Dad was in his bed, sleeping, when I entered his room. I leaned over and touched his forehead and he woke up.
Dad: (Smiling at me) … Nisqually Icefall…
Karen: Nisqually Icefall?
Dad: (Mumbling) Nisqually Icefall… I love you…
Dad: Did you take time off work to be here?
Dad: Oh! So you can be here to send us off on our climb!
Karen: Yes. You can go back to sleep now and rest for your climb.
Dad: (Nodding.) Okay. (Closing his eyes and going back to sleep.)
(Photo of Rainier by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
Had an interesting exchange with a man at the supermarket today. I was sitting on a bench, waiting for my husband, and a man came up and asked if he could join me. I said, “Absolutely! Have a seat!”
He talked about the rain. And then he said something about the mess the world is in. And THEN he said, “I’m a Christian and we believe the world is in the end times.”
I smiled at him and nodded. “I’m a Christian Scientist and we believe we should heal it,” I said.
And then my husband appeared. I smiled back at the nice man on the bench and went to join my spouse.
Or… The Beginning.
“There are people praying for the world to end. We don’t want to destroy the world – we want to heal it.”
– Harvey Wood (his words as remembered by me)
(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
I’m looking at the photo Scott took of me this morning for my campaign. I’m seeing a 63 year-old face looking back at me… and… here’s the really cool part for me – because I’m not sure I’ve felt this comfortable with myself before – I like the face that’s looking back at me. I like the wrinkles – the lines earned from laughing and squinting into the horizon. I like the way she’s looking at Scott – direct and engaged. I really like this person – wrinkles and all. Maybe especially the wrinkles. Oh, the stories those wrinkles could tell!
Yeah, I guess I was pretty once. I was young and strong and light and quick once. I had a body that could jump over a high jump and could take me up mountains and could climb trees and balance on a log over a river and give birth to children. And I’m glad for all that – grateful for that body and how hard it worked for me to get me where I am now.
But I’m okay with who I am right now, too. And isn’t that great?! 🙂
“As the physical and material, the transient sense of beauty fades, the radiance of Spirit should dawn upon the enraptured sense with bright and imperishable glories…Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
A friend recently asked me if I would post my thoughts about vaccinations. Here they are:
Because I’ve always identified myself as a Christian Scientist – and a lot of people think of Christian Scientists as “the ones who don’t go to doctors” – I’ve often been asked if I had my children vaccinated. The short answer is yes. (I’ve also had vaccinations myself – right after my oldest son was born I was vaccinated for rubella; I went in for a tetanus shot once when I fell kiester-first through a hole in the porch and snagged my legs on rusty nails as I was going down – I still crack up every time I think about that adventure – I am such a doof; and several years ago I voluntarily went to the doctor and got the pertussis vaccination to help alleviate the fears of the people around me when I began working at a high school during a time when pertussis was running rampant through my state. [As a youngster I had mumps, measles, and chicken pox – I was quickly healed of all of them – and a titer test later confirmed I carried the antibodies.])
When I took my sons in to be vaccinated I had to sign consent forms that listed a lot of possible side effects for the vaccinations, and I remember feeling frightened by what I read there. I did not sign those forms cavalierly – my sons are the most precious people in the world to me. As a Christian Scientist I used my understanding of God – of Love – to know that the vaccinations had no power to hurt my sons – that they were held safe in the arms of Love.
I should maybe add that I don’t believe God is some anthropomorphic being sitting in the clouds getting angry and throwing thunderbolts at Her children if we get vaccinated or whatever. The God I follow – Love, Truth, Life, Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit (synonyms Mary Baker Eddy gave for “God”) – isn’t concerned with that – Love is going to remain unchanging Love, and Truth is going to remain unchanging Truth, no matter what we do or think or believe.
“Where vaccination is compulsory, let your children be vaccinated, and see that your mind is in such a state that by your prayers vaccination will do the children no harm.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
Dad was in the shower when I arrived. I sat on his bed and waited for him, and he made his way through the door with his walker a few minutes later…
Karen: Hi, Daddy! How are you?
Dad: (Smiling) Wet. (Looking around his room.) I haven’t been in this place for a long time.
