Friends Continue to Communicate

by Rosemary and Karen

First, drawn from a Comment upon the blog last week:

Dear Rosemary,

As another taking the path and [this week] following your lead… What a beautiful expression of the “letting go” that has to happen. I am in that grieving time [of preparing to leave work] and wondering if or how I will be able to hang on to the wonderful and blessed experience of living and working in Toronto and loving so many of God’s lovely human creations.

Love and blessings Karen


Hi Rosemary, 

Am excited about this dialogue. We go back a long way and have shared about our faith through many seasons of our lives – it’s been a vital part of our lives and our friendship! I have loved having someone who gets where I am coming from spiritually and who gets the paradox and mystery of a life lived with intense love for God and fellow human beings. We have also worked for an organization where we had the amazing gift of being able to express this faith in practical ways every day.  And we are both in the first stages of retirement and now what? Church seems a pale ghost in comparison to that experience.

I understand completely the problem of God the Father in the intense hierarchy of the  church.  I understand how relationships with our fathers and with men in our lives has an impact on our ability to accept this as part of church.

That’s all for now – grocery shopping calls.

Love you sister,


April 9, 2011

Dear Karen

I’m trying italics for one of us and not for the other, so it’s easy to tell our letters apart.

There was a recent comment from Elizabeth on A Bigger Circle that was encouraging to our decision to share these letters.  I’m including it here:

I think Karen & Rosemary’s letters to each other, opened up to “The Bigger Circle Blog” for us to read will be a boon to all our soul-searching.

Psalm 139:23″ Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

It’s wonderful that this reader picked that particular Psalm – probably my favourite.  It’s the one that reminds me that God is always there.  Because my father wasn’t, it’s one of the disconnects with God as Father.  The authoritarian thing also interferes.  My father’s second family, producing two half-brothers, had to deal with the human flaws of our dad, and suffer them, but he was always there and really loved them.  I’m glad he could achieve that in his life, and these two men are – as you know – quite lovely and loving men.  But I was surprised when I first realized that I was initially sad and then angry at not having had a father in the way they did.  I resent the extent to which I long to be with them, my half-brothers,  in an effort to get a little piece of dad.  Luckily they’re fun and kind and there is always the possibility of future change in the direction of gaining peace about it all.

And as a way of approaching the number of diminishments and “letting go’s” of this time of our lives, and of knowing we have to keep growing up, I have found it helpful to learn about how our very own brains can help us!

There’s a book by Dr. Norman Doidge, The Brain The Changes Itself, that presents the scientific case for the physical impact on the brain of infant and childhood trauma.  Neurons and networks of neurons are created by repeated disturbance or through the persistence of unmet needs.  Dysfunctional rigidity thus carries on into adulthood.  BUT.  In less than 10 years, the brain has come to be known as having plasticity – it is not unalterably  set in its ways.  Therapy  – and prayer? – can guide us to remembering the beginnings of some of the painful patterns we seem stuck with, and to undo some of them and to give us the chance to make new choices.  In other words, there’s no end to the possibility of learning.  People’s brains can keep changing until they die.

The very notion opens up the possibility that we’ve got a little more input into the choice and chance toss-up.

And looking further, “the way everlasting” of Psalm 89 is, I believe, the coming to fruition of who we were meant to be.  Less determined by old patterns.   It’s the direction of health.

The “offensive way” within us is, I believe, the outcome of offense done to us – by another or by a dreadful circumstance in our lives.

This era offers so much that is control and power-based: not God’s style.  But it also offers new paths to opening up to God and to who we are.

Your steadfastness in aiming at the light, the opening up, has set a standard for me.

Love you,  Rosemary


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