“In the end, it was actually my background in Christian Science that gave me the courage to get the vaccine.”
Several folks dear to me – family and friends – have asked me if I was planning to get the COVID vaccine. To those dear ones concerned about my well-being: I already got my first dose last week.
If you know me, you can probably imagine the thought that went into this decision. In the end I got the shot for my community – to help the people around me feel safe and comfortable, and to help alleviate any worries they might have for me. And I got the shot so I could travel and be with my friends and family without the guilt and responsibility I might feel if I didn’t get the shot.
I had to address a lot of fear in my thoughts before I got the vaccine. To be honest, I was more scared of the vaccine than the virus. I’ve always been less than enthused about getting vaccines – and not because I’m a Christian Scientist (pfft) – but because I’ve had this belief that my body was designed to heal itself naturally and I didn’t want to interfere with that “healing process.” In the end, it was actually my background in Christian Science that gave me the courage to get the vaccine. As I was thinking about my fears, metaphysically, it came to me that it made no sense to think it’s unnatural to put humanly-made vaccines in my body, but to accept the virus as “natural.” Metaphysically, none of it is natural, and none of it can touch my real, spiritual identity as the expression, idea, reflection, image, likeness, manifestation, and child of Love and Truth. I am safe in God. We all are hid safely in our Father-Mother.
So. There you have it. My second vaccine is scheduled in a couple weeks. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“The temporal and unreal never touch the eternal and real.” – Mary Baker Eddy
“Let not your heart be troubled…” – John 14
“Your life is hid with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” – Matthew 22:21
“Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself.” – Mary Baker Eddy
He was waiting outside the store when I came out with my groceries and I said hi. He smiled and said hi back. Give and take. Who taught him to smile? Who taught me?
I started to wheel my cart to my car mentally scrolling through my shopping list to see if I had anything to share with him. Tangerines! I rolled my cart back towards him. You want an orange? Sure! Can you catch it? Yeah! And he smiled at the idea of a game of catch. I tossed. He caught. Who taught me how to throw? Who taught him how to catch? My dad? His dad? And now our dads are connected in our give and take.
As Scott drove west, a train engine went west in reverse. Our car passed the train as the engineer sat facing me and I smiled across the tracks at him and he smiled and waved back to me. I caught his wave and returned it. Who taught him how to wave? Who taught me? All the cosmos connected in a giant give and take. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.
On Wednesday my husband and I will celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.
You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing the just right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue for her “big day” – those shows where every minute detail of the wedding production is analyzed, critiqued, and judged for its merits on visual perfection? Where the ceremony is somber and refined and the highlight of the whole shebang is the dress the bride wears?
Yeah. That wasn’t us.
My engagement ring was a little garnet ring I picked out from a small jewelry shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and the man who sold it to us was cheerfully, flamboyantly, hilariously gay – he had us cracking up the minute we walked into his shop. My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on from the sales rack at our local Bon Marche. Cost me $120. Our minister was a hoot – we’d met with him for a required counseling session, and when he told us that anything he had to say to us would be pretty much useless at this point – because it’s really only AFTER the wedding that the bride and groom realize what they’ve gotten themselves into (we later learned that he’d just recently been divorced), we immediately recognized the man had a sense of humor, and he was, for sure, the minister we wanted officiating our nuptials.
The wedding was a joyful, light-hearted affair in a small Methodist church in Gig Harbor – I remember the minister asking us if we really wanted to hold the service in his church – it was very small – could maybe hold 100 people – and very old (it’s since been torn down and a larger church built in a different location) – but, for our purposes, that little church was perfect – I liked the cozy smallness of it and the stained glass windows – and from the church’s steps we could look out across the water and see Mount Rainier rising above the hills in the distance. The wedding itself was simple, joyful, and natural. We weren’t too concerned with “perfection” – we just wanted our guests to feel comfortable and loved. The reception was held in my parents’ backyard – with the sound of laughter, and the smell of daffodils and plum blossoms, filling the air. And we played volleyball in the pasture – the groom’s team won, but it was a close game.
The minister came to the reception, and fit right in with our hooligan families and friends. Before he left he told us that sometimes he’s really worried about the future of the newlyweds he marries – they often seem more concerned about the wedding than the actual marriage – but, after watching us yukking it up with our families and friends, he felt good about being a part of our ceremony. He knew we were going to be alright. We knew how to laugh.
When I think about that day, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny other people the right to a wedding, and to a life-long commitment in marriage with the partner they love. I can’t understand why any heterosexual couple would feel their own marriage is threatened by giving everyone else the same rights that they have. I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.” – from the chapter titled ‘Marriage’ in Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesby Mary Baker Eddy
I want to take a break, I said. Can I step out of life for a moment, or maybe stay in bed? Can things go on without me? Can you just pretend I’m not here? For life is a messy business and I’m tired and I’m weary I’ve made too many mistakes to count today And I’d like to not make anymore, not any.
