There are two men sitting on the Supreme Court who have been accused of sexual misconduct towards women. Those same men were among those who voted to end the right for a woman to have control over her own body. It feels, to me, like what those two men were accused of doing to individual women, they are now doing to an entire collective nation of women – forcing their will on us. And it seems to me they are among the LAST people who should have been given that kind of power over others.
I was feeling discouraged this morning. No, “discouraged” is an understatement for what I was feeling – what I was feeling was something beyond that. As I was posting on FB, my friend, Kathy, commented that she could use a hug and said she’d be working to register voters at the Mount Vernon YMCA. Coincidentally, I needed a hug, too. I also needed to get some groceries. So I got in Rosalita Ipswich O’Molenovich and drove, first, to the supermarket, and then to the YMCA.
When I got to the supermarket, I saw a man standing on a corner with a sign indicating he was in need. And the thought that came to me was, “I maybe don’t want to be on this planet right now, but maybe I can do some good while I AM here.” So I parked and walked over to the man and asked if I could get him something in the supermarket. He said he was really hungry, so I asked him if I could get him a sandwich, and he said yes. I bought my groceries – including TWO quarts of Paul Newman virgin lemonade – and then picked up a sandwich for the gentleman on the corner.
When I brought him his sandwich, I realized he was probably pretty thirsty, too – it’s hot here today – and I realized the second quart of lemonade was for him. He smiled and thanked me and took the sandwich and lemonade from me.
I was already feeling much better.
After the supermarket, I drove down to find Kathy at the YMCA to exchange a hug, and met a whole lot of other really cool people, too. There was young Roran with his rainbow drawings, a woman who helps victims of domestic violence, a couple people who work with Planned Parenthood, and folks from PFLAG of Skagit County. And meeting these people – brave and compassionate and caring people – has given me back my hope.
I can’t find the words.
It’s too big for words.
So much seems too big
for words these days.
It’s hard to wrap my head around
the fact that we live in a country
where we are all at the mercy
of other people’s religious beliefs.
Just know you’re not alone.
You have a world of mothers,
and fathers, aunts and uncles,
and sisters and brothers
standing right there with you.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell
My dear Humoristian hooligans –
It is time, my friends. It is time to blast the world with over-the-top joy. It is time to roll out our big cannons of jocularity and good will and rain humongo missiles of love and kindness upon the mental landscape. It is time to step up to the front and lock arms with one another and protect the battered, bullied and beleaguered with the unbreakable shield of Love and Truth. We are in control here. With Love leading the charge, we are not the beaten, but the unbeatable. May the bullies, bigots, and busybodies be transformed by your unbreakable courage. May the stodgy and stingy be transformed by your irrepressible good will to all.
The time for the kind-hearted has come!
“Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable. Evil is not power. It is a mockery of strength, which erelong betrays its weakness and falls, never to rise.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
“At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
This is an old blog post (September 14, 2013), but it came to my thought just now and I thought maybe Pride Month was a good time to repost it:
Okay, I just watched a youtube clip that still has me wiping the tears from my face. I was so moved by this clip – so completely inspired by it. It went waaaay beyond your typical proposal of young man on bended knee proposing to young woman – no, this proposal included a choreographed dance to Billy Who’s upbeat song, Somebody Loves You, and an ensemble cast of parents, friends, youngsters, oldsters – all there to support the handsome couple. This marriage proposal was testament to the power of community and the power of love. And part of what made the proposal so extraordinary, for me, was that the couple wasn’t a man and a woman at all – the couple was a man and a man… in Salt Lake City… Utah. And… did I mention that their mums and dads were there? Friends? Little girls in pinks tutus doing cartwheels? Babies? If you haven’t seen this clip, you gotta watch it – you just gotta!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4HpWQmEXrM
This is the way it’s supposed to be. Acceptance. Support. Celebration. Love.
I look forward to that day when every citizen can share in the exact same rights as every other citizen of our land.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell
It was a busy intersection in bustling mid-day traffic and I’d just pulled up to a right-turn yield sign, ready to slide myself into traffic when there was a break in the flow. I glanced to the right and saw a young Black man with a shopping cart full of belongings, waiting to cross to the island on the other side of me. He saw me look at him – I think I smiled – and he pointed to the island – he was asking if he could go ahead and cross in front of me. I smiled and pointed to the island, too, and raised my eyebrows and nodded my head – indicating that he was good to go. He nodded his head at me and crossed in front of me – trusting me – and we gave each other a “have a good day” wave.
And I know this seems like just a litte thing, but I can’t tell you what it meant to me that this young man trusted his life to me as he crossed in front of my car.
