I Exist for Love

I was made by Love
Made for Love
Made to do the will of Love
and to fulfill Love’s purpose
That is why I’m here
and when I realize that
it changes EVERYTHING
In an instant everything shifts –
my thoughts take wing
I feel them lift and join with
something bigger than me
and it’s no longer about my
desires, my wants, my
complaints big and small.
None of that matters at all.
I exist for Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

love-hath-made

The Beginning Times

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.

The End.

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.)

moonrise over baker maybe this one also 2 really

“Cool! What is that?”

“The weapons of bigotry, ignorance, envy, fall before an honest heart.” 
– Mary Baker Eddy

I didn’t usually tell people right away – and certainly not the men I dated. I always thought it was better if they got to know me first as a human being. Sometimes it took months for me to tell my friends. Sometimes years. Sometimes the moment never came. I have friends who maybe STILL don’t know. After a number of early experiences, I’d come to the realization that some people would see me differently as soon as they found out. In the past I’d had all kinds of labels attached to me that weren’t really me – I’d been instantly lumped in with fundamentalists and creationists; with people who speak in tongues and handle snakes; with dominionists and faith healers and fire-and-brimstone folks. When one friend – who’d known me for years – finally found out, she’d asked me if I would just leave her bleeding and injured on a sidewalk if she was hit by a car. Which. What…?!

So I guess it says something about Scott that I told him on our first date. I no longer remember how the subject came up, but I found myself saying, “I’m a Christian Scientist.” I guess I half-expected an awkward pause after my reveal, but Scott quickly responded with, “Oh! That’s cool.” Then he glanced over at me, and asked, “What’s that?” 🙂

Turns out he’d never heard of Christian Science! And that was AWESOME – it meant I could explain what it was all about from my own perspective, without any preconceived ideas on his part. I can’t remember now exactly what I said – I probably talked about the Christian Science idea of God as the power and presence of Love; I probably talked about how I had experienced healings in my life by drawing my thoughts close to this power of Love.  And as I talked he listened and nodded and accepted me. He shared some of his own thoughts about God – he’d been raised in the United Methodist tradition of New England and he, too, had been raised to believe in a loving God who cared for His children. He understood the beliefs I was describing, and accepted me as “me” right away.

Scott and I have never had a need to “convert” each other – to try to make each other hold the exact same religious beliefs. If asked, he’d probably still say he was a Methodist. If asked, I’d probably still say I was a Christian Scientist. But beyond religion, we share the same values – we both believe in the power of kindness. We both believe we should be generous to those in need; fair and honest in our dealings with others; and protective of our natural environment. We both believe we shouldn’t be quick to make judgments about others.

It’s been thirty-six years now since I  had that first conversation with Scott. Through all that time he’s continued to be supportive of me and my practice of Christian Science. I am so grateful for him, and for people like him – people who approach others with open minds and hearts – ready to listen and share and learn from each other – people able to go past stereotypes and see the individuals behind the labels.

what people think I do

The Cosmos Couldn’t Have Picked a Better Tool

The cosmos couldn’t have
picked a better tool
to rouse her people
from their slumbers
a caricature of a fool –
word-lazy money-crazy
who’d

unite all thinking folks
of every gender and race
against a common foe
and brace each one
to pick up the pace
and move past  color,

sex, religion and non-
religion, political party,
and geographic location,
to save the earth, save
the ocean – can’t be tardy
to revive the notion that

everyone matters – not
just the rich, nor the white,
not just the”Christians”
or reality stars, or corporate
bigwigs – time to do what’s right
for the rest of of the folks, too.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

light in the forest

Lake Padden Forest (Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

 

We Forgive

“…old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
II Corinthians 5: 17

We forgive because
we no longer need the pain.
We forgive because
good is all that we gained.
We forgive because
love is all that remains.

Struggling to forgive old sleights and slingshotting
words sent to us, and sent by us, too, guilt
and hurt having a heyday in our hearts.
But how do we let go of the memories of mean
-ness and the bullying of those years when
we were the targets, the receivers (or givers?)
of hate? How do we let go, move on, forgive?

