It just hit me. In the past when I wrote a “Madcap Christian Scientist” book, my mom was one of the first people I’d share it with. She was my biggest fan. And, just now, for a moment, I forgot she was gone, and I thought: I need to give Moz a copy of this. And then I remembered.
It would be a spectacular understatement to say that there have been some new developments since my last Madcap Christian Scientist book, The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New, published in 2014. Since that book, my parents moved from their home of 48 years; my mom died; my dad died; friends died; pets died; I retired; the world experienced a pandemic; my country survived an insurrection; new pets arrived; the sons found life-partners and had pandemic weddings; and we have a new grandchild on the way. For example.
And through all the “new developments” I have felt Love with me – guiding and directing me, comforting me, and connecting me to my fellow passengers on this boat of life as we forge our way through high waves.
So I was driving through the countryside this morning and I had Allison Krauss playing on my CD player, and her version of “I Will” came on – I always find her banjo-happy version of that song so uplifting – and I was just filled with such joy. A couple of songs later, her song, “In the Palm of Your Hand,” started playing – and I found myself crying with the pure beauty of the words and music.
I’d been working through some fears – the fear of aging, chiefly, and all that comes with aging – the fear of losing our natural immunities and protection as we grow older, the fear of getting worn down and “vulnerable” to disease and whatnot. (This is something that we’ve all had pounded into us constantly since 2020.) And the thought came to me that more solar years don’t somehow put a greater distance between me and God, Love. More years aren’t like more bricks in a wall between me and Love. The further I move from my human birth doesn’t move me further away from Love. Love is right here, right now, wherever I am and however many solar years I’ve lived through – and my Father-Mother, Love, still sees me as Her precious child.
And then I started thinking about a trip I was taking out of state soon, and the thought came to me – “I better stay healthy, because I’m not sure health inurance works when a person is out of state.” And, immediately, that thought was countered with, “No worries. Crossing a state border isn’t going to separate me from God, Love.”
Allison Krauss’s music just seemed to confirm all of that for me this morning. I imagine God saying, “Who knows how long I’ve loved you? You know I love you still…”
I put a dime in the traffic meter and bought myself four minutes. And I thought what could I do with my four minutes? If I could pay a dime for four minutes in past time – what four minutes would I bring back for myself? Four minutes with Mom and Dad? Four minutes with the sons? Maybe everyone together around the Thanksgiving table for four minutes more?
I put a dime in the traffic meter and bought myself four minutes. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Reworked from a post originally published in 2014.) I’ve never seen The Exorcist, but I have seen that scene with the pea soup and the spinning head – and lately I’ve seemed to encounter a lot of what I would put in the “pea soup and spinning head” category. There have been times, recently, when personalities have seemed to spin themselves out of alignment with the individuals they really are, spewing out all kinds of hell – anger, frustration, jealousy, fear, revenge, hatred, finger-pointing. And I’m embarrassed to say that on at least a couple occasions recently I myself was the spewer – feeling really angry and hurt about someone I felt had treated me unfairly.
It none of it felt good.
But then I came across yet another spewing-spinner on a discussion board, and found myself just stepping back and kind of observing in interested fascination as the pea soup flew and the vitriol sprayed. The pea soup and vitriol had been intended for me, but they were so over-the-top and spewed so high in the air that it simply erupted above the spewer’s head and ended up landing back on her. It didn’t touch me at all. And, standing there on the outside of the mess, it became really clear to me that the spinning-spewing personality was not at all the real individuality of my fellow poster. It was obvious that what I had just witnessed was nothing but a spinning-spewing counterfeit of the real man and woman, made in God’s likeness – made in the likeness of Love. And it also became clear to me that I had no desire or need to spend my time engaged in conversation with a counterfeit. I was able to step back and move on and find other interesting dialogues that better served me. I didn’t give the counterfeit the power to push me OUT of a space where I belonged, and nor did I give the counterfeit the power to pull me INTO a space where I didn’t belong. I didn’t have to react or respond to the counterfeit at all.
This encounter with the counterfeit poster helped me come to terms with my feelings of anger and wish for vengeance towards the personality who had treated me so poorly in the past. I had to recognize that the real man is the child of God – that God loves him no less than he loves me – and that God is instructing him, and leading him down his own path in life, with its own lessons waiting for him. And none of that is any of my business.
My business is keeping watch on my own thoughts and actions. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, – to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”
As Paul says, we all must work out our “own salvation.” It’s rewarding work. It’s satisfying work. And it’s also enough work to fill my moments and my days for eternity. Who has time to worry about working out someone ELSE’s flaws and foibles, when I have enough of my own to worry about?
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, does talk about the power of our thoughts on our experience (“Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupation of your thoughts…”) – but, I think – for me, anyway – the goal in Christian Science is a little different than the goal in “New Thought.”
Although Christian Science has sometimes been viewed as a “prosperity gospel” by people outside of it, that’s not what Christian Science is, for me. For me, Christian Science isn’t all about the “end product” – it’s not about if you meditate the right way you’ll get this this, or if you have enough faith you’ll get that – it’s more about how to live my life in every moment – not for what I’ll get at the end – but to recognize the reality of the universe and God – to recognize the good that is already here, everywhere, always – and to recognize my place in that. So it’s an active knowing and being and doing. It’s actively applying what I know and understand about Love and Truth (God) to bring me into my at-one-ment with Love and Truth.
