Fransson's memoir, Loving the Enemy: When the favorite parent dies first, is the chronicle of her ongoing contention with her demanding father throughout her life until his decline in health in his late 90s. Loving the Enemy is a moving memoir. But it is far more than a journal of significant personal experience. Read it, and you will encounter an invitation to reimagine your life journey through the eyes of compassion. Fran Ferder, FSPA, PhD, and John Heagle, MA, JCL, LMHC. Co-Directors, Therapy & Renewal Associates (TARA). Co-Authors, Tender Fires: The Spiritual Promise of Sexuality.
I wanted to read this memoir because I, too, have an elderly parent who needs my attention. But Loving the Enemy swept me into its path and kept me up late, reading hungrily. I expected a simple chronicle of the author, her parents, and their last years together, but instead found a mix of personal and spiritual, past and present. It's a tapestry woven of a lifetime of memories, rich though often painful; wisdom from poets and spiritual thinkers; and heartfelt guidance for how to find the words beyond the words. In chapter one, Cathy as a child escapes from a rainstorm into a church sanctuary where she plays the organ (breathing "remnants of candle wax, floor polish, and old hymnals"), a small scene that is a metaphor for the way Loving the Enemy offers a respite from the deluge of family losses--for both the author and the reader--into the solace and healing power of art. Bethany Reid, author of Sparrow and Body My House.
Catherine Fransson has approached and passed over the threshold leading to that vast, uncharted territory called unconditional love, what Christian people all too glibly called grace. Imagine the work, the joy and the fulfillment of loving someone without conditions. It is one of the key journeys of life. This beautifully written book provides many insights and much guidance for that journey. Pastor Don Mackenzie, PhD, now living in Minneapolis, is devoting himself to interfaith work after retiring as Minister and Head of Staff at Seattle's University Congregational United Church of Christ.