Forgiveness. Forgiveness is something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years. At different times different thoughts about forgiveness have been helpful to me. When I realized that I should actually THANK people for gifting me with the challenges that helped me grow – that was a huge step forward. When I realized that to NOT forgive was hurting me more than anyone else – that was another step. And this week I had another epiphany about forgiveness – and, for me, this one was HUGE.
There were a couple books I read recently that helped lead me to my most recent revelation:
I’ve been reading Baroness Orczy’s “Scarlet Pimpernel” books (The Scarlet Pimpernel is one of my all-time favorite books – I re-read it a few weeks ago and then started reading some of the other books in the series). In one of the books – I Will Repay – one of the characters says: “To understand is to forgive.” Whoahhhh. That got my thoughts going all kinds of interesting places. If we can understand other people – feel empathy for them – we can forgive them because we recognize in them our OWN human-ness, right?
After I’d read a couple of the baroness’s books, I felt the need for a change in genre – I needed to exchange the blood and muck of the French Revolution for something a little lighter. Something with some humor. So I brought Christina Lauren’s latest romance, In a Holidaze, to my Kindle. It was the perfect book for me right now! Funny and light and with a happy ending – just the escape I needed at the end of 2020. And it was in this book that I came upon another quote that I found helpful in my pursuit of forgiveness: “All this time I’ve been upset with him for simply being exactly the person I always knew he was.” Sheesh. It makes no sense to be angry at someone just because he/she/they is a human being – with the same human flaws and foibles we ALL share. I mean – none of us is perfect. There isn’t a single person on this planet who hasn’t done something stupid/thoughtless/unkind at some point. Let’s forgive others their faults, and let’s forgive ourselves, too, while we’re at it.
“How embarrassing to be human.” – Kurt Vonnegut
“To punish ourselves for others’ faults, is superlative folly. The mental arrow shot from another’s bow is practically harmless, unless our own thought barbs it. It is our pride that makes another’s criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another’s deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt by another’s self-assertion. Well may we feel wounded by our own faults; but we can hardly afford to be miserable for the faults of others.” – Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings
Season of Shameless Plugs (Day 9): (dramatic three notes – dun dun dun) The Audiobook
So if you google my name (which… okay… I have) you’ll see the audiobook for Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist comes up near the top of the first page. With a one-star rating. No review. Nothing to say about what the critic didn’t like about it. Just. One star. It has been sitting there like that for months now – a festering freakin’ sliver in my thumb. If you go to the next page of Karen Molenaar Terrells – or maybe the one after that – you’ll see that someone in Australia (bless her/his/their heart!) gave me a five star rating for the same audiobook. (Australians obviously are a people of great discernment and good judgment.) So. Yeah. If any of you are into listening to books on your devices you can, for less than the price of a cup of coffee (I think you can actually get the audiobook free if you already own the book), purchase the audiobook (and find a sample from the book) here. (You can also find the audiobook right next to the other formats for the book on the Amazon site).
In 2014 I published my third book in the Madcap Christian Scientist series, The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New. This one was all about starting over. It has four reviews on Amazon now – all five stars! Here’s an excerpt:
Two years ago I would never have been able to guess where I’d be today, what I’d be doing, and what new people I would be calling my friends and colleagues. Two years ago my youngest son was close to graduating from high school, my 20-year career as a public school teacher was winding down, and I was looking for a new job and a new purpose to fill my days. Two years ago I was starting over.It was scary. It was exhilarating. It was absolutely awesome!
For the first time in years I didn’t have to try to fit my life into a rigid schedule and a tight structure. My life was my own to create as I felt led…
Season of Shameless Plugs (Day 4): At the age of 51 I went insane. I did not like it so much, but I sure learned a lot from that experience. I wrote about my journey through depression in The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book. The Middle Book has six ratings now – all five stars! Here’s an excerpt:
On New Year’s Eve, 2007, I was hit particularly hard by the belief of depression – caught up in weird and intense feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. I don’t know what led me to check out my book on Amazon that night, but when I clicked on Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist I found that just that day someone had added a new review for my book. The review read, in part: “Karen becomes your friend, someone you know and love and you know if she knew you, she would love you the way you want to be loved.” I read those words and was so touched by them I began to cry. This was exactly the message I needed at that moment. If I could love others, I had worth. If others could love me, there was hope. I’ve always felt that the man who wrote that review had been listening to the voice of Love that day. He’d been guided by Love’s direction to take the time to write a review for my book – and, because he did that for me, he helped to bring me out of a place of deep despair.
We all have access to an incredible power to bring good to other people’s lives. That day my book’s reviewer had tapped into that power. *** My eldest son, Andrew, understood that I desperately needed to get away from “myself” – needed to get away from the routine of my life – and volunteered to go with me to the Oregon coast during our Spring Break. His willingness to accompany me on a fourteen-hour drive (round trip) meant a great deal to me and, frankly, surprised me. What sixteen year-old young man do you know who would volunteer to go with his mom on a road trip? We had such a great time. We’re both kind of easy-going when it comes to traveling. Sometimes I would wander, accidentally or on purpose, off the beaten track, and it would take me awhile to find my way back to our route – but Andrew never panicked about any of this. He just let me take him wherever I ended up going, without worry or concern about it. I remember one time we pulled over at a “scenic viewpoint” to find ourselves looking down on a sawmill and pulp mill that was belching up great plumes of smoke. Without saying a word, Andrew and I looked at each other and started snickering – I knew what he was thinking – scenic viewpoint?!
On the way down, we stopped to visit with my beloved Aunt Junie. Here’s what I wrote in my journal about that visit: “Spent the night with Aunt Junie. She is so amazing. She’s like Yoda. I was all weepy, told her I’d made mistakes and had lost close friends who told me I was a bad friend and a bad person. Junie was appalled. She said I am a good person – all her intuition tells her that I am a good person and she has no doubts about that.” Junie believed in me, had faith in me, and trusted in me. And I really needed that at the moment. She told me that “there are no unrightable wrongs, no unforgiveable sins, no fatal mistakes, no fatal diseases, only the eternal now.” To be given hope and a fresh start is incredibly freeing.
The Season of Shameless Plugs (Day 3): In 2005 I published my first book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist. It now has 33 reviews on Amazon – and 4.7 stars! I’ve made some really good friends through that little book, and it’s introduced me to people all over the world.
Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction: Years ago an old boyfriend said to me, “I can’t see that Christian Science has made you any better than anyone else.”
“I know!” I said, nodding my head in complete and happy agreement, “But can you imagine what I’d be like without it?!”
He raised his eyebrows and laughed. What could he say? He was looking at a self-centered, moralistic, stubborn idealist who saw everything in terms of black and white. But I could have been worse. I believe without Christian Science I would have been worse.
Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I am not the best example of a Christian Scientist. I’m not as disciplined as I could be. I have fears and worries and doubts. I’m a little neurotic. I am the Lucy Ricardo of Christian Scientists.
This is the last hymn I sang to Moz before she passed. This song came into my thoughts, again, this morning when I learned two loved ones in my circle had passed. My love to their families and friends. ❤
(If you make it to the end you’ll see a cameo by the backyard birds.)
(Words to the hymn are by Anna L. Waring, 1823-1910.)
God bless our country. God bless the whole world. No matter who wins this election we still have a long road of healing ahead of us. May God, Love, help us all – each and every Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green Party, Black, Brown, White, polka dotted, atheist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, gun-toting, unarmed, flag-waving, anthem-kneeling, F and M and LGBTQ one of us. Amen. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
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