Has no one ever told you who you are?!

Has no one ever told you
who you are?!
Jeepers.
You are the child of Truth!
The image and likeness
of Love itself!
You are AWESOME!!!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
– Kathryn Stockett

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another… We are made of starstuff”
– Carl Sagan

“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees or the stars;
you have a right to be here.”
– Max Ehrmann

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
– A.A. Milne

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them… And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
– Genesis 1

“In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry… Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

image and likeness of Love

(Heron skimming Lake Padden in Bellingham, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

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Sex and Stuff

Yeah. I know. That got your attention, right? 🙂

So those of you familiar with me know that I believe every citizen of this country should have the same rights as every other citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – and that includes the right to an education; the right to gainful employment; the right to serve your country; the right to live in a decent home in a decent neighborhood; and the right for consenting adults to marry and create lives together with the people they love.

I have never understood why allowing others to share in the same rights they have should be such a problem for some people.

Anyway.

So as I was reading the Christian Science Bible Lesson Sermon this morning I came upon a passage in the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy) that I don’t remember reading before – although I’m sure I must have (I’ve read Science and Health three or four times from cover-to-cover). Get this:

Mary Baker Eddy writes: “God determines the gender of His own ideas. Gender is mental, not material… Gender means simply kind or sort, and does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or femininity. ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 508)

Eddy writes: “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique.” (Science and Health, p 475)

And boom. Right there. As I was reading those passages I felt like I was having a conversation with Eddy about God and the nature of man, male and female. For me, what she had to write about gender clarified, and reinforced, my own thoughts about our gender identities. “God determines… Gender is mental… does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or feminity…”

I think we need to keep things in proportion, and I think sometimes we get so focused on the “sex” part of gender that we lose sight of the bigger, more important, part of peoples’ identities and lives – men and women as the expressions of Love. Eddy writes: “The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence, and to Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love. In divine Science, we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity. ” (Science and Health, p 517)

Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a higher tone through certain elements of the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength through masculine qualities. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness. Both sexes should be loving, pure, tender, and strong.
– Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

“These are the people who might save your life some day.”

Are you all seeing the images coming out of Texas? Blacks helping whites, whites helping blacks, puppies and children being cradled in the arms of heroes above the flood waters. It’s time to put away those Confederate flags and KKK hoods and move on already. Rejoice in your neighbors – whatever color skin they have, whatever their gender or sexual orientation or religion or non-religion. These are the people who might save your life some day. Amen and amen.

“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
– I Kings 19

God is Love. – I John 4

love-is-with-you

 

“Till Time and Space and Fear Are Naught”

“If Ban could restore himself to what he had been—withdrawing every atom of himself from any other time but the present— the crack in the cosmos would heal itself, like a force-bubble across a door or window. But it was impossible. He could not do it. There was only one thing he could do, which would have the same effect. He could repair the fabric of reality by not ever having been…

“Ban raged. It is not too bad a thing to die. All men face it sooner or later, and there is a secret knowledge which comes to every man at such moments. The knowledge is that it is not the end. But Ban was required to make a greater sacrifice than death. It was demanded of him that he surrender ever having been. He was required to embrace extinction…

“He remembered innumerable things, and now not one of them would ever have been real. Because he would never have been, and Urmuz would not teach him soldier-craft, nor his companions ever sing or drink with him, nor his father try to hide his pride in a swaggering son who would be Warden after him. These things would be worse than forgotten. They would never be thought of. They would go into that limbo of possible things from which so few ever emerge to become actual.”
– Murray Leinster, from Isaac Asimov’s 15 Short Stories

I just finished reading an anthology of short stories by Isaac Asimov. I was a huge Asimov fan in high school, but haven’t read him much since then –  it was really fun to connect with his writings again. The last story in the collection was written by Asimov and four other science fiction writers. The quote I copied above came from Murray Leinster’s contribution to the story.

His passage got me thinking.

I am at an age where I’m not as springy or light as I once was. Sometimes I think back nostalgically to the person I was in my physical prime – quick and strong and confident in my abilities to get up mountains and out of adventures gone awry. Sometimes I wish I had that body again.

But after I read Leinster’s passage in 15 Short Stories I had this moment of – whoaaah. If I could wish myself back in time to, say, the age of 24 or 25 – that would mean I would never meet my husband, and my sons would never be born. And if I wished myself back to, say, 40 and stayed there – my sons would never have the opportunity to grow up into the amazing young men they are.  If I had the power to stay at one age in one time forever – and never know my husband or sons or all the friends I’ve made afterwards – that would really stink.

And then it occurred to me (as I was still pretending I had the power to make time stand still) that by allowing ourselves to grow older we’re actually sacrificing our youth for our children – as they will sacrifice their youth for their children, and so on.

Of course, this is all from a strictly mortal, human perspective – and a science fiction one at that. We as humans don’t (yet) have control over time.

Here’s how the founder of Christian Science defines “time” in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

TIME. Mortal measurements; limits, in which are summed up all human acts, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge; matter; error; that which begins before, and continues after, what is termed death, until the mortal disappears and spiritual perfection appears.

Eddy writes: “One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity. This exalted view, obtained and retained when the Science of being is understood, would bridge over with life discerned spiritually the interval of death, and man would be in the full consciousness of his immortality and eternal harmony, where sin, sickness, and death are unknown. Time is a mortal thought, the divisor of which is the solar year. Eternity is God’s measurement of Soul-filled years.”

Whoah. I know. Cosmic, right?