And the still small voice reached into my thought – gentle, peaceable benediction – “All the good you seek and all that you’ve sought you can claim right now – and that’s no fiction – for Love is yours to express, to feel, and to be – you are wealthy beyond description. Nothing else matters, there’s no other power no warring opinions, no need to cower You are loved and you’re loving and that’s all there is to it Love’s loving child, and there’s nothing else but loving, simply nothing.” – Karen Molenaar Terrell, A Poem Lives on My Windowsill
I’m feeling sad tonight. Discouraged and sad. And it’s okay to feel that way. It’s okay to feel bad. Sometimes I just have to sit in it, you know? Just let myself feel what I feel and learn what I need to learn, and grow. There’s no battle I need to win here, nothing to overcome, no other place I need to go, but right where I am. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
I have been a lot of people in my life – I’ve been the daughter, the sister, the wife, mother, grey-haired lady, and young lass. I was once the littlest girl in my class – thought too skinny by some who couldn’t see that playing was more fun than eating. I won the blue ribbon for the broad jump and the dash in fourth grade. I was the queen of multiplication tables in the fifth grade, and in sixth grade my teacher said I “ran like a deer.”
I was the new girl in school that year and someone wrote “brainbucket sits here” on my desk. Then I was the nerdy girl in black frame glasses who weighed more than 100 pounds and thought she was fat and my eighth grade PE teacher said, “We finally found something you’re good at” when I was always the last one standing in the volleyball elimination games – she didn’t see that I ran like a deer.
I was shy in high school, but some people thought I was a snob – I saw myself as an unmemorable blob. I was Karen when Karen Valentine was everyone’s favorite ingénue and I was Karen when it meant something else, too.
I’ve been chubby, pretty, plain, dazzling, athletic, awkward, confident, insecure, dull, creative, boring, funny, judgmental, self-centered, open-minded, and generous. And I guess “I” am still all of those things – depending on who’s looking at me.
But the I who’s not in quotation marks is what God, Love, sees when She looks at me. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
The winds blew across the bay – creating stretch marks on its surface – and great cleansing gusts blew through me, too – rowdy and playful – forcing me from thoughts of the thens and fears of the tomorrows and pushing me instantly into the now of doing what I could to not blow away. Putting everything in perspective for me again.
There is no problem too big it can’t be solved. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
Photo of Bellingham Bay Boardwalk by Karen Molenaar Terrell.
Years ago an old boyfriend said to me, “I can’t see that Christian Science has made you any better than anyone else.”
“I know!” I said, nodding my head in complete and happy agreement, “But can you imagine what I’d be like without it?!”
He raised his eyebrows and laughed. What could he say? He was looking at a self-centered, moralistic, stubborn idealist who saw everything in terms of black and white. But I could have been worse. I believe without Christian Science I would have been worse.
Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I am not the best example of a Christian Scientist. I’m not as disciplined as I could be. I have fears and worries and doubts. I’m a little neurotic. I am the Lucy Ricardo of Christian Scientists.
I should probably put in a disclaimer here, too—the views expressed in these pages are not necessarily the views shared by other Christian Scientists. Christian Scientists are really a pretty diverse group of people—there are Democrat Christian Scientists and Republican Christian Scientists, “Green,” and “Red,” and “Blue” Christian Scientists, and Christian Scientists with no political affiliations at all. Frankly, I like that about us. We keep each other on our toes.
I should also tell you that this book is not an authorized piece of Christian Science literature. If you want to actually study Christian Science you should probably read the textbook for this way of life, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
My purpose for writing this epistle is really two-fold (I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “two-fold” in my life, and using it now is making me feel sort of professorial. I like the feeling.):
First-foldly, to introduce you to one Christian Scientist so that if you ever hear someone talking fearfully and ignorantly (feargnorantly?) about Christian Scientists you’ll be in a position to say, “I have a friend who’s a Christian Scientist, and, although it’s true she’s a bit of a nut, she’s also…” and you can go on and talk about how your friend has used her study of Christian Science to try to make the world a happier place.
Second-foldly, I feel the need to acknowledge God’s blessings in my life. I don’t want to be like those nine lepers in the Bible who couldn’t take the time to thank Jesus for healing them. I want to be like that one leper who “fell down on his face at his feet” before Jesus and gave him thanks (Luke 17). Through my study of Christian Science I’ve witnessed some incredible proofs of our Father-Mother God’s love for Her creation in my life. God has filled my life with infinite blessings and it’s time for me to acknowledge these blessings to others. -Karen Molenaar Terrell