That’s how communities function, isn’t it? We’re all trusting each other with our very lives – every day of every month of every year that we’re out there, moving amongst each other.
Yes, emotional and mental health is a huge problem in our society. People are feeling without hope, discouraged, unloved, disrespected, shamed and humiliated and bullied. We live in a culture that’s big into shaming each other – it’s not healthy. And we need to address all of that, for sure. But all of that is going to take time. You can’t just put a bandaid on that kind of hurt and call it “fixed.”
A more immediate thing we CAN do is put restrictions on guns. I can understand people owning guns for hunting or recreational target practice. But I see no reason why the type of rapid-fire weapon used by that high schooler should be on the market for anyone to buy. That just seems insane to me.
Because I’m a writer. That’s what writers do. Artists use brushes; I use a keyboard.
But what’s the point? Do you think you’re going to change anyone’s minds about stuff?
No, I know that’s not likely. And that’s not even my purpose. I don’t have a need for people to believe and feel and think exactly what I believe and feel and think about everything. People can believe whatever they want to believe, as long as their beliefs don’t cause harm to others.
You know why I share my thoughts and feelings in writing? Because I know there are other people out there who share similar feelings and I want them to know I understand what they’re feeling. I want them to know they’re not alone. I want to understand the perspectives of other people, too, and I want to give them the chance to understand mine – whether we agree with each other or not, I think it’s cool when we can understand each other.
Writing is how I connect to others. Writing – and reading what others have written – helps keep us from feeling isolated from one another.
I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I wanted the full experience – a big belly, labor, nursing, holding my baby close in my arms – the whole shebang. When I found out I was pregnant it was one of the best moments of my life. For me, that little zygote was a miracle. For me, that little zygote was my baby from the moment of conception. And when I saw his little heart beating, felt that first faint movement inside me, felt him pushing against me with his feet – it was magic! Labor wasn’t easy – but as soon as he was born and I got that rush of oxytocin – I told my husband I was ready to do this again!
I’m telling you this because I want you to underestand where I’m coming from when I tell you I am pro-choice. When it came to my own pregnancies, I never would have considered an abortion. But my prenancies were planned with happy anticipation. My babies were seen to be healthy in my womb. I was healthy as they grew inside me. I had the support of a wonderful husband and we were financially stable.
Not every woman feels the way I felt when I learned I was pregnant. Pregnancy is not “magic” in every situation and for every woman. Some females lose their lives because they’re pregant. Some females lose their lives in labor. Some females are still children themselves – with their whole lives in front of them and in no place – mentally, emotionally, socially, or financially – to become mothers responsible for other children. To some females, the idea of growing another human being inside of them is simply unfathomable and terrifying. Some females are pregnant because they’re the victims of rape and incest. Some females learn their babies are suffering from severe deformities that will cause them to have short pain-filled lives – and they want to spare their babies from that. For some women pregnancy is not the most magical thing they’ll ever experience, it is the most traumatic.
Every woman is unique – with her own needs and wants and fears – and every woman should have the freedom to choose for herself how her body should be used.
(Originally published August 31, 2017)
Yeah. I know. That got your attention, right? 🙂
So those of you familiar with me know that I believe every citizen of this country should have the same rights as every other citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – and that includes the right to an education; the right to gainful employment; the right to serve your country; the right to live in a decent home in a decent neighborhood; and the right for consenting adults to marry and create lives together with the people they love.
I have never understood why allowing others to share in the same rights they have should be such a problem for some people.
So as I was reading the Christian Science Bible Lesson Sermon this morning I came upon a passage in the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy) that I don’t remember reading before – although I’m sure I must have (I’ve read Science and Health three or four times from cover-to-cover). Get this:
Mary Baker Eddy writes: “God determines the gender of His own ideas. Gender is mental, not material… Gender means simply kind or sort, and does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or femininity. ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 508)
Eddy writes: “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique.” (Science and Health, p 475)
And boom. Right there. As I was reading those passages I felt like I was having a conversation with Eddy about God and the nature of man, male and female. For me, what she had to write about gender clarified, and reinforced, my own thoughts about our gender identities. “God determines… Gender is mental… does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or feminity…”
I think we need to keep things in proportion, and I think sometimes we get so focused on the “sex” part of gender that we lose sight of the bigger, more important, part of peoples’ identities and lives – men and women as the expressions of Love. Eddy writes: “The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence, and to Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love. In divine Science, we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity. ” (Science and Health, p 517)
Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a higher tone through certain elements of the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength through masculine qualities. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness. Both sexes should be loving, pure, tender, and strong.
– Mary Baker Eddy