So wonderful to hear from you! I just now finished reading the updated version of your biography of Tony, The Happy Wanderer and found it to be marvellous. Each detail is cherished and, much like the collections of stories Tony put together, left me wanting just one more. Thank you for thinking of me and sending it along. I appreciate this very much.
Your email gives me a chance to clarify something I think was misunderstood by you in my first email. When I wrote, "How could Tony not love you?" I was not reading anything into your relationship with your brother but making an observation about you. Your humility is refreshing and endearing. What I meant was that you seem to be an altogether loveable person whom I'm very certain was treasured deeply by your brother. I chose a way of saying something that would make entertaining what I wrote nearly impossible to fathom. I feel bad that my words might have troubled your spirit and, knowing how precious was your relationship with your brother; do not want to be responsible for suggesting that there was anything but love which flowed between you both.
On another note, I so very much would have loved to engage Tony in a conversation about what prompted his transformation. I wonder if it happened in an instant or was it a gradual awakening. Do you know if he was always collecting and telling stories or did this begin during the time of his transformation? From what you've written in the biography, it seems he was just about thirty years old when you first began to notice the change in him which would have made you about 17. Is this time frame correct or were you both a bit older?
As the years went on, Tony and I drew closer. Believer and doubter formed a strange combination, but Tony made it work.
The grace of God (or something!) guided him. From being blood brothers we were becoming brothers in spirit also.
As I read these lines, I am struck with the thought that for Tony it was effortless because he knew you were alright. He had no fear for your soul as one of the keepers of the flock because he knew there is nothing to be fearful of. He loved you and accepted you right where you were, trusting that you did not need fixing. When one encounters the God of Love, everything falls away as chaff from the wheat. You, me, Tony, none of us has to do anything but become aware of this all embracing love that permeates every atom of creation. How awesome for you to be loved by your brother in such a way as to allow you to be who you are and not needing to change one jot or tittle about yourself...like the way God loves us : )
One more question, Bill, if I may. During his Awareness Retreat, Tony mentions that there are only two books that he would ever recommend and he only names one, Summerhill by A. S. Neill. Do you know, by chance, the title of the other book Tony had in mind? I suspect these two works were seminal in the initiation of his transformation and he shares them trusting they might be as enlightening for others as they were for him.
Thank you again for reconnecting with me. I feel like I am able to call you my friend and hope you will do me the honour of returning the favour. Wherever you are, whatever work you are doing, trust that it is enough.
With gratitude for your friendship,