Sometimes like manna from heaven undeserved gifts come our way. For me Skip and Debbi are such a gift.
Skip Conover and I were fraternity brothers at Hamilton College long ago, but we never were close. His remarkable career has taken him around the world many times over, and he has become a prolific author and blogger. He discovered my book and felt that he wanted to promote it on his website which focuses on the ideas of the world renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung.
Wait, there’s more!
But that’s just the beginning! He invited me to his home in Annapolis to make an audio edition of What’s in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives.” “But Skip,” I warned him, “I am about as computer ignorant as they come.”
“Don’t worry” he answered.” I’ll walk you through in a day the process it took me three months to learn.”
He was better than his word. Not only did he walk me through the (for me) complex process of laying down the tracks, he vowed to get the time consuming sound-editing process finished before he leaves for his daughter’s wedding in Ireland next week.
“I am doing this,” he explained, “because I believe your book can be an important influence for good. It stems from Jung’s idea of the “collective unconscious.” Somebody might read it on the other side of the world—maybe an Islamic fundamentalist or an atheist—thinking he/she disagrees completely. But one of the things Jung taught is that when we read something, we subconsciously begin to think about it. Slowly, imperceptibly our thoughts begin to change.”
For me it happened quickly
I had to think about that one until his wife Debbi McGlauflin proved his words true. Only the process was not “Slowly imperceptibly” but rapid indeed. Debbi is an avid Buddhist who thinks deeply and writes beautifully. She gifted me with two of her poetry collections which I read on the plane home. One of the main ideas is that we take a huge step toward enlightenment by valuing others above ourselves and truly suppressing our ego.
“Are you kidding me,” I said to myself. A healthy ego is a vital component of a healthy person. We don’t need ego suppression, we need good balance. I try to value people as myself but above myself? I don’t think so. “As Hillel famously said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me, but if I am for myself alone, what am I … ?”
But by the time I reached home that evening, Debbi’s gift had taken on real value. Yes, I still believe in Hillel’s balance, but I had to acknowledge how frequently the “If I am not for myself, who will be for me” part of the formula weighed down my teeter totter. I began to see how a dash of Buddhist wisdom could be a very good thing indeed.
A week ago, I hardly knew Skip and had never heard of Debbi. Now like a gift from heaven their generosity and wisdom are making difference in the quality of my life.