Old Roots, New Roots

Sitting at coffee time I found myself humming a Lenten hymn from The Lutheran Hymnal (© 1941) (I think it was Hymn 175 [first tune] When I Survey the Wondrous Cross). I can picture myself in Pastor E.J Otto’s Church – Redeemer Lutheran Church in Quincy, Illinois. I would have been 12 or so. It was a typical Lenten service. Our family was in a wing to the side of the main nave. So what was bringing up this very specific memory?

Pat asked if this remembering was a spiritual experience for me. Surprised by her question, I said, “No, the scene is from an era of my life that left me when my parents died. I have no sense of those roots.” Pat inquired as to how old I was when Mom and Dad died in a car crash. I was 29. I had been married for six years and my children (Sherri and John) were 3 ½ and 1 ½ at the time. I had not bonded to Jane, my wife, in those six years – and was still rooted in my family of origin. I recalled that a pastor friend of mine shared many years later that it can take ten years for one’s roots to transfer from one’s family of origin to one’s new family of creation. My marriage was full of distortions on my part that blocked even normal re-rooting, so I was feeling quite alone after my parents died – not at all rooted. But these feelings of loneliness were covered over with busyness and activities of all kind.  Simply stated, I did not re-root.

After my divorce nearly 30 years after my parents’ deaths, I experienced other relationships with women. These were intense, but also carried a lot of distortion. I was not experienced enough to allow myself to be grounded and rooted in a mature loving relationship. I know this now so well from so many Pathowork teachings (Example 1 Pathwork on Marital Love) (Example 2 Pathwork on Growing in Love).

I recalled a Soul Card from a deck of cards painted by Deborah Koff-Chapin that spoke to me: A thinker sitting alone on a stump with a complex set of roots below it. So where are my roots? I paused with that question.  Where are my roots?

Pat shared similar feelings in her early relationships but noted that what wasn’t in earlier relationships was here with us now – for Pat our relationship has a sense of rootedness in love and connection. A different Soul Card from the same deck came to mind for her: A couple back-to-back holding hands the way we do.

Pat then reflected on a recent experience she had of seeing me more clearly – “seeing the face of God, seeing with new eyes – it is US being One, without obstruction. Looking into the Face of God – the ‘Big Bang’ that started it all off.” I could only take all this in in silence and awe. Pat went on, “My sense is that US – our relationship – is primary, just like for Deborah Koff-Chapin being an artist is primary. Our relationship – this Male/Female relationship, its Power – is our participation in Creation.

She then recalled a poem by Teilhard de Chardin that she heard at a workshop that took place over ten years ago:

Some day

When we have mastered the WINDS,

And the waves

And gravity

We will harness for God

The energies of LOVE,

And for a second time in the history of the world

Humanity will have discovered


Whew! She then commented on our conditioning not to feel – the hardening of our hearts – the separating that we do. We truly realize that we share this conditioning and wrestle with the same issues of separation. I was moved to read several selections from Pathwork Lecture 151 Intensity: An Obstacle to Self-Realization. All a magical time for us.

Pat went on, “The wave of consciousness we are opening to – the answer to the why we are here question! How do we then live? Are our choices aligned with our vertical connection? We have moments of ‘Getting it’ – understanding our lives.”

She then spoke of her sense of the value of my recording of the Pathwork Lectures – “You’ve ridden the energy of the Lectures. You love it and you follow what you love! Even though you really do not understand what this energy is all about, still you follow this energy that is so alive in you.”

Gary: “The feeling I have in the recording of the Pathwork Lectures is somehow close to the Sacred.” Pat: “And you know the feel of that in your being. You have had a taste of the unknown Mystery. … In general we do not know, we are living in the unknown. But this of which we are a part of in this time right now – this is beyond our minds and our thinking. … ‘Lift Off!’ are the words that come to me.”

I could only celebrate these moments with Pat.  I was feeling so full, so enlivened.  Pat responded, “I’m feeling the flow on the vertical. These moments come so we know the feel of it. This influences how we spend our time and efforts!”

I left our coffee time with my head spinning. Pat had another quote by Teilhard de Chardin that really says it all for me: Patient Trust in Ourselves and the Slow Work of God. AMEN. Now are these new roots? My, our, new rootedness? Are we, Pat and I, being transplanted?

Feeling so full of life! Of love?