About Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen's stories have appeared in *Newsweek*, *The Christian Science Monitor*, and *Pack and Paddle Magazine* and she's the author of *Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad*, "The Brush of Angel Wings*, *The Madcap Christian Scientist* series, *A Poem Sits on my Windowsill*, *Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom*, and co-author of *The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship*. Her photos are featured in the spring 2014 edition of the *Bellingham Review*, and the "Photos from the Field" page of the April/May 2017, December/January 2018-2019, and April/May 2019 issues of of *Mother Earth News*. Her photos can be found at fineartamerica.com. Her books can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Molenaar-Terrell/e/B0044P90RQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1312060042&sr=8-

Lessons from the Year of Insanity

Twelve years ago I went through a massive depression. I’d never gone through anything like that before. It was life-changing for me. At the time it felt like it was the most challenging thing I’d ever experienced. I didn’t like it so much. But now, looking back, I’m so grateful for that time in the “wilderness” – I learned so much from it!

Here are some of the lessons I learned during the Year of Insanity (excerpted from The Middle Book):
“I still have moments of loneliness, and I still have moments when I’m scared. But now I know enough to know these moments will eventually pass. I don’t give much thought to them. I’ve discovered it’s possible to be happy even during these times.”

“…I have found that there’s no way I can predict what form help and ‘salvation’ will take for me. I have found that, if I just keep my thought open to all the good…every moment, I’ll find everything I need to get me off my mental ‘island.”

“Right here, where I might see fear and anger and hate – in this exact same place and space, there’s another universe filled with incredible good – and I have a choice of which one I want to live in, and which one I want to see as ‘real.'”

“I think if all of mankind were able to recognize the good in themselves and in each other – I think this, alone, would transform our world.”

“Think back on the last four years of your life, my friend – become aware of all the things you would have missed if you’d given up on life four years ago: the new friends you would never have known; the sunsets and sunrises you wouldn’t have seen; the lessons you wouldn’t have learned; the changes you wouldn’t have been able to make; the pictures never painted; the photos never taken; the songs never sung; all the love and laughter that you would have denied yourself.”

middle book cover

Resting in Love

I went to bed fretting and frightened
imagining all kinds of doom
I read a little to settle my thoughts
and finally closed my eyes and slept

I awoke in the dark quiet early hours
surrounded by an all-knowing, loving
presence bigger than the sky – assuring
me of endless, eternal, infinite good

I started to get up – wanting to share this
moment with my FB friends – but then I
stopped, holding on to that moment for
myself, resting in Love a little longer
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

unchanging Love

“I Believe in Obeying the Laws of the Land”

To answer any questions folks might be having about how Christian Science churches are responding to government restrictions during this time of sheltering-in-place, I thought it might be helpful to bring in the words of the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: “Whatever changes come to this century or to any epoch, we may safely submit to the providence of God, to common justice, to the maintenance of individual rights, and to governmental usages…When Jesus was questioned concerning obedience to human law, he replied: ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ even while you ‘render to God the things that are God’s.’

“I believe in obeying the laws of the land.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellany (p 220)

 

No One “Deserves” to be Sick

No one “deserves” to be sick.

When I took my first trip to Europe in 1980 I was fascinated by the old buildings. Some of them were, like, 700 years old! (Where I live the oldest buildings are maybe 150 years old.) I remember wanting to get up next to them and touch them – feel the vibes of all the people who touched them before me in history.

While he was giving me a tour of historic old buildings, my Dutch friend told me that during The Black Plague the entries to villages were actually designed to keep the sick people out – the sick were left to wander without food or shelter or succor in-between the towns. They were left on their own, alone and shunned.

I remember thinking how grateful I was that our world had become more civilized since then.

Right after I got back from Europe the AIDS epidemic hit, and I saw that we maybe hadn’t become all that more civilized. I saw people being shunned again. Some preachers told their congregations that these people deserved to be sick, and deserved to die.

It was a terrible time.

And now we have this. I’m seeing a lot that is giving me hope for our world – I’m seeing people coming together in a way I’ve never witnessed to help each other. And I’m seeing some things, too, that make me realize we still have a ways to go.

NObody “deserves” to be sick. NObody “deserves” to die. No matter your politics or religion, your age or medical history, or errors in judgment – no one “deserves” sickness and death.

In reality, we are all God’s innocent children. There is no guilt attached to us – to any of us. Every moment we are fresh and new and uncontaminated. There is no disease that is more powerful than God’s love and grace.

You are Love’s precious child.

Cleaning During a Time of Quarantine

Cleaning During a Time of Quarantine

The cleaning started with the bedroom – I vacuumed, dusted,
filled five bags full of clothes to take to the thrift shop
when it opens again someday, and washed the curtains
so they glowed golden in the sunshine from bottom to top.

Next it was the cupboard in the family room – sorting
electronics, gizmos and gadgets, a springy door stop,
a weird stretchy thing for exercising, the sons’ old toys,
and treasure! – an old card with love from Moz and Pop.

Then the closet under the stairs – a file full of paperwork
that was important once, costumes, Thomas the Tank Engine
train set, baskets full of old magazines, and board games,
an old slide projector and carousel, winter clothing in bins.

And today I awoke slowly from a lovely afternoon nap
to see curtains glowing golden in the afternoon sunlight.
Who could have guessed to find such beauty and peace
in clean light-filled curtains – in that simple sight?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“O Life Divine, That Owns Each Waiting Hour”

I went for a drive – Scott had the news on and I felt the need to go into my mental “closet” and bring my thoughts close to the presence of Love. I pulled over to watch Mount Baker turn pink in the setting sun and a song from the Christian Science Hymnal came to me – “O Gentle Presence” (with words by Mary Baker Eddy). Here’s a link to my off-the-cuff rendition. Acapella here. No accompaniment. No back-up singers who can do the actual singing for me. 🙂 Just me. Probably off-key. No embellishment or anything. Thank you ahead of time for your kindness.

This line from “O Gentle Presence” especially resonates with me right now – “O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour” – I mean…think about that! God – Life, Truth, and Love – owns, manages, and governs EVERY hour – even the “waiting” ones. There is never a moment outside of Love’s control – never a moment not created by God. Those moments when we’re waiting to learn our loved ones are safe, when we’re waiting to hear the prognosis, when we’re waiting for the plane to land, or the tests to come back, or the quarantine to be lifted – God owns even THOSE moments. Whoah.
– Karen

 

Here are the lyrics to “O Gentle Presence”:

O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing to-night.
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.
O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.
Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
“Lo, I am with you alway,” — watch and pray.
No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven’s aftersmile earth’s tear-drops gain,
And mother finds her home and heavenly rest.
– by Mary Baker Eddy