he had studied the walk of the Elders with the gift and he now also knew why he was kept from playing with the children of those Elders who carried not the gift. Those that had the gift carried light in their heart and shared that light freely with those who would listen. The Elders that had not the gift, they sheltered darkness in their heart and chose things against nature. Jimmy wanted the gift, he wanted to bear the light and not the darkness.
Arriving home out of breath, carrying only a few sticks of wood now, Jimmy looked for his mother. Shouting at the top of his lungs “Mother-Mother,” I’ve been asked to attend the “Ceremony of the Gift”- Mother?
Stepping from one of the small rooms in the back Jimmy’s mother greeted him with a smile and tender embrace. Joy filled her heart and love for her son filled the room with light. “I’ve been waiting for this day many years now Jimmy, I’m so happy, you are a good son.”
With that said she stepped back into the small room from where she came and came back shortly carrying a ceremonial robe that she held up to Jimmy as to judge its fit. It was white from head to toe adorned with small stones from the river that had been polished to perfection. A small pocket was sewn just above the heart embroidered with gold thread. She folded it neatly and handed it to Jimmy and with unaccountable joy in her heart she smiled, gave him a kiss on the forehead and walked back into the small room from where she had came.
Jimmy held the robe in his arms relishing the moment. He could feel the softness of his mother’s love woven into the fabric and he marveled at the gold embroidery of the pocket on the left breast. Three days thought Jimmy, three days and he would at last get the chance to attend the “Ceremony of the Gift.”
The next morning Jimmy awoke with a new sense of purpose in life. He was now twelve and was going to sit with the elders of the tribe who had the gift. While walking through the woods down to the river to get water for his mother to cook the evening meal Jimmy heard the voice of the Father speak to his heart. Sudden warmth engulfed him bringing his quick stride to an abrupt halt. The skies darkened overhead and a cold sweat poured from his skin soaking his clothes. Shaking with fear Jimmy Lone-Wolf fell to his knees and accepted the gift of the Father. Jimmy’s face shone bright as he struggled to his feet trying to regain his balance. Slowly he made his way down to the river to retrieve the water he had set out for in the beginning. Amazement filled his mind as answers to the questions about the elders and the gift became clearer. He would soon receive his fulfillment in a few days when he attended the “Ceremony of the Gift”-a fulfillment that he had sought since he could remember.
The remaining days until the ceremony passed quickly for Jimmy as there was a quickening of his heart. Donning the robe that his mother had made for him, Jimmy walked out from his home in the direction of the House of Ceremony. His eyes glowed like the embers of coal. His heart was filled with joy unspeakable. Awe stood before him as he opened the doors to the chamber room. It was here he saw the elders of the gift kneeling before an alter chanting in an unknown tongue. Jimmy stood there as if frozen in time; he felt a hand touch his shoulder and the voice of the Chief Elder uttered words that moved Jimmy to the front near the alter. Jimmy fell to his knees as the chants continued until they reached a sharp crescendo. With his eyes closed and tears streaming down his face Jimmy was anointed with the gift of the Father.
As the tempo of the chamber fell to a soft hush the Chief Elder began to speak. He spoke of the days which are to come that would try the very spirits of those with the gift of the Father and how that many would fall away. He spoke of a deceiver that would visit the sons of men and how that even the very elect would fall away. Jimmy listened with both his ears and with his heart seeking to understand the mystery of this riddle. He vowed to the Father that he would never leave the giver of the gift. He was only twelve, but he knew this beyond all things. The Chief then asked Jimmy to stand to his feet. Jimmy did so with tears still streaming down his face.
The Chief Elder then walked over to him clutching something shiny and gold in his hand. Reaching down to Jimmy he gave him a hug and a kiss on each cheek and placed the gold object which Jimmy now knew to be a coin in the gold embroidered pocket on his robe just above his heart. The Chief then spoke to Jimmy telling him that this coin is symbolic of the gift of the Father and should always be kept near his heart and that he should surrender his life rather than the gift, for the gift of the Father is eternal life. Still weeping, Jimmy nodded in approval and collapsed to the floor.
Many years after that Day of Atonement had passed, Jimmy Lone-Wolf grew into a man of respect amongst his people for he had walked in the way of the Elders with the gift. His wisdom which he received from the Father astounded those around him. Many would come to him seeking advice on the mysteries of life and while clutching the gold coin in his breast pocket Jimmy would guide those who sought out the peace of the Father. One day as Jimmy was preparing for the evenings meditation there was a soft knock at his door. Arising he went to answer. Opening the door he saw a rough hewn and tattered man perhaps his age or more. “Greetings in the name of the Father’ extolled Jimmy. ‘Please come in.”
“You don’t know me, do you?” piped the stranger.
“No, I’m afraid not, am I supposed to?” Jimmy replied.
“No, I guess not said the stranger, I guess not, for we have walked different paths in life; we knew each other once long ago. My name is Tommy One-Shoe.”
“Tommy One-Shoe…One-Shoe, yes I remember you Tommy. My mother would not allow me to play with you, but she never said why.”
“I know why’, said Tommy…’I know why. It was because my father and even his father did not walk with the gift. Though you never knew your father, you sought the ways of the Elders that carried the gift. I seek that gift Jimmy Lone-Wolf; I seek the peace and the light that lives within you. I’ve done many dark things in this life, and I want what you have. Will you share with me the way of the Elders with the gift?”
“Of course my brother…of course I will,” replied Jimmy.
With that Jimmy, through the gift of the Father led Tommy One-Shoe out from the dark and into the light that only those with the gift of the Father carried. The years continued to pass and many who had once walked in darkness came to know the peace of the Father through the wisdom and blessings that Jimmy Lone-Wolf bestowed. In Jimmy’s fifty-second year the tribal council gathered and voted Jimmy to the Chief of the Elders for he had always walked upright in the eyes of the Father.
After many seasons as Chief, and many blessings from the Father, Jimmy entered the Seasons of Trials. His wife of many years had passed into the Land of Sleep. His health began to fail and one morning he arose and donned the robe that his mother had made and discovered that the pocket next to his heart had been worn with time and the storms of life and the gold coin he had held so close to his heart all these years was missing. His heart sank deeper into despair that day. Light soon began to seep away from Jimmy’s heart and darkness filled the void.
No longer did Jimmy feel the fulfillment of that day in his youth and the Father seemed further away than a thousand lifetimes of the Elders. Once his life held purpose, but…he had lost the coin and he fell into despair. The days passed into many nights and Jimmy soon lost favor in the eyes of his people. The wisdom he once espoused came no more and his words were those of tinkering brass. Time continued to march on and Jimmy Lone-Wolf felt his namesake had been personified, for he felt so alone. The gift that he had held so close to his heart was now gone. It was now the eve of the ceremonial rites of the third year and the darkness now engulfed him with terror. He walked now alone in the silence of the moonlit night towards the river where the Father had spoken to his heart so many years before. As he neared the river he could hear the voice of sweetness singing. He stopped and listened; his heart softly, yet briefly smiled. There on the rocks in the river stood a maiden dressed in white singing. Her skin was as soft as the moonlight and her voice as sweet as honey. She turned towards Jimmy and smiled and the darkness in his heart began to fade. As Jimmy approached her, she held out her hand and said “This is for you, for it was never lost, just misplaced by the spirit of despair.”
In her hand was a gold coin that burned hotter than the sun. The Father from within the trees then spoke saying “I will never leave you or forsake you, for all you have to do is touch your heart against mine and I will be there.” Jimmy Lone-Wolf smiled for he knew that when he thought the gift was lost…it was never, ever gone.
J. Allen Wilson © 5/30/2011