Black Lives Matter Rally in Burlington, WA

I’m so glad I could be a part of the Black Lives Matter rally today. I ran into some of my favorite people: the Templetons, Bailey, Summer, Charles, and Pam. I cried (The “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant especially got to me). I laughed (when one guy gave us the finger – I pointed to my sign – “TRUTH JUSTICE KINDNESS” – and wondered what part of this he had a problem with). I waved to the people passing in cars – the support from the people in their cars really inspired me – there were a lot of thumbs up and there were a lot of horns being honked. At one point Salvation Army volunteers came through with a wagon of free water and snacks for the protesters – that was cool. As I was leaving I stopped to thank the police officers for coming and giving us their support and that’s when I saw Iris was there, too – she was chatting with the officers – and they all let me take their photo. There were also a few guys with assault rifles and whatnot standing off to the side in a clump. Not sure what they were all about – but I took their pictures, too.

So Grateful I Was Raised by These People

Missing Dad and Moz today, but so glad they’re not here to see what’s happening to our poor country.

I spent an hour today driving around to the places Dad and I used to go on our drives together – feeling the echo of his presence still there, talking to me. I had a flashback of a time when a young black man in a hoodie stopped to open the door for Dad, and I remember how Dad took the time to stop and thank him before he went into the building. It was a brief exchange – very quick – but the power of the brotherly love I felt being exchanged between Dad and the young man is still with me.

Thinking of Moz and imagining her shaking with indignation and anger at the injustice and racism we’re seeing – just as she did when I was a little girl and we encountered a racist at the Sears store. The man had nodded his head towards a little black family and said they should be shopping in their own store. When Moz understood what he was saying she was furious – “They have as much right to be here as you or me!” she told him, trembling with rage. The man realized, then, who he was dealing with in Moz and got all red in the face and scurried away. That was a moment I will never forget – it had a huge impact on me. I remember feeling very proud to be Moz’s daughter.

I remember how Moz and Dad celebrated the night Obama got elected – they were both so happy. Dad said he never thought he’d live long enough to see an African-American in the White House – his whole face was lit up with pride in his country. Moz had tears in her eyes with the joy she felt that night.

I’m so grateful I was raised by these people – so grateful I was brought up to see beyond the color of someone’s skin to what was in the heart of people. My parents gave me a kind of freedom with that.

Here’s Moz in her Obama hat. 

This picture of my mom, wearing her Obama cap, always puts a grin on my face.

The REAL Trickle Down

The REAL Trickle Down

I doubt we’ll ever see money, wealth, and riches
trickling down from the top to the bottom –
strangely, wealth always seems to get stuck at the top.
But there’s other stuff that trickles down –
stuff I pray will stop. When a leader fans the fires
and gets the hatred burning, and uses fear and lies
– I feel a real yearning for a future that holds
wisdom, love, and understanding – a future with
a fountain of hope at the top – cascading joy
and peace, and creating a rainbow of beauty
on its way down to the base.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Rainbow Over Padilla Bay

How do you argue with Love?

You can’t argue with Love.
There’s nothing in Love to insult, offend or attack.
There’s nothing in Love to be hurt or to hit back.
Love doesn’t see skin color – not white or black.
Love fills all space – and that’s a fact.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Of Pea Soup and Spinning Heads

(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?

Spinning heads and pea soup, be gone!

A Lesson from Cows

Enclosed in man’s fences
ears numbered and tagged
their bodies may be owned
by humans (as some humans
might brag) –
but the fences and tags
can’t heed the flow
of Soul, put boundaries
on Love. Still they know
Love, still they show
Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Cow photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Gift from a Mormon Friend

Like many of you, I have been spending time in COVID-19 lockdown going through old boxes and bins, sorting and cleaning and trying to bring some order to the accumulation of decades. And, again probably like many of you, I have found treasures in the boxes and bins.

One of the treasures I found this week was the inscription that a friend wrote to me in a copy of The Book of Mormon that she gave me. My friend, Mary, had been a teaching colleague and my sons’ elementary school music teacher. She was an extraordinary music teacher – but beyond her skills and talents as a music teacher, Mary was one of the most kind and loving people I have ever known. She radiated joy and warmth.

Mary was (and still is) a Mormon (LDS) and her religion is an important part of who she is. When she entrusted me with a copy of The Book of Mormon, I felt really honored and privileged by her gesture. I made an effort to read the book when she first gave it to me, but, for whatever reason, I was never able to get very far into it. Her inscription in the book meant a lot to me, though. The inscription came from a place of love – and, for me, it was the most important part of her gift. Mary wrote:
Dear Karen (and family)
While working with you at Edison School I have come to love and appreciate you for the special person you are.

I tried to think what I might give you to show my appreciation for our friendship. This book is the most precious thing I could think of…

I so appreciate Mary’s courage in giving me a book that meant so much to her. I think she is a wonderful representative of her beliefs and faith.

I enjoy learning how other people see the world. I enjoy seeing other perspectives. I’ve never been one of those people who felt the need for everyone else to believe exactly as I believe about stuff. I figure, in the end, no matter what path we take, we’re all going to end up in the same place, anyway – living in Love.

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”
– Kurt Vonnegut