Stealing Integrity

So you want to force people to stand for the anthem
whether they want to or not?
You want to force them to pretend to believe
what you believe?
You believe you can force respect from others
by stealing their integrity?
How do you see this happening, exactly?
All the players standing in a coerced line,
hands super-glued over their hearts?
Simons says. Puppets on a string.
With no right to disagree or question
or protest what they feel is wrong?
And how is this going to help anyone?
Or make anything better?
Wouldn’t it be better if we fixed the system,
healed the hurts, so everyone wanted
to honor the symbols that represent freedom?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

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A Time of Innocence

It was a time of innocence, wasn’t it?
The before times.
There are moments I wish
we could go back to those days –
I see the before-movies
with the towers in the background –
Working Girl, The Thomas Crown Affair –
from a time when the chief concern
was winning.

We were there a month before –
smiling and laughing with our
fellow tourists, and the people of
New York, walking the same streets
as the best-of-the-best writers, actors,
business people, artists – the energy
and rhythm of the city filling us with
ambition, and possibilities.

Before we left I gave my unused subway
tickets to a businessman – I think he said
he worked in the Towers – he thanked me.
And a month later we watched
the towers fall, looked at our souvenir
mugs with the skyline emblazoned
on them – and knew the world had changed.

We returned two years later, wondering
what we’d find. Would our New York friends
be beaten down, lost, defeated?
No. We found resolve. We found generosity.
We found people who’d been tested
and come through with more than
“winning” on their minds.
We found nobility on the streets
of New York. We can’t go back.
But we can honor those who died
that day by living our lives
in a way that brings peace
and healing to New York,
to our planet.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Brush of Angel Wings

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I Don’t Have to Feel Anything

Epiphany –
I don’t have to feel anything
I’m not required to judge
every experience, every encounter,
every moment with a happy face
or a sad face or a thumbs up.
I don’t have to feel angry or sad,
aggrieved or offended or put upon.
Sometimes I can just let it go
and live through it
and take it for what it is
and be.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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Sunset in Skagit County, WA (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Has no one ever told you who you are?!

Has no one ever told you
who you are?!
Jeepers.
You are the child of Truth!
The image and likeness
of Love itself!
You are AWESOME!!!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
– Kathryn Stockett

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another… We are made of starstuff”
– Carl Sagan

“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees or the stars;
you have a right to be here.”
– Max Ehrmann

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
– A.A. Milne

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them… And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
– Genesis 1

“In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry… Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

image and likeness of Love

(Heron skimming Lake Padden in Bellingham, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Guest Poem: “I Cried”

From my friend, Nikkita – 

I cried
By Nikkita

I cried today.
I cried for my family, my town, my country.
I cried for our world.
I cried for people I love. People that love me.
I cried as I listened to our president justify hate.
Justify bigotry
Justify Racism.
Justify terror.

I wept today.
I wept as I saw my cousin, my beautiful biracial cousin, crumble in my arms.
I wept as she asked why, why, why
I wept because I don’t know why
I wept as she asked if he, her president, cared at all
As she asked how he could defend them
Defend those bigots
Defend those racists
I wept as she asked wasn’t she worth loving
Worth saving
Worth caring about by the man who holds the highest office in our land.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know.

I screamed today.
I screamed in my head, so loudly, because my vocal chords can’t.
I screamed as the president tore down reporters
I screamed as people defended his behavior
I screamed as the replays of disgusting people chanting “Jews Will Not Replace Us” filled the screen.

I cried today.
I cried because I don’t recognize my government
I don’t recognize my nation
Anymore.
I cried because these are the groups, the very same groups,
That believe my Jewish grandmother
My black cousin
My gay best friend
My disabled friends
And me
Should be cleansed off this earth and
The president defended them.

They aren’t good people.
Never good people.
For if you are not a Nazi
But can protest with a Nazi
And chant their chants
And stand and say nothing
You are worse.
Worse than the Nazi
Worse than the KKK
Worse than their hate
Because you claim to not be filled with hate
But you stood there. You stood there.
And you said nothing.

I wept today
For my country, my world.
I wanted to smile
To be joyful
Full of love
And light
And peace.
But not today.
Today I cried.
Tomorrow?
Well, tomorrow
I FIGHT BACK.

I will fight hate with love
Bigotry with acceptance
Racism with inclusion
Ethnic cleansing with diversity
And terror with peace.

I FIGHT BACK
I will fight back with my voice
My actions
My deeds
My heart.

I FIGHT BACK
By saying no
By insisting that my government say no
By demanding equal rights
Equal love
Equal care.

I FIGHT BACK
By refusing to let this go
We can’t let this go
We can’t normalize this hatred
We can’t pretend.
Pretending got us here.
Pretending he would change
Got us a president
Who defends Nazis.

I cried today
Tomorrow I might smile
And the next day I might laugh
But not today.

Today I cried
Because tears and outrage
Horror and Disgust
They are the only correct reaction.
I cried today.
Tomorrow I fight.
The next day I love
And the world WILL change
For good
Because
You and me
And everyone good
Will not forget
Ever.
In memory of Heather Heyer, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates

Love is everything