Karen: It’s so good to see you again! Scotty and I have been gone for a few weeks. We drove to Michigan. We just got back a couple hours ago. We saw the Devil’s Tower and The Badlands of South Dakota – have you ever seen The Badlands?
Dad: (Shaking his head.) No. I’ve never been there.
Karen: Do you want to go for a drive?
Dad: I’ve got a meeting tonight. I have a date to meet… (thinking) an elderly woman…
Karen: Oh. Okay. You want to go for a drive now, though?
Dad: (Nodding.) Yeah.
Amanda helps me load Dad into the car and we set out on another adventure. Before we’ve made it very far…
Dad: I’m going to need a milkshake.
Karen: I know just where to take you!
I drive Dad to Sisters Espresso where Dave Waka (by all accounts, a saint of a human being) left enough money for Dad to get shakes and floats for a very long time. I park in front of the espresso stand and Dad immediately recognizes it…
Karen: You want a vanilla shake?
Dad: (Nodding.) Yeah.
(I go up and get Dad his shake and myself a lavender green iced tea and bring them back to the car.)
Dad: (Sincerely.) Thank you.
I pull back onto the road.
Dad: Are your boys doing well?
Karen: They’re doing great!
Dad: How are Scott’s parents? Do they get out here much?
Karen: Scott’s mom is doing really well. Scotty’s dad died a few years ago.
Dad: Oh. (Thinking.) Scott’s father ?
Dad: I’m sorry. (Tearing up.) Scotty’s a good guy.
Karen: Yes, he is.
Dad: Are we going to your house now?
Karen: Sure! (I head for my home.)
Dad: Should we get a dog?
Karen: Do you want a dog?
(Dad doesn’t answer – he probably hasn’t heard me. We pull up in front of my house and I run in to fetch Scott. Scott comes out and chats with Dad for a while and then Dad and I get back on the road.)
We meander through the Bow area and at some point we stop so I can rescue one of my campaign signs from the blackberry vines – the vines have twined themselves all around the sign and look like they’re trying to consume it – I’m reminded of that plant in Little Shop of Horrors – “Feed me!” I tug the sign out of the bushes. Dad sees my sign then, and asks me if I won the election. I explain that I made it through the primary and am going to be in the general election in November.
Dad: Are you traveling nationally?
Karen: Oh! (I realize Dad is envisioning something far grander than what’s actually going on here.) No, this is just a local election.
Dad: (Nodding.) Oh. (Thinking.) Do you ever have meetings with the other farmers?
Karen: (Sometimes you’ve just got to go with it…) Yes!
Dad: Can you see Mount Rainier from here on a clear day?
Dad: (Just then Dad notices the top of Mount Baker above the hills and points to it…) Baker!
Dad: Are you enjoying your new job?
Karen: (I am newly-retired.) Yes, I am!
It’s time to get Dad home. I head towards Burlington and work my way through the round-about and stoplight towards his house. I pull up in front of his front door – but this time I come up the other side.
Dad: (Recognizing his home.) Oh! We usually come up to that other door.
Karen: Yeah, we do!
Dad: What are the names of these people?
Karen: Gwen and Amanda…
Dad: (Nodding and smiling with recognition.) That’s right!
I help Dad into the house and up the stairs and Amanda leads him to the dining room table. Dinner’s almost ready.
Karen: Thank you for the drive today, Daddy! I love you!
Dad: (Smiling.) Thank YOU!
*Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad* can be ordered through your favorite book store or ordered online through Amazon.
She has a spartan, stoic beauty – no cosmetics
no embellishment, nothing artificially enhanced
this is no diva
she dances a slow dance
at an appropriate arm’s length
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
As we drive by the sturdy old farmhouses
tucked into the folds of green Midwestern land
I feel the tug to appear on the front porch
of one of these homes and introduce myself
I imagine myself welcomed in, hugged,
fed hardy soup, tucked into a quilt made
by Grandma and ensconced next to one
of those old-fashioned heating radiators
gurgling with life as its pipes fill the rooms
with cozy warmth
And I suddenly have a yearning
for the comfort and reassurance
of my mother
– Karen Molenaar Terrell