Traffic Jam in the Opposite Direction

Cruising along I-5 we see a traffic jam
in the opposite direction. Cars bumper-
to-bumper for miles and we feel sorry
for those folks. And as we go around
a curve in the freeway we see the cars
that are approaching the traffic jam –
their drivers still happy and unaware
of what lies for them around the bend.
And we feel sorry for them, too –
and a little smug that we’re not in those
lanes. And little do we know that they’re
feeling the same for us as we blissfully,
ignorantly, approach our own traffic jam.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Thinking Flat

Thinking Flat

Too much. One stress following another.
Thinking flat. Push the thoughts down
still and level. Hills and valleys as seen
from space. Spread out before me – a
wider perspective. Breathe. Take this
moment to the next one. And through.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

An Ode to Boxing Day

Ode to Boxing Day

It’s a humble holiday, tucked in between
Christmas and New Year’s, but it’s really keen.
Things look a little bedraggled, it’s true
The tree’s a little droopy and no longer new

The movies and music of the Christmas season
Are getting on our nerves now, and we’re seeing no reason
To eat even one more sugary oversweet sweet
It’s time for broccoli and carrots (maybe hold on the beets)

The pressure for perfection comes off on this day,
the toys have been opened, and it’s come time to play.
And if before we were wearing faux holiday cheer
to blend in with the others and not Scroogey appear

It’s time now to be genuine, and honest and real.
The food banks are empty, people still need a warm meal.
The homeless and hungry and jobless and alone
still need love and care, still need a home.

So maybe we can celebrate the day after Christmas
by keeping the spirit of hope alive,
we might make that our business.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from *A Poem Lives on My Windowsill*

When Awful Things Happen at Christmas

Sometimes really awful things happen – and sometimes they happen when you’re doing something that’s supposed to be a happy thing, and sometimes they happen at Christmas. And I’m trying to find something profound and wise to say about that – and, at the moment, I’m coming up nada. But here’s a poem:

We see each other – my old friend and me –
in the aisle that takes you to paints, plants,
toys, and clothes, in-between cosmetics
and Christmas decorations – and we reach
out to hug each other as we say, “Merry
Christmas!” and somehow as the last
syllable comes out of our mouths we find
we’re both crying – tears pouring out of our
eyes and she asks, “Are you alright?!”
“Something horrible happened last night…”
“What about you?” “She won’t be home
for Christmas this year…”And we stand
in Fred Meyer’s supermarket, my friend and
I, sobbing together and hugging, and I say,
“You were the exactly right person I needed
to see here!” And she says, “You were the
person I needed to see here!” And we give
each other one more hug and another
“Merry Christmas!” as we part.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Unrepentant Joy

So I’ve been feeling kind of guilty because I’ve got this joy just bubbling up inside me right now – there’re big, fat snowflakes falling gently outside my window, and Christmas tree lights twinkling on the tree, and birds snacking at the birdfeeder, and a cat sitting in the window watching it all, and Burl Ives is singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” – and this moment is just so perfect and beautiful! But I know there are also a lot of really horrible things happening in the world right now – cruelty and murder and corruption and greed and pollution and starvation – and so I’ve been sitting here wondering if it’s right for me to feel happy.

And… so what I’m thinking is… how is being unhappy going to feed starving children or shelter the homeless? And how is surrendering my joy to bullies and bigots and busybodies going to help end bullying and bigotry and busybodying?

So. Yeah. I guess I’m going to let go of the guilt. I am going to be shameless about my joy. Incorrigible. Irrepressible. Unrepentant. And I ain’t apologizing.

“Be happy at all times and in all places; for remember it is right and a duty you owe to yourself and to your God to retain the right, no matter how loudly the senses scream.”
– Edward A. Kimball

“You are not alone.”

“Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them.  You are not alone.'”
– Kurt Vonnegut

Something very cool happened this year: People I never knew existed suddenly appeared in my life voicing the same concerns I’ve voiced, sharing the same values as me, befriending me, offering their support when I’ve felt discouraged or afraid, and letting me know I’m not alone.  It’s been amazing, really, how we’ve all managed to find each other in these unsettling, dark times. Just as the metaphorical batteries in my flashlight start to die, and the light starts to go out, suddenly someone will appear out of nowhere and shine his light out of the darkness and offer help, and tell me I’m not alone.

It has meant the world to me.

There have also been friends who have “defriended” me in the last year, too, of course – because I am so controversial and badass and stuff 🙂 – but I’m thinking for every friend who felt the need to defriend me, three more new friends have suddenly appeared to offer friendship.

I am rich with true friends – both old friends and new – I am wealthy beyond imagining.

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

May you bring your abundant kindness and wisdom into today. May you lighten the hearts of the scared and despairing with your courage and good will to all mankind, and may you bring healthy, healing laughter to the stodgy, stingy, and staid. May you find hope and beauty in the good continually unfolding around you. May you make a new friend, find a new song, and leave behind something beautiful. Amen.

Go out there and work your magic!

Love, 
Karen

Happy solstice, everyone! “Let there be light!”

let there be light