Thursday, November 22, 2007

Do you know who I am?

I can actually remember an Anglican bishop who was known for thus addressing an obviously unimpressed young antagonist.

You may have heard of the grey haired lady who climbed three flights of stairs, opened a carved mahogany door and walked into an exotically furnished reception room. A gong sounded and out of a cloud of incense appeared a brunette eastern beauty: 'Do you wish to meet with His Omnipotence, the wise, all-knowing, all-seeing guru, Maharishi Naru?' 'Yeah', said the old woman, 'Tell Irving his mama is here from the Bronx.'

It's the easiest thing in the world to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Spouses and mothers can help prevent it. Unselfconscious humility is rare. It can't be an achievement, because to try for it is to miss it altogether. It's a grace. It's free, but by no means cheap. It goes with a certain honesty and transparency. I have also found that it's usually accompanied by a deal of courage.

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