We Will Always Share This Bond

We’ve learned a lot about ourselves
in the last four years, haven’t we?
We’ve learned what we’re made of,
what needed to be fixed, what’s
important to us, and what we love.
We came together, worked shoulder-
to-shoulder, side by side,
bolstering each other up,
sharing inspiration, sharing the ride,
sharing a good laugh now and then,
letting Love guide.
We’re maybe not looking our best –
we’re battle-weary, battered, bedraggled –
but we’re not beaten.
And look at all we’ve done together!
We will always share this bond, my friend.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Registered Democrat Here

Registered Democrat here. A few things –
1) I’ve never collected welfare.
2) I’ve never collected unemployment.
3) I’ve never been on Medicaid.
4) I’ve never had an abortion.
5) I’ve worked almost my entire adult life as a teacher.

More things:
1) Although I’ve never needed welfare, unemployment compensation, or Medicaid – I’ve never begrudged these things to the people who DO need them. I don’t mind contributing to a federal pot of money to help my fellow Americans who are in need. I consider that is one of the privileges and responsibilities of being a citizen of this country. It’s not all about me. It’s not “me first.” Being a citizen of the United States is about being a part of something bigger than myself. It’s about caring for the well-being of others in my country, too.

2) Although I’ve never had an abortion – was never in a position where that was something I needed to think about – I don’t believe it’s my place to make that choice for another woman. Being pregnant is a big deal. Childbirth is a big deal. Women die from these things. Medical decisions regarding a woman’s health should be between the woman and her doctor – and are not anyone else’s business. My pregnancies were planned and celebrated. I was healthy. My sons were healthy in the womb. We anticipated our sons’ births with great excitement and joy. But I can imagine circumstances being different. I have friends who had to make that choice – and I know it wasn’t easy for any of them. NO ONE IS FOR ABORTION.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“…freely ye have received, freely give.” – Matthew 10:8

God, Guns, Country?

God, guns, country? Maybe y’all are reading a different Bible than me…?
“Thou shalt not kill.” – Exodus 20
“Blessed are the meek.” – Matthew 5
“…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” – Micah 4
“God is love.” – I John 4

Even on the Challenging Days

You know what? Even on the challenging days –
the should-have-stayed-in-bed days –
there is still Love. There is still Truth. There is still Good.
Nothing can separate us from what really matters –
not lost phones, nor spilled juice, nor forgotten passwords.
When it all shakes down, when the breakable shatters,
still there is Love.-
Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Great Division of 2016-2020

The Great Division of 2016-2020

Grandma, what did you do
during The Great Division?
Were you a part of the revision?
Were you a part of the decision
to follow a new vision
and heal the fission?
Did you walk in marches
and write letters?
Did you go to rallies
to make things better?
Did you do everything you could
to help the jobless and poor
the disenfranchised and mocked –
could you have done more?

Grandma, did you vote?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy has always believed that those who are entitled to vote should do so, and she has also believed that in such matters no one should seek to dictate the actions of others.”
– from “Miscellany” (p. 276) by Mary Baker Eddy

Women’s March, January 2018
BLM rally in Burlington, WA.

“You can’t scare her. She survived 2020.”

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

2020 has been a crazy ride, hasn’t it? Dad died on January 19th and two days later the first case of COVID was reported in our state (and the country). Dad had good timing. 2020 has brought COVID-19, murder hornets, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, plagues, pestilence, political insanity, and every emotion a person can possibly feel – grief, terror, anger, fear, and also immense love, gratitude, and, (especially lately) hope. And, sitting here, I just realized I’m not “ascared” anymore. At some point – maybe when the craziness reached epic and absurd proportions – the fear just dissolved. It was like – okay, what else you got? Bring it on, baby! I think it’s going to be hard to ever again scare anyone who’s survived 2020. (I just had a flashback of one of my favorite cartoons – a lady with a bun on top of her head, whistling in hell – and one of the devil’s helpers saying to him: “We can’t scare her. She was a middle school teacher.” As a former middle school teacher that one always cracked me up. I think that same cartoon could have the caption: “You can’t scare her. She survived 2020” and it would still work. 🙂

Keep working your magic, my friends! Keep shining your light! The world has need of your pluck and courage and unfailing kindness!
– Karen

A Thank You to a Conservative Friend

I think it might be helpful to us to be aware that those who identify as Democrats and those who identify as Republicans are being fed completely different narratives about the state of our country. (Check out the new movie on Netflix, The Social Dilemma.) I just had an interesting conversation with a conservative friend – someone I have come to respect over the years because he doesn’t get defensive, doesn’t view me as “the enemy,” is willing to listen to what I have to say, has the courage to share what he believes in an honest and forthright way, and is able to self-reflect. He knows how to question me, but he also knows how to question himself. I think this is a rare and beautiful thing.

Anyway. We were talking about Trump and white supremacy, Antifa and The Proud Boys and the Boogaloo movements. Throwing out different links and articles to each other. And it was hugely eye-opening to me! He is getting a completely different narrative than me!

I’m not going to share all the links and articles, stories and narratives – all of that is out there – available to any of us who are willing to cross the river and see what the other guy sees from where he’s camped.

And, of course, our back-and-forthing didn’t change in any way the different perspectives we have of the world – I still see things from my perspective (vote Biden!), and he still sees things from his perspective. But what the dialoguing DID do for me is help me understand WHY he sees things as he does. This is an intelligent, kind, thoughtful human being. He is not my enemy. He is not a white supremacist. He does not want a Civil War. In fact, I think, in the end, he wants the same things *I* want – peace and prosperity, justice and fair play and equity for all.

Maybe this is the one thing we can do for each other right now – instead of dehumanizing each other and seeing each other as “The Enemy” – maybe we can make an effort to “humanize” each other – to see the good in each other.

I want to thank my friend for letting me dialogue with him tonight.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, – determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is…”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Karen, Did You Watch the Debate?

Friend: Karen, did you watch the debate?

Karen: Every f***ing minute of it.

Friend: What did you think?

Karen: “Stand back and stand by”?!! If 40% of my fellow citizens are fine with that then we are in real trouble here.

Friend: No, he just misspoke.

Karen: If he misspoke then he needs to clarify that. He needs to very clearly say, “I denounce the Proud Boys. I denounce white supremacists. White supremacy has no place in our nation.” And he needs to say this without having his fingers crossed behind his back and without a wink-wink nudge-nudge. He has had two days now to denounce the Proud Boys and he has not done this. I think we can assume he’s not going to.

Friend: But did you notice Biden didn’t answer any questions?

Karen: No crap! Trump kept interrupting him!!!

Friend: Well, Biden should be able to handle that kind of pressure if he’s going to be president.

Karen: Biden is not a pre-school teacher. He shouldn’t be expected to placate toddlers having tantrums. Presidents move on the world stage – dealing with other international leaders who are grown-ups – dealing with pre-schoolers having tantrums is not Biden’s area of expertise, and we shouldn’t expect it to be.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(I wish I’d taken a photo of the faces of the PBS commentators at the end of the debate to paste here. They looked like they’d just been through a battle – eyes wide, faces drawn. I felt tremendous sympathy for them and empathy with them.)