Eternity in contrast to time. Now in contrast to past and future. One infinite moment filled with everything good in contrast to a ray with a starting point, moving one direction, divided into segments. There is a lot to think about there. 🙂 And I’m really hoping I have eternity to figure it out.

I climb, with joy, the heights of Mind,
To soar o’er time and space;
I yet shall know as I am known
And see Thee face to face.
Till time and space and fear are naught
My quest shall never cease,
Thy presence ever goes with me
And Thou dost give me peace.
– Violet Hay, Christian Science Hymnal

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(photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

 

 

Going Home

Rainier Myrtle Creek this one (2)

Really, I wouldn’t exist at all if not for Mount Rainier. That’s where my parents met. My mom was working as a cashier in the gift shop (around 1947) and my dad was working as a climbing guide when they met.

As a youngster a lot of my life was spent on the slopes of Mount Rainier – camping, hiking, scrambling around in the rocks – like my parents, I, too, ended up working there in the summers between my university years.  And, like my parents, I, too climbed to the summit (led by my dad, of course.)

My dad, Dee Molenaar, is well-known for his connection to Mount Rainier – he made a map of it, wrote a book about it (The Challenge of Rainier), painted it, and worked as a guide and park ranger on its slopes.

During the first half of my life, Mount Rainier was always there. When I married and moved to the northern part of Washington, she moved to the background – still a part of my life – but not the focus anymore.

***

My mom passed on six months ago. Last weekend my brothers, sons, husband, and I met at Mount Rainier to spend time together remembering Moz.

It was amazing to see The Mountain again – up close and personal. I started taking photos from the car as we were driving to the mountain – box store outlets and traffic signs in the lower part of the pictures – The Mountain massive above them.

Our friends, Rick and Jana, had offered us the use of their weekend rental home, The Jimmy Beech House,  for our time there.  Jimmy Beech had been a mountain pilot who flew tourists around Mount Rainier – and he and my parents had been good friends. Jimmy flew me in my first-ever airplane flight when I was a little girl. It was very cool to know I was staying on the spot of land where he’d lived.

On Saturday my husband, Scott, and my son, Xander, were the only ones there. We drove through the Paradise parking lot (which was hugely full) and down to Reflection Lakes for a hike up Mount Plummer. I felt like I’d come home. It was so good to be tromping around on the slopes of Rainier again. It was cloudy when we started out – we weren’t sure we were going to be able to see Rainier at all – but when we got near the top of Plummer I heard my son and husband both let out an exclamation. I turned around. A bank of clouds had parted and there was Rainier – right there in our faces. Huge and majestic -playing peek-a-boo with us.

Pictures from the Plummer Hike –

The next day my brothers and older son, Andrew, and our friend, Rick, joined Scott and Xander and me, and we made a Moz Memorial hike up to Alta Vista, above Paradise. Even as she got into her eighties Moz would hike this nob of rock – it was one of her favorite places. When I’d worked at Rainier I’d often hiked around these very hills before and after work. And there was the Paradise Inn – where both Moz and, later, I had sung to the guests on Saturday nights when we’d worked at Paradise.

Photos from Paradise and the Alta Vista hike –

Our last day at Rainier happened to coincide with the eclipse. My husband had prepared for this event by buying a special filter for his camera lens. We hiked a little ways down a trail from Paradise and just past Myrtle Falls, where Scott stationed himself and set up his camera for the eclipse.

At some point I felt Panorama Point calling to me. I told the men-folk I was going to hike a little ways down the trail – just to the top of that ridge there. But when I got to that ridge, I thought I needed to hike to that spot right down there, and once I got to that spot I figured – well, I should do the switchbacks up to the top of Mazama Ridge. This was the first hike I’d done solo on this trip – and there was something kind of freeing and luxurious about being by myself on “my” mountain for a little while.

When I got to the top of Mazama I started heading towards Panorama Point, but I’d only gone maybe a tenth of a mile when I realized – by looking through my eclipse glasses – that the eclipse was going to reach its fullest point soon – and I wanted to get back to the family before they started packing up and wondering where I was.

I felt the eclipse reach its zenith as I was coming down the switchbacks. The light dimmed and there was a kind of eerie quiet for a few minutes. It was very cool. I took out my eclipse glasses and saw that there was just a sliver of sun left. I started skipping down the trail – I felt light-footed and free – like I was a youngster again – while I was coming down. Maybe it was the eclipse. 🙂 Or maybe it was that I’d put on my sandals instead of my hiking shoes that day and my toes weren’t jamming into the fronts of my shoes.

I passed a couple hiking the other direction, Yonsin and Kathy, and asked them if they’d seen the eclipse. They said they didn’t have eclipse glasses – so I loaned them mine. I loved watching the looks on their faces as they were able to see what was going on up there. They thanked me and we shook hands, and they let me take their picture before we parted ways.

As I went past a Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. climbing party I had to stop and turn and ask, “Does anyone here know Dee Molenaar?”

The guide in the front stopped and turned around and asked, “Who did you say?”

“Dee Molenaar.”

“Dee Molenaar is my hero. He’s a legend up here.”

That made me grin. I love this connection I have via Dad to the mountaineers on Rainier. “I’m his daughter,” I said. “He’s 99 now. We were hoping we could bring him down here this trip, but it just didn’t work out this time.”

The guide told me to tell my father hello, and said he hoped to see Dad up here again before too long.

The trip felt complete to me then.

Here are some photos of the trail to Panorama Point –

“Spiritually interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
– Psalms 121