Pop Quiz: A Patriot Is…

Pop Quiz

An American patriot –
A) tries to take away laws that protect American citizens from discrimination.
B) insults people who practice their First Amendment rights.
C) tries to censor the news.
D) gets five deferments to avoid service to his country, and then says an actual Vietnam veteran is not a hero because he got captured.
E) None of the above.

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A Simple and Unremarkable Perfection

It’s a miracle of perfection.
I am warm and fed and I can hear
my loved one tapping the keys on his laptop
and clearing his throat
near me
I have chamomile tea with cream and a chunk of
sourdough bread and the wind is moving
the rain-splattered screen on the window
and making the lights behind it look like they’re dancing
I feel no pain or fear
I know I’m completely safe
and I imagine coming through some terrible danger
and finding myself in this room
and what a miracle that would seem to be
and how much I’d appreciate the simple unremarkable
perfection of it
and I am filled with gratitude.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
(excerpt from A Poem Lives on My Windowsill)

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Drives with Dad (10-11-17)

Over the past year or so I’ve been chronicling the drives I take with my dad (now 99). This morning I thought I’d share the most recent adventure with my WordPress friends –

“I’m Running for President”
October 11, 2017

Picked Dad up for a drive to Urgent Care this morning.
As we’re getting him down the stairs and to the car –
Dad: I’m running for President.
Karen: (involuntary grin – Dad appears to be in fine form this morning) I’d vote for you!
Dad: Do you really think I’d make a good President?
Karen: I think you’d be great!
(As we situate him in the car.)
Dad: I don’t want to bring my walker. I don’t think you can be President if you have a walker.
Karen: Roosevelt had polio. He used a brace.
Dad: (nodding his head) That’s true. But he had a lot of people backing him. (An old receipt starts to work its way out of my car as Dad moves his feet in – I pick up the receipt and shove it back into the car.)
Dad: I don’t think anyone would vote for a President with a messy car.
(I start laughing.)
Dad: I wonder how many other old men in this nation are trying to get into a car right now.

As we drive to Urgent Care Dad talks more about his campaign for Presidency.
Dad: I think you should run for President. You’re a teacher. What more do you need to be? (Thinking.) I wonder how many other daughters are driving their fathers around right now?

I help Dad out of the car and into the waiting room at Urgent Care.
Dad: Do Peter and David  know about your attempt to make me President?
(I shake my head no. I don’t really know how to respond to that one.)
Dad: How do we know when the joke’s gone far enough? When do they eliminate me?
Karen: (I assume Dad’s talking about being eliminated from the presidential race – but he’s talking really loud and everyone can hear him, and I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings.) Daddy, no one’s going to eliminate you.

We have a wait. Other people who arrived after us have now been called to the back rooms. I ask the receptionist if maybe Dad’s been forgotten. She goes to check for me and discovers his chart is missing, and there was some miscommunication somewhere – one nurse thought the other nurse was looking at Dad, and the other nurse thought the first nurse was looking at Dad. Everyone’s very apologetic and Dad is quickly brought into the triage room. Soon he’s been diagnosed and given a prescription and we are on our way. I stop at Dairy Queen to buy him a root beer float – he has earned it, for sure. He focuses on his float. He’s no longer talking about his bid for the Presidency.

I drive him back to his home, and we unload him. I bring a package in with me that his nephew, Brad, sent him and read to Dad the enclosed note from Brad. Brad has sent him a screen dealy that is loaded with a memory card of thousands of pictures taken by Dad. Dad is smiling – really grateful for this gift. I tell him I need to get back to school now.

Dad: Thank you for driving me around this morning.
Karen: I love you, Daddy.
Dad: I love you, too.

 

 

 

Conversation about Christian Science on a Discussion Board

“…no, you will not hear a CSist knocking at your door. 🙂 Frankly, it took me a long time before I felt comfortable ‘admitting’ I was a CSist or talking about my way of life in an open and honest way. I know there is a lot of… not sure what the word is… misinformation? bias? prejudice?… about CS, and I’m not always eager to enter discussions about CS… sometimes – if I sense that nobody is really interested in having their minds relieved of their prejudices – I choose not to enter those discussions at all. But it felt to me like there were people on this thread who were genuine and sincere in their questions about CS. It is good to hear your voice again, my friend…”
S
ource: Conversation about Christian Science on a Discussion Board

The Power in Kind Moments

Went to pay the bill for my internet provider today. And ohmygosh! It was like going to a free comedy show! There were two women behind the counter and they were like a comedy team. The one on the left (I can’t remember her name and you’re going to understand why that’s really embarrassing in a moment) looked up at me and said, “Karen, right? I can’t remember your last name, though…” My mouth fell open. How in the world did she even know my first name?! Wave Broadband has, like, thousands of customers, right? So I told her my last name, and then asked her how she knew my name – told her she was brilliant. And this is when the woman on the right started shaking her head and made some crack – basically, agreeing with me that her partner is a genius – but agreeing in such a comical way that I started laughing out loud.

I mentioned that I’d heard they were moving tomorrow to a new location. And the one on the left – the brilliant one – said, “Yes, we’re moving to the main street – right across from where you used to go for your coffee…” Again, my mouth fell open.

The woman on the right shook her head again, and said, “Kind of creepy, isn’t it?” and got me laughing again.

And then the one on the left said, “I have a really good memory, and I especially remember the people who are nice to me.”

“I was nice to you?” I asked, trying to remember…

And she said, “Yes, one time you got here just as I was closing the office to go to lunch, and you were really understanding about it. A lot of customers get angry, but you were really nice and just said you’d come back later.”

The one on the right said something else to crack me up at this point – she had that straight-faced dead pan humor – and we all wished each other a good day and parted with good will towards each other.

It’s amazing the power in kind moments.

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Sacred Hour

I awaken at one in the morning,
eyes wide open, thoughts churning,
and pad downstairs to commune
with Love in quiet and stillness.

Calico cat comes to me then,
rubs against me, curls up next
to me and watches me open
my Christian Science Quarterly
Bible Lesson. Ahem. I am a week
behind, and travel back to last
week, and even the week before,
before starting this week’s lesson.

I underline and star verses and
thoughts of men who lived
more than 2,000 years ago,
and the words a woman wrote
and published in 1875. I am
connected to the aspirations,
hopes, and wisdom of people
no longer walking this planet.

Truth destroys death
“with the spiritual evidences of Life”
writes Mary Baker Eddy, and I think
of my mother – no longer with me
in body – but still with me in her love
for me and in “the spiritual evidences”
of her life. Death has no power
to separate me from her love.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee…
I will strengthen thee… I will help thee…”
I read in Isaiah and I remember
all the times in my life when Love
has brought me through, healed me,
cared for me. When has Love ever
failed me? And I feel Love spreading
strong wings over me, and gathering
me up close under soft feathers.

“‘God is Love.’ More than this we cannot
ask, higher we cannot look, farther we
cannot go…” writes Eddy, and I feel
enveloped in warmth and light.
Safe. Protected. Secure.

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word,
even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour
as thyself…” says Paul to the Galatians.
And I recognize the abiding truth
in those words, more than 2,000 years later.

“Firmness in error will never save
from sin, disease, and death…” writes Eddy,
and I take comfort in knowing that lies,
dishonesty, and ignorance have no reality
or power – and am reminded why it’s
useless to waste time and energy
investing in lies, dishonesty, and ignorance.

The cat stretches her paw towards me.
I pet her behind the ears and she smiles
a contented cat smile. She watches my pen
as I underline and star my Quarterly.
She is my partner in this morning’s
sacred hour.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Clara Kitty face