I Can Live in Now

I discovered something the other day –
I was sitting in a cranky, put-upon place
stewing in my own impatience –
and then – I shut it off. Put it behind me.
The troubles from the moment before
were no longer relevant to me.
And a laughing lightness –
a joyful presence – just wrapped itself
around me in a happy hug and –
instantly! – I felt whole and free
and at peace with the world.
I discovered I can let go of then.
I discovered I can live in now.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

May: Sunrise over Skagit County, WA

Sam the Wonder Dog

I expect to see her at the door
tail wagging
on our walks
nostrils quivering
one paw raised mid-stride
nose covered in dirt
from her latest hole
unaware of her own beauty
sleek and shiny as a black panther,
but goofy as a Disney character
exhausting
exuberant
extraordinary
friendlly, fetching frisbees and finding –
like magic! –
every tennis ball that ever landed off a trail.
It was a gift she had.
Her first night with us she ate a chunk
out of our ottoman – which we will now call
“The Samantha Terrell Memorial Ottoman.”
Then she went through an “electronics”phase –
the cellphone (chomp),
the remote control (crunch).

Sam loved her neighbors –
the dogs and their humans –
and her walks
around the neighborhood
included frisky, friendly greetings –
dog greetings and human greetings.
And now the neighbors
send us flowers and notes:
“She was a good girl.”
Our neighbors were good friends
to Samantha and their notes
make me smile – seeing the love.
I miss our Samantha
the Wonder Dog.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Judging a Person Who No Longer Exists

Thoughts upon a reading a dialogue between two of my friends:

Jeepers. Let’s give each other grace
and space
and the opportunity to grow
at our own pace
None of us is stuck in one place
mentally
We’re all evolving, changing,
re-arranging
moment by moment by moment.
No need to judge here.
No need to preach
all sanctimonious to each
other.
The person I was yesterday is gone
and so is the person you were
and so is the person next to you –
and what’s the point
of judging a person who
no longer exists?
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Bellingham, WA

You Matter

All people want to be heard
and acknowledged and seen
and valued and not discounted
or ignored or pushed off to the side
as insignificant or irrelevant.
We all want a voice.
We all want to be heard –
no matter the color of our skin
or our gender
or our age
or our sexual orientation.
And I don’t think we should be ashamed
of wanting that and needing it.

You matter.
You are important to the world.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity.”
-Mary Baker Eddy
(Retrospection and Introspection, p. 70)

“Beloved children, the world has need of you…”
-Mary Baker Eddy


Every Bird Has a Silver Lining

I don’t need any advice or platitudes here –
I know this will pass and every bird
has a silver lining and early clouds
catch the worm and time closes doors
and an open window heals all wounds
and it’s going to be alright
and better days lie ahead and yada yada.
But, speaking as just a human bean, DANG.
You know? The last four years feel like
one long series of good byes. Mom.
And then Rachael Randy Benjamin Bob
Anita Mike Dean Peggy and Laurie.
And Dad.

I didn’t have time to grieve Mom
because I needed to step up for Dad.
And then I didn’t have time to grieve
Dad because the pandemic hit
and our home became the sheltering
place for sons and their partners
and it was so good to have everyone
here – laughter and family time –
a place of refuge.

And today the last son moved out.
This chapter is finished – this home
has served its purpose and I feel
the book opening to a new chapter –
and maybe a new setting.
And I watched “10 Things I Hate
About You” and found myself
sobbing when Heath Ledger’s face
appeared on the screen. And I know
I’m ridiculous.

But… maybe the time
for grieving has finally come
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

April: Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn, MT

Window Seat; Aisle Seat

Window Seat; Aisle Seat

Window seat on the flight out
glaciered peaks and patchwork fields
glistening rivers and cloud towers
and tiny towns in the hours
from here to there – imagining the people
below looking up and seeing the jet stream
from their backyards. Mentally waving to them.
Time and space to look inside-out
and breathe and rest and enjoy our route.

Aisle seat on the flight back in
greeting people as they walk past me –
Red Carnegie-Mellon t-shirts, masks
of rainbow colors, a skateboard
with a PNW Native American design
and “Can you tell I’m smiling?” I ask,
pointing to my smiley mask.

Flight out and flight back in –
a balance for the introvert
and extrovert in me
looking out and looking in,
and breathe out and breathe in.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Unhooked from the Mother Ship

I’m feeling weirdly untethered –
like I got dropped from the sky
and am in free fall
or got unhooked from the line
that connects me to the Mother Ship
and am floating off into space.
It is scary
and also kind of exhilarating.

Retirement ain’t for sissies.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

In This Tiny Box

Typing with my thumbs in this tiny box
I feel cramped in here –
the space seems too small
to hold my thoughts –
my joys, hopes, and fears.

My Boomer thumbs are clumsy and slow
and not quick enough to keep up
with the feelings and flashbacks
and inner flow.

Sometimes a cellphone just doesn’t cut it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Who Can I Talk to About This Ache in My Heart?

I saw a terrible thing yesterday –
Involving a mama duck and her baby ducklings
and a freeway and a car next to me
rolling through feathers.
I saw a dead body, and downy feathers on little
webbed feet scurrying into the woods
without their mama. I pulled over
and moved the mama’s still-warm body off the road,
tried to call to the babies to come out,
wanting to gather them in my arms
and bring them home, and keep them safe.
And who can I talk to about this ache in my heart?
Who would understand?

There was a misunderstanding months ago
in the supermarket, involving a woman
in a Seahawks mask – I thought she could be
a new friend. I tried to connect to her in the aisle
between bulk foods and olive oil – “Go Seahawks!”
I said, muffled behind my mask. She looked at me
above her mask, and frowned, and I knew
the Seahawks fan didn’t understand what I’d said –
– she couldn’t read my lips or see my smile,
and I’d scared her – she was Black and I am White
and we live in a time of distrust and fear.
The Seahawks fan left quickly, before I could explain.
And who can I talk to about this ache in my heart?
Who would understand?

I drove by a big rhododendron bush with fat red
flowers and thought of Mom and the rhododendron
bush she’d planted by the front door of our old home
and felt a sudden yearning for her warm hugs
and her words of comfort and reassurance.
If she were still here I could talk to her about
the orphaned ducklings and the woman
in the Seahawks mask and my fears and worries
and insecurities and she would love me.
And who do I talk to now about this ache in my heart?

And the answer came in an instant –
a joyous Presence enfolded me in peace and love,
without question or judgment or condition or hesitation,
affirming the power of Good: Love’s communication
of never-ending Life and never-ending care for Her creation –
care for ducklings, and a woman in a Seahawks mask,
and Mom and me. Love knows what’s in my heart.
She knows my intent. And I know I can let it all go –
She’s got this. Love gives all Her children exactly
what we need, exactly when we need it,
and in the exactly right way – including Her
ducks and Her child in a Seahawks mask
and Her child who is my Mom, and Her child who is me.

Who can I talk to about the ache in my heart?
My Father-Mother Love. Always and forever.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man.”
-Mary Baker Eddy