karen browing, i heart you so.

Nov 10, 2010 | Life in Progress


without going into all the details just yet i will say that it’s been very very rough over here the last couple of weeks. we are in good hands medically and spiritually, though we are emotionally and physically exhausted. while we continue to tend and nurture and adjust and love our hearts out, i’ve asked some of my dearest friends to share some of their letters, wisdom, humor, and stories with you. i love the idea of this space becoming a scrapbook of sorts to look back on – a virtual welcoming book for this new journey into life.

below is a letter from karen, one of my oldest friends. i wrote about karen back in 2007 and how she changed my life with one very memorable roadtrip. i love her to pieces and like most of my oldest friends, she holds so many memories that make up the whole of who i am. i’m so grateful for her witness to my life, for her undying friendship, for her always being in my life even through years and years of living 3000 miles apart. once, when i was in deep angst about my life, way before i discovered art, karen gave me advice i’ve never forgotten: kelly, think abou the life you really want for yourself and wake up everyday and take small steps toward that life. i never forgot it and it’s exactly what i started to do. she has taught me so much about friendship commitment, loyalty, how friends simply feel like family. she has recently taken a big leap in her own life and i’m so, so insanely excited for her.

me and karen
me and karen, 1998, during that life changing roadtrip that brought me out west.

Kelly Rae and I have never been the kind of friends who keep in close touch with each other. We don’t talk on the phone every day or even every month. We email sporadically. But I still consider Kelly one of my best friends and hope to for a long time. You see, what I treasure about our friendship is that we’ve always been able to pick right up where we left off and feel like nothing has changed. We both know the depth of our love for each other without having to reaffirm it constantly. She will always be one of those friends I will call immediately when something wonderful or terrible happens. She has known me since junior high and we’ve grown together through high school, college and beyond, through crushes and heartaches, through triumphs and letdowns. It’s the kind of knowing where we can sit together quietly having tea and enjoying each other’s company, or spend all night talking and still not say all we want to say. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what we say, just hearing the other’s voice is enough.

I can’t wait to meet little True. I know he will live up to his name. Knowing that he is part Kelly and part John, I have a feeling he won’t know how to be anything other than who he is. Kelly and John are amazing and beautiful people and part of their charm is that both are so much who they are, always. There is never any doubt when you’re with them whether they’re being sincere or not. I hope True shares his parents’ adventurous spirit. I hope he is gifted with Kelly’ wonderful optimism and John’s sweet patience. I have no doubt that he’ll be a bright and happy boy. That he’ll join Bella in following behind these two in whatever adventures life leads them on and eventually will take the lead himself, showing his parents new parts of the world they never dreamed they’d see.

after brunch in the village, nyc
me, ama, karen, kat, clare and little theo – 2007, trip to NYC.

After getting married this summer my husband and I decided to pack house and move from Brooklyn upstate to Ithaca. The decision was swift and was made with all the certainty that two people can make such a life-changing decision. We had just spent a busy year planning our wedding while also managing work and creative time, trying to see friends and family members – the usual balancing act. We made the decision quickly and in unison, but not lightly. Much thought and care went into the decision and I totally feel like we made the best choice for us, following our hearts as my dear friend Kelly has often advised me to do. I frequently thought of Kelly at this point in my life, reading this blog, remembering points where she had her frustrations about the process but never really doubted her direction in life. I was inspired by the way she kept going and working on her art, working on this blog, making her life her own, even though she didn’t have a place to live, even though there were still huge uncertainties about their new life in Portland and some of her family and friends may have questioned her wisdom in making that leap while expecting her first child. I never doubted. Knowing Kelly, I knew she and John would make the move to Portland and though everything wouldn’t exactly fall into place immediately, I knew they would put together the life they envisioned for themselves. And they have. And now True has joined them.

me + karen

This week we drove the moving van to Ithaca, put all our stuff in storage for a month and happily settled in with our friends in their amazing home, our little kitty Matchska in tow. There have definitely been moments where I’ve been frustrated, where I’ve been annoyed that I don’t have things I want readily at hand or that I’m sharing space with a family of six (god bless them for adding Ralph and the kitty and I to the mix!) or that I’m uncertain what my life here will be like. I miss my friends a lot, those I just left behind, and those, like Kelly, who haven’t lived in the same city as me for years. Moving to a new place does that. But I know without having to ask that Kelly Rae is rooting me on from her space in Oregon, just as I’ve been doing the same from over here in New York. I know that we will continue to talk, to meet up once every year or so to gather our family of friends together or maybe just the girls. I know that our children will know each other, that our lives will remain intertwined and I hope that we keep loving, supporting and inspiring each other for many more decades to come. Because that’s what true friendship is. And by our example, I’m sure True will find his own true friends and be an amazing inspiration to them too.

Sending much love,

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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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