Good Guys and Bad Guys

The Good Guys and Bad Guys

I do not like “them” in my town
I do not like “them” all around
“They” all are that, and all are this
we’ll put them on our “scary” list.

“They” all are full of mean and hate
If “we” don’t watch they’ll climb our gates
They want to hurt “us” – want to harm,
– It’s time for “us” to feel alarm.

Let’s ban together, show our might
before THEY come and get US, right?
Except –
now it seems the bad guys and good
are blurring together in our ‘hood.

Who IS the good and who the bad?
Have we all gone completely mad?!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation? Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception?… Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

enemy image

Dad Turns 98 Today!

Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you. Be afraid of nothing. There is so little time that your youth will last – such a little time.
– Richard Halliburton

God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Dad turns 98 today. A couple months ago he thought he’d be turning 100 today. A month ago he thought he’d be turning 97. We finally got it all sorted out when I reminded him that he was born in 1918 and that it is now 2016. I saw him do the calculations in his head. A few minutes later we were sitting at the dining room table with my mom and husband, when Dad announced, kind of shocked, “I’m going to be 98 in a month! I never thought I’d make it to 98.” Later he told me that 98 sounds a lot older than 100. Apparently he just skipped over 98 and 99 and went right from 97 to 100 when he’d been trying to figure out his age.

Think about this: When Dad was born women didn’t have the right to vote, yet. Radios, telephones, and cars had just been invented. There were no CDs, televisions, cellphones, or computers. There was no internet. There was no Google. There was no Wikipedia. To find information people often went to the library and did research in these things called books – and sometimes the research might take days or even weeks! (Today if you want to find out more about Dad, all you’ve got to do is go to his Wikipedia page – et voila! There he is!)

People also read those things called books just for fun. The book that Dad has said most influenced him was a book called The Rolling Road to Romance by an adventurer named Richard Halliburton. Halliburton exonerated his readers to “Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you. Be afraid of nothing. There is so little time that your youth will last – such a little time.”

Dad took those words to heart.

Dad was born at the end of World War I. He survived The Great Depression with his family, served in World War II, has climbed on the highest mountains on earth, went to the South Pole, and close to the North Pole, has been on six of the seven continents, has moved easily among world leaders, and traveled the world with a close group of fellow adventurers and explorers. At various times he’s worked as a photographer, cartographer, geologist, hydrologist, artist, mountain guide, ski instructor, and author. He’s moved through life with no sense of limitation about what he might accomplish or where he might go or who he might meet, and that – what I guess some might call “naïve” – sense of freedom has served him well in his life.

And today he turns 98. He’s still engaged in his life – still enjoys exploring the nooks and crannies of Life’s highways and by-ways. He continues to live “the wonderful life” that is in him.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Dee Molenaar

 

Happy Father’s Day!

I’m sitting here on Father’s Day Eve, filled with gratitude for the fathers in my life. I’m grateful for my own father – who encouraged me to learn and create and travel and be brave and push my body to climb mountains – and set an example with his own life. I’m grateful to my sons’ father – my husband – my partner in parenting – the sons’ coach, teacher, mentor, protector.

My first memory features Dad. I was two years-old. I took one step too many in the local swimming hole and went in over my head. I remember trying to walk back up to the shore, but my feet wouldn’t move me forward. I opened my mouth to scream, but I was under water and no sound came out. A minute more and I might not be here. But Dad had seen me go under, and came out to get me. He yanked me out of the water by my pony tails and brought me back safely to terra firma.

My husband performed a similar act of heroism with our eldest son. We were visiting a friend who had a swimming pool that she’d turned into a koi pond. One minute our three year-old was standing at the edge of the pool, the next minute we heard a splash and he was gone. The pool was murky and deep, but my husband was quick thinking, and reached straight down into the pond, found our son, and yanked him out of there. He is my hero.

A happy Father’s Day to all the heroes out there who protect, and provide for, and cultivate the good in, their children. You rock!

Scott and sons

Photo of husband and sons. Lincoln City, OR. Circa 1995.

Half-Staff Flag

The flag is at half-staff again
or still.
I can’t remember the last time
I saw it waving from the top
of the pole.
Days? Weeks? Months? Years?
Someday it will rise again,
someday when we put our fears
to rest, and begin
to trust each other once more,
put down our weapons of words
and steel, and pour healing
love into our nation’s wounds.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

half-mast flag

Making the World a Better Place

About once a week I walk into town to buy a hummus roasted veggie sandwich and to see my friend, Frank, who works at the sandwich place. Frank is gay. We’ve never talked about his gayness or my not-gayness or anyone’s whatever-ness in conversation – I mean – it’s not like people usually approach a new friend, shake hands, and introduce themselves by their labels – “Hi, I’m Karen and I’m a progressive bleeding heart liberal heterosexual female Christian Scientist of mostly European ancestry (although there might be some Basque Reptile alien in there, too) – and how about you? What are your labels?” – but, yeah, Frank is gay.

This week when Frank asked me how I was, I gave the usual, “I’m good. And how about you?” And he gave the usual, “I’m good.” But this time something made me stop and really look at Frank. And I asked, “Frank, how are you really?” Frank said it had been a rough week.

He said he’d been in a bar earlier in the week, and he’d heard people at the next table over saying – in deliberately loud voices so Frank could hear – “Yeah. Those people in Florida deserved it.” Frank had tried to remain civil to them – he and the bar-tender had had their own conversation – loud enough to be heard – about the terribleness of the tragedy. And the people at the next table spewed out some more hatred. And Frank wondered about them: Hadn’t they ever been targeted for being different in some way? Didn’t they know what that felt like?

I started tearing up. “Frank, where does that hate come from? I don’t understand it.” Frank shook his head sadly, and said he thought it came from ignorance – from people being afraid of what they don’t know. He said he leaves those people in the hands of the Lord – and he didn’t mean that in a vengeful way – but in a “God will help them” way.

I told Frank that I was with him. I told him that he wasn’t alone. And he thanked me and gave me a hug.

Later on I was thinking about what Frank had said – his wondering if those people had ever been targeted for being different – and it made me remember a time, years ago, when I’d been watching a local “town meeting” on television and I’d heard someone say that “All Christian Scientists should be lined up against a wall and shot.” It had been strange and disturbing to hear someone who didn’t know me wish me dead. It stuck with me. I learned something from that.

Anyone could become a target – hatred is a form of insanity, really, and it doesn’t have to make sense – maybe tomorrow it will be stubby people, or extra tall people, or people with green eyes, or left-handed people, who will become the targets.

I think when we take the time to get to know each other – to try to understand each other without judgment or condemnation – to listen to each other – when we take the time to get rid of our own ignorance – we are doing a lot to make the world a better place. It’s been said so many times, but I think it’s true: Love really IS the answer.

getting to know each other