I’m not using my mortal mind to change my situation – I’m endeavoring to draw close to the one Mind – to the thoughts of Mind Itself. Mary Baker Eddy defines “angels” as “God’s thoughts passing to man…” and I believe that’s where the healing, transforming power comes from – it comes from the thoughts of God, not from the thoughts of mortal minds. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
What a gift of a day! I drove into Mount Vernon to run some errands and to see how the downtown was preparing for the up-coming tulip festival.
I bought a mocha at the co-op and took it up to the river waterfront to soak up the sunshine while I sipped it.
A man holding hands with a toddler was enjoying the sunshine by the riverfront, too. We smiled at each other, and I smiled at the tot – remembering my own sons at that age. Pretty soon the man approached me and opened conversation. He introduced himself as Serge. He said he was from Ukraine, and that his wife and son had just joined him in America at the end of December. He said his wife and son, Daniel, didn’t speak English, yet – but I could tell as I watched Daniel watching me, that it wouldn’t be long before the little one was fluent. The tot was shy with me at first – and maybe a little scared – but he warmed up to me and, eventually, smiled back at me – and that was magic! Serge said that when Daniel saw planes flying overhead it scared him – because of his experience with the war – but that Daniel was getting more comfortable with planes now. Serge’s wife joined him then and smiled and waved. I welcomed her to America – and Serge translated my words for her. They left then, to wander some more in the sunshine. I was so glad I had a chance to connect with them today.
I walked back down to First Street – cupcakes from Shambala Bakery on my mind. As I shambled towards Shambala I saw a woman put a blanket over a man who was sleeping on the sidewalk. That really touched me. I asked her if the man was alright, and she said yes, but that she feels the need to care for people – and she felt he needed a blanket. I found myself tearing up at her kindness. I felt a kinship with this woman – who I learned was named Jody – and we gave each other a parting hug before I continued on my cupcake mission.
I opened the door to the bakery and hopped to the the case full of cupcakes. So many cupcakes! How to choose?! I decided I’d get the one with banana frosting for my husband, and get myself an orange cupcake. Then I asked the sales person what her favorite was – and she pointed to the chocolate ones with raspberry frosting – so I decided to get one of those instead of the cupcake with banana frosting.
I left with my cupcake loot, and hadn’t gotten very far when I came upon a young man standing on the sidewalk, surrounded by baggage. I asked him if he was hungry, and he said yes. I asked him if he’d like an orange cupcake – and he said that sounded great, thank you. So I gave him the orange cupcake – I’m so glad I had something to give him! – and then went back to the bakery to fetch myself another one.
When I got home from my trip to Mount Vernon, I wasn’t ready to go inside, yet. I pulled a weed. Then another. Then I grabbed the garden claw and settled in for some major buttercup pulling. It felt good to feel the soft earth around my hands. When I was done with that little patch of garden, I pulled out our electric lawn mower and mowed the front yard. The grass was all shiny and green. I breathed in the spring smells and felt the warmth of the sunshine on my face.
A remarkable group of women came together last night and laughed and sang, shared inspiration and “broke bread” together. There were poems and one-liners, songs of hope, and a feast for the stomach and soul.
Ann shared a poem by James Crews called “Tenderness”: You know how a half-buried stone in the yard will clear all the snow from around itself, little by little, leaving only a hollow of warmth and a cushion of moss you want to rest on, until winter finally ends? That’s how tenderness works in us, some heat rising up from beneath, then spreading outward to touch the lives of anyone who comes near – slowly, softly, making a safe place for them to stand in, melting away the coldness that gathers around us.
Carmen shared the prayer of Saint Francis of Assissi: “O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.”
Rebecca shared a poem by Clarissa Pinkola Estes called “How to Silence a Woman.” Here’s an excerpt: When someone says, “Your ideas are dangerous.” Say, “Yes, my ideas are dangerous, and why are you so afraid hombre o mjure?”
When it is said, “It’s just not done.” Say, “It will be done.”
When it is said, “It is immature.” Say, “All life begins small and must be allowed to grow.”
When it is said, “It’s not thought out.” Say, “It is well thought out.”
When they say, “You’re over-reacting.” Say, “You’re under-reacting, vato.”
Rosemary and Deidre shared the beauty and opportunities of the transitions they find themselves in, and all they’re learning from these transitions. Claudia was asked about her work on “The Kindness Project,” creating the label of “The Kindness Town” for her town of Edison. Peggy passed out the inspirational hand-woven “HOPE” tapestries that she creates on her loom. Bev shared the poem by Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”: “…Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
And the amazing Tracy Spring moved us to tears with the beauty of her songs: “Little Rock in the River,” “Love Doesn’t Care Who You Love,” “Walls Come Tumblin’ Down, ” and TR Ritchie’s song, “Somewhere to Begin.”
It was a wonderful evening with talented and inspiring women. I really needed this.
Here’s the poem I shared:
I wake and feel Life quivering around me and through me. The presence of Love is here and I am within the presence, connected to the Cosmic Body. Not a “Borg” body – not a matter-body of computer chips and nanoprobes – but the Body of Spirit, the Body of Love.
Faces pass in front of my vision – loved ones who’ve died and loved ones who are with me, here. And I’m connected to all of them still – not separated by time or space or place in this Body of Love,
I feel Earth breathing through my window smell her sweet breath of dew and life and know she is embodied in God’s body, too, and we are connected – all of God’s creatures and I.
We are nothing less than the perfection of Love. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
How freeing it is to be able to see my own pettiness, insecurities, vanity – helping me forgive others their egos in uncovering my own, helping me let go of the burden of trying to look perfect. -Karen Molenaar Terrell