“…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…”
Can we really start new? How…?
Accepting all the good that comes from being
the target of envy, bigotry, hate – the strength
and confidence and empathy that comes
from surviving the bitter times – accepting
the healing, means an acknowledgement
that the rest is done and over. It served its
purpose. Judas to Jesus: It brought our
ascension. Led us to better times. Hate’s job
is done now – a cheap plastic toy from our
childhood – we put it down and move on –
no longer interested.

“…old things are passed away; behold,
all things are become new.”

We forgive because
we no longer need the pain.
We forgive because
good is all that we gained.
We forgive because
love is all that remains.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Love Hath Made

Sunset over flooded fields in Skagit County, Washington State. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

 

 

“I was a stranger, and ye took me in…”

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
– Mark 25: 35-40

***

Have I ever mentioned that I am the descendant of illegal immigrants? Yup. When my grandfather and his brother immigrated here from The Netherlands they were supposed to each have $20 in their pockets to get into the country. They only had one $20 bill between them – so when they passed through the line at Ellis Island the first one held up the $20 bill and then under-passed it to the one behind him who, in turn, held up the same bill. Those two hooligans should never have been allowed in this country. And, I shouldn’t really be here, either, I guess. Or half of me shouldn’t. Half of me should probably be shipped back to Amsterdam, home of my hooligan grampa.

That might be kind of messy, though. And I’m not sure how, exactly, they’d decide which half of me to send back.

My other half is descended from people who immigrated from a German colony along the Volga River in Russia. And also Basque reptile aliens. I’m pretty sure. (My mom has rh negative blood which – according to highly scientific research I googled :) – seems to indicate she has a Basque reptile alien somewhere in her background. Yeah. As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited about this.)

We are all immigrants in the United States, aren’t we?  I mean, human life did not start here – everyone immigrated from somewhere else.  It’s believed the first immigrants crossed the Bering land bridge from Asia to Alaska and then worked their way down through North and South America. Then came the Vikings, Columbus, the Mayflower, the Dutch, Spanish, and French, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans, slaves from Africa, the Irish and Chinese, the Japanese, immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, refugees from southeast Asia, immigrants from India and the Middle East… and all of these immigrants – with the exception of those who were forced here on slave ships from Africa – have one very important thing in common: They came here in search of a better life.

Are the newest immigrants to our country really so much different than the first immigrants? The newest immigrants, too, are looking for a better life for themselves and their families – looking for work, education, religious and political freedom.

Why would any of us – descendants of immigrants ourselves – want to deny others the same opportunities we and our ancestors had?

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
– Emma Lazarus

Communing with Love

We went to church today. It had been a while. It felt good to be back among my church family again. I looked around at the faces there – all of them dear and familiar to me – and realized that, of all the people sitting there, I was one of the people who had been attending this church the longest – almost 33 years. I began remembering, then, all the beautiful people I’d met in this edifice. A parade of precious faces from the past went by my inner vision. Gordo and Babs. Gordon and Jane. Another Jane and her three beautiful daughters. Sue. Laurie. Sabra and Dave. Darlene and Elliot, John and Linda and Becky and another Linda and a Zach. Mary and Serena and Jennifer and two Walts and a couple of Dons. Magnolia and Connie and Win and Bob.  The Tall Family. Jack and Anne. Geraldine. Marcie. Shirley. Merrle! All of them had played a part in my spiritual journey – nurtured and cultivated the good in me, and shared their inspiration with me. I felt filled with gratitude for each and every one of them – fellow adventurers and explorers and pioneers.

That final scene from Places in the Heart came to my thoughts – that scene where the camera pans down the pews in the church as the characters in the story drink from a communal cup – passing it from person-to-person – and we realize that the characters who died during the movie are sitting there, too, sharing in the cup. And we realize that the people who had battled with each other during the movie are also sharing in the cup. We see forgiveness. We see fellowship. We see love.

We don’t, literally, pass around a cup or eat wafers in the Christian Science church. But we do commune with Love. We do share in the atonement, the at-one-ment, with Love. And there have sure been some wonderful church friends sharing in that atonement with me.

“Atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love.”
– Mary Baker Eddy