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Dear Biddy,

The fairies found a friend in you, faithful to receiving their gifts and a channel to pass on their wisdom to us through potions or foresight from the blue bottle. It has got me thinking about redemption this week. I am visiting Austin, Texas this week and there seems to be a lot of re-purposing going on amongst the wealthy and elites trying to redeem the rewards of their capital raising activities through philanthropy, impact investing … a kind of atonement … not quite a reckoning though. I wonder too about indulgences of the past, a theological paying forward to the next life.

There are so many types of capital and currency. Politicians trade in the currency of fear, I think you Biddy traded in the currency of charms and most days my currency is made of coins of creativity and bills of imagination.   Your pledge to take no money from your gifts is inspiration – no commodification to be seen at your place in the countryside of Ennis.

How I share my gifts freely and offer them at the service of those who seek them is a constant challenge in a market economy and so I am also reflecting on how I redeem those rewards too.

Rewards redeemed

Reckoning requests

Gifts bestowed

Steinbeck at the Longhorns Game

Steinbeck at the Longhorns Game

The Longhorns game echoed Steinbeck (he was one of the first American authors I read, and the novel was The Grapes of Wrath). Steinbeck said about writing that novel:

I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this [the Great Depression and its effects] … I’ve done my damndest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags.

I am tempted to put this book on the reading list of all the impact investors I heard about this weekend from the US, to help them connect back to the deepest roots of their gifts of time, talent and resources. My blessing is that deep in the heart of Texas a potion to forgive the debt of the rich will deliver a redemption deeper than indulgences.