Kathleen Hirsch | Conversation
Writing and musings by author Kathleen Hirsch.
kathleen hirsch, writer, spiritual director, boston, ma, spiritual writing
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The Power of Sisters

Some things are almost too good to be true.  In this category I would place, most improbably, the dental practice that I have frequented for more years than I can remember.

Into an adorable russet red triple decker in Cambridge, MA, drifts a constant flow of clients from nearby Porter Square (hence its name: Porter Square Family Dental).  We come to be treated by one of the three sisters, who all happen to be dentists.

If this were fiction, you’d call it a fairy tale.  Instead, it is the very real, creative, and enviable model for three highly able women who, when they were just starting out, wanted to maintain their profession while keeping the life balances that would enable them to raise young families, and in time expand to satellite practices in the western suburbs.

All three graduated Tufts Dental School.  They pooled their resources to purchase a practice from the estate of a recently-deceased, beloved local dentist.

They carved up the four-day work schedule (Fridays are off for everyone, staff included).  Each one of them worked two days in the beginning.  They covered for each other, shared the emergency calls, had their children, and quickly won over the loyalty of happy clients.

In time, schedules have shifted, depending on the needs of each sister, but the fundamental concept has remained.

It isn’t a model that can work for every walk of life, certainly.  But this little gem of a practice suggests the innovative work arrangements that sisterhood can make possible.  It is a family business in the best sense of the word.  And it makes me wonder how others, reading their story, might imagine new possibilities in their own worlds.

I learned the power of collaboration, of women “having my back” and easing the way, during my undergraduate years at a women’s college.  Strong women, all looking forward with the same ideals of effort and excellence, elevated all of us.  Collectively, we were so much more than we ever could have been alone.

Now that I am older, I realize how many of our important “wisdom” stories affirm this experience — the sisters, Mary and Martha, the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary, the loyalty of Naomi to Ruth, or the resourcefulness of the wives of Jacob.

Even when successful women seem to be operating solo, there are many others in the wings, who have taken them seriously, cheered them on, helped them navigate challenges, picked them up when they stumbled, raised a glass of champagne when they pulled it off.

Women know that this support is the building block of all creativity – whether in our businesses, our family lives, or our art.

This is a good week to consider our many sisters – biological and spiritual – who sustain and inspire us.  Thank them, even if you can only do so in your hearts.

I am sure that I am in a fairly group of those who actually look forward to visiting the dentist.  Pictures of beautiful children hang in the examining rooms, good magazines await in the waiting room tables, serene music drifts through the rooms.  There’s nothing frenzied or crowded or hurried about the experience.

What a lovely way to live each day of one’s working life!  It is just what the sisters wanted to achieve, for themselves and for all who walk through their door.

Surely, sisterhood makes the world a more creative place, thanks to women’s organizational skills, our inventiveness, and our talents.






Welcome to The Conversation

Welcome to the re-launch of my blog!

The past two months have been a flurry of travel and work, visits to beautiful places and connection with friends not seen in years.

All have made me aware that beyond the realms of the daily strivings – even, the hours of creativity and actions to better the world –  friendship is the most precious thing that we share, something so valuable that I have changed this site to reflect it.

The change is towards dialogue.   My hope is that this will become a place where we pool the insights of our passing days to sustain us on our journeys.   I hope my stories and reflections will inspire yours, that you will chime in, and that this will become a space of gathered wisdom for all who care to visit.

I am calling it: The Conversation.

The Conversation will rely on your Comments – please note the added feature here.

Stay tuned.  I am in the process of creating other opportunities for gathering – in person and virtually.

But now, a brief offering from my time away.

A dear friend passed away yesterday after four valiant years of battling cancer.  I can still see Deborah at her 50th birthday party, twenty-odd years ago.  She had rented a small performance space in Boston, set up café tables for us, her audience, and for an hour dazzled and delighted us with her virtuoso piano playing and singing from on stage.

I’m sure that night most of us were thinking,  “Wow – would I ever have the guts to do this?!?!?”

But not Deborah.  She was fearless, exuberant, sensational – bold, humorous, and delighted by life.  Always.  Mostly, she was thrilled to be with friends, giving us the pleasure of her talents, capabilities, and vast stores of Texan humor, that lit up every room she ever entered.

All of us who knew her will carry her light to the end of our days, and hopefully cast a bit of it for others before our last breaths.

Rediscovering the grace and original blessing of friends had been the gift of these past few months for me.  I’ve gathered with old high school friends also struggling with illness, pulled out wedding albums and newspaper clippings from childhood, shared meals and stories, reacquainted with their children, and done those silly, remarkably meaningful things like recalling the flavors of lollipops at the amusement part we frequented as 12 years old.

Can it get better than this — that I have friends with whom I can share such memories?

None of these conversations were about who’s right or wrong, who’s up or down, who has been to the latest restaurant or has something to say about the book they are reading.  They haven’t been filled with obsessive worrying.  They haven’t even been about the ample topics we’ve made the time to catch up on.

Not at all.

These things are fine in moderation, the wholecloth of our daily rounds.  But the “conversations” I’m describing have had value chiefly in the words beneath the spoken words.

They’ve been about vulnerability, trust, and self-disclosure.  Even when we’ve been talking about coconut-flavored lollipops, we’ve been engaged in exchanges of the heart, a flow of communion, support and love that words just dress in temporal garb.

I hope that such meaningful conversation will continue here, and become a wellspring for us all.

Please join me!

Happy Summer