A friend received her PhD several years ago. During the subsequent search committee interviews for academic teaching and lay ministry, committee members queried her accomplishments. Without hesitation, she provided an exhaustive doctoral background:
“I came from another country and English is my third language. I have a near ‘genius’ IQ; went to the number one college in my own country; received a Masters from the top sixth academic university in the United States’ and received my PhD, summa cum laude while simultaneously receiving a ‘Fulbright Scholar.’ I have fourteen years of counseling experience; read over a thousand books in the last three years; wrote for leading academic journals; performed research and am a world-wide acclaimed speaker.”
Needless to say, she received a tenured academic position.
Upon meeting someone new, she reiterated parts of or all of the above. When feeling neglected or looking for affirmation, friends and family were reminded of her accomplishments.
Two weeks ago a local hospital required an interim Chaplin. After contacting the hospital CEO, the interim position was awarded to her care.
Coincidentally, an academic search committee member from several years prior required surgery. Glancing through the hospital admission log two days ago, she found a record indicating both his faith and room assignment, room 304. Upon visiting the third floor, the nurses barred entry to the patient’s room. The note stapled to the outside medical record jacket was informative:
“Patient does not want to see current hospital Chaplin unless he’s in a coma.”
We are so enamored of our own ideas and opinions that our conditioning traps us. If we empty ourselves out, let go, and cease to hold on to our views, a more pure truth will come. Many of us cherish our opinions, for we’ve been taught such value by our elders. All of us need a way of approaching each encounter freshly. Be open to the moment, toss aside the past. Cultivate an inclusive mind of love, one that is able to meet every moment and be filled by the moment versus filling the moment with our own home movie … to which so few wish to see.
Experiencing the peacefulness of true love requires an empty cup.