Day 446

We’re 446 days in. I’m starting to feel a little detached –
like a spectator watching a farce unfold on a stage – a show –
as if this has nothing to do with me or my world.
And the tragicomedy unfolds in front of us now –
simultaneously pitiful and horrifying and maddening
and over-the-top wacky – Dr. Strangelove on ergo-
genic acids. The audience makes its predictions about
what will  happen next. What new woe will he sow?
Will he fire more people? Will he put himself above the law?
Will he start World War III? Will our debt continue to grow?
Will our environment go down the toilet? Will we lose
our social security? Will he twitter us some new foe?
“He certainly believes he has the power to do so.”
And the audience waits with ‘bated breath to see
what will happen next in our very own unreality expo.
A train wreck in slow motion. Slim Pickens riding
the bomb in Earth’s last rodeo.
Once we had the chance to save our planet.
But we let it go.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

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“…keep moving forward.”

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination:

“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Progress is the law of God…”

“Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.”

“… there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.” 
– Mary Baker Eddy

“…let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”
– Amos 5:24

Guemes church 2

 

 

Stand with the Students

A Facebook acquaintance recently suggested that high school students are incapable of original thought, and that the students from Parkland are being fed their lines by the “corrupt media” and “corrupt teachers.”

I’m a high school teacher. I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years. I know kids. I know the wisdom they’re capable of expressing. I have witnessed, first-hand, the intelligence and original thought of high school students. I don’t know about high school students from what FOX news is telling me about high school students – I know about high school students because I work with them every day. As a high school teacher I can assure you that there are high school students who are far more articulate, informed, and well-spoken than some adults I have met. The students from Parkland did not need to be “coached” to speak – they did not need to have ideas about gun violence fed to them by the media or their teachers – they lived through a school shooting – they saw their friends shot and killed – they have far more first-hand experience with gun violence in schools than the average adult. They are the experts – and it’s time to listen to them.

I once had to spend a day sequestered in a small room with my students because of concerns about our safety. I have experienced that kind of fear, first-hand. I am talking from experience here. Not from what FOX news has told me. I once (years ago – before Columbine) had a student tell me he could bring a gun to school and kill me. I know what that kind of threat feels like. And so when someone outside of education – someone who doesn’t have to worry about how he’s going to save his students if someone with a gun should suddenly appear in the door – tells me how I should feel about it all and cavalierly tells me that teachers should be armed – that that’s going to fix this mess – I get really frustrated. I’ve come to realize that, to some people, guns matter more than the lives of students and teachers.
That hurts, man.
We need to listen to the people who are dealing with this  threat every single day – the students and teachers who are walking into schools not knowing if they’re going to be walking out at the end of the day. Don’t discount their stories. Don’t belittle them. They are the ones on the front lines now.

Lunchtime Walks

The sunshine called to me this week during lunch: “Karen… Karen… come out and play…” Here in western Washington we’ve had sparkly days of azure skies and fresh spring breezes; the daffodils are smiling at us; and blossoms are starting to pop open on the early-blooming fruit trees. How could I possibly resist a lunch-time walk downtown?

On Wednesday my feet led me to the walk along the Skagit River, down a side street, and then – as if propelled by their own power – my feet brought me to the Forte Artisan Chocolate store  in Mount Vernon. Yes. That’s right. It was my feet, I tell ya. My feet took me into the chocolate shop. And, of course, once I found myself in the chocolate shop I HAD to buy something, right? I chose two truffles and a chocolate-covered caramel and as the young man was bagging my chocolates up for me, he smiled and asked me if I was “Mrs. Terrell.”  And then he told me his name – and I realized that he was one of my former middle school students! Ohmygosh! It was so fun to see him again! Ryan had just come back from all kinds of amazing adventures in southeast Asia – and as he shared a little about his adventures with me I found myself grinning from ear-to-ear. I cannot tell you the pleasure it gives me to run into my old students and see the amazing lives they’re making for themselves. As I was ready to leave, Ryan said, “Come here!” and he came from behind the counter and gave me a big hug. I left the store with a smile on my face and a heart full of happiness. Also a bag of award-winning chocolate. For later. (It lasted two whole hours.)

It was another sunny day today, and I ventured back into downtown Mount Vernon during my lunch break. This time I bought myself a green-topped St. Patrick’s cupcake from the Shambala Bakery and Bistro. As I was leaving the bakery and heading back to school I ran into John the Peace Man. I’d met John a couple years ago when I’d joined up with the little group of weekly demonstrators in front of the Skagit County Courthouse to wave my “LOVE RULES” sign for an hour. The demonstrators have been standing out there every Friday at noon for years now – maybe decades. When I saw John I realized that he was probably walking to the noon-time demonstration, and fell into step beside him. When I got to the Courthouse I found my dear peacenik friends there, waving their signs. I love these folks.
peace people.JPG

I brought sunshine and love back with me to school after my lunch-time walks this week. I’m thinking lunch-time walks on sunny days should be, like, a requirement for all teachers. Right?

I Have to Believe

I have to believe we really can get better, day by day.
I have to believe that we aren’t fated to accumulate
baggage and burdens, fear and loss, problems and weight,
ailments and affliction until the day we die.
I have to believe that each challenge that presents
itself to us can be an opportunity to learn a lesson
about the power and eternal ever-presence of Love.
I have to believe there’s no problem that can’t be healed,
no limitation, and no dismal destiny that can’t be unsealed
and overcome. I have to believe there’s a divine
reason and a purpose for everyone – him, her, and you.
And me. If I can believe I can make it true
for myself. And for my world.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Chronological data are no part of the vast forever. Time-tables of birth and death are so many conspiracies against manhood and womanhood. Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness…Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight. ”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Butterfly on Table Mountain

An alpine butterfly flits among the flowers on Table Mountain. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

 

 

 

Leaving a Wake of Kindness

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

I’ve been thinking about you, and feeling filled with gratitude, knowing you’re out there in the world, leaving a wake of kindness and love wherever you go. Wherever you are right now – whatever continent you’re on, or whatever ocean or sea – I know you will be working your magic today. You are transforming the universe. May your irrepressible joy bring hope to the hopeless. May the stodgy, stingy, and stuffy un-stodge and un-stuff themselves in the presence of your unstoppable silliness. May the bullies and bigots, bossybritches and busybodies, bellicose and benighted lose their fear and find their better selves in the power of your honesty and integrity. May you bring a good laugh to those desperately in need of a good laugh.
Amen.
Karen