“Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law”

 “It is very biblical to enforce the law,” said Sarah Sanders in reference to children being separated from their parents.

Here’s what the Bible says about the law:

“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
– Romans 13:10

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
– Galatians 5:22, 23

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
– Matthew 22:36-40

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“They were children. They had no place to go. They needed love.”

My friend, Mei Mei, shared some powerful thoughts on Facebook. She gave me permission to share her post:

“My parents spent their younger adulthood, and my childhood, taking care of children.

“These children were not technically ‘theirs’.

“These children were broken.

“These children had no home, and in a lot of cases, no one else loving them.

“These children had all survived significant trauma.

“These children were all colors. Some were rich, but most were poor. Born into circumstances beyond their control, forced into a life they did not ask for.

“These children were babies. And young preschoolers. Tweens. Teens. Even some young adults.

“These children were black, white, brown, and often a combination of all.

“Almost all of them had special needs. Most had complex medical needs.

“They were children. They had no place to go. They needed love. They needed hugs. They needed food, and clothes, and medicine, and a bed, and toys to call their own.

“They needed some adults they could trust, most of all. People who would love them instantly, even when they came in at 2am with not even a jacket in the dead of winter, sobbing. ESPECIALLY then, they were loved. Instantly.

“Because they are children, and children who have seen our worst deserve our best, even more so than others.

“My parents opened their hearts and made these kids theirs. Sometimes it was the churches who placed them in our home. Sometimes the state. A few times their own parents dropped them off. It didn’t matter where they came from. Sometimes they stayed just days, sometimes, weeks, sometimes years, and one is ours for life. But really, they are all ours and they know our love is still there and we will still be there in an instant, whenever and wherever they need us.

“What mattered is as soon as they crossed that door, they were ours. Ours to love. Ours to care for. Ours to show what a real home and a real family and a real love feels like, looks like. We loved them and still love them. Even in the dead of night, when a now 32 year old calls and says “Nana? I need you.”

“Truth? We needed them more.

“We never asked them their legal status. I know at least a handful were undocumented but we didn’t care. We never asked them how they got here, how they crossed the border. We didn’t care. They were home.

“They enriched our lives, and taught us much. They made us better versions of ourselves.

“Our country now has children. They are ours now. They came into our country alone, or were so horrifically separated from their loved ones.

“It doesn’t matter how they got here. It matters they are here. Now, we have a choice. Us, these Americans. All of us. We have a choice.

“Do we lock these babies in cages? Do we strip them of their humanity, and in turn lose ours as well? Do we take away their hope? Their love?

“Or do we remember these are CHILDREN?

“It doesn’t matter right now where they are from, how they got here. It matters how we treat them, because as children, THEY MATTER.

“Our choice is here. Staring us in the face. It looks like a toddler in a cage.

“So now we make the right choice, when our government failed so horribly. We make the choice to stand up, and shout with all of our might:

”’THIS IS NOT OKAY AND WE WILL NOT STAND FOR IT’

“We call our government officials and we don’t shut up

“We protest and march until they cannot ignore us.

“We stand up and say ‘We will take them. Give us the babies. We can do this together’

“We scream, we shout, and we DO NOT QUIT, because these are children.

“And when it is all over, we beg these babies forgiveness for failing to do what Jesus would do, for ignoring the example set for us. For failing to be human, and for failing to treat them as little humans.

“And then we sit down, and we figure it out. We figure out policies that don’t include children being stripped from their parents or babies in cages.

“The entire time we write those policies, and demand good, humane, loving action, we look at these awful pictures and remind ourselves to never let our humanity fall this far again.

“They are children. We failed them. Now let us fix this.”
– “Mei Mei”

Do we really even need to debate this stuff?

I can’t believe we’re still debating stuff in 2018 that we should have moved beyond long ago.

No, it’s not alright to separate children from their parents at the border. No, it’s not alright to torture ANYone or thing. No, we shouldn’t be taking from the poor to give to the rich. Yes, we should be caring for our planet – it’s the only one we’ve got. No, we should not be denying people their rights to life, liberty, happiness, and prosperity because of their race, religion or non-religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Are these things we really even need to debate? Sheesh.

debating stuff

 

“You and I Are Nothing Alike!”

“You and I Are Nothing Alike!”

She had known him for years –
mutual interests, politics, and friends
had made for conversation filled
with laughter at the absurd,
and a shared concern about
the state of the world.

She had known him for years –
had enjoyed brief, happy encounters
with him on her favorite walk
along the bay, beside the rocks –
– their cameras at the ready –
as they clicked photos and talked.

She had known him for years –
then one day he asked if she’d heard
of the Dominionists. She said no,
she didn’t think so.
He reminded her she was a Christian
and he said she must know.

(She had known him for years.)
“The Dominionists are Christians
just like you are,” he said.
“They think the more children bred
the closer the men are
to God after they’re dead.”

(She had known him for years.)
“You know all Christian religions
are just exactly the same, ”
he said, “Patriarchal and lame.”
She told him her way of life
was actually founded by a dame.

(She had known him for years.)
She said the teachings she followed
believed God was, literally, Love.
An old geezer sitting in the clouds above
was not her idea of God, she said.
(And she wondered to herself
why he didn’t know this about her…

…She had known him for years.)
“We have the same thoughts about fears,
greed, over-population,” she named
the things they had both blamed
for the current state of the world. But
“You and I are nothing alike!” he exclaimed,
his face turning red.

She had known him for years –
this friend from her walks.
Now she laughed out loud because
that is what she does
when something strikes her
as completely ridiculous.

She had known him for years –
and her feelings of friendship towards him
weren’t going to change because this time
he’d chosen to see what made them different.

Love is what is true;
the rest is just nonsense.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

love is what is true

 

“Rudeness is merely the expression of fear.”

“Rudeness is merely the expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.”
– M. Gustave in The Grand Budapest Hotel

What is it that makes us, as human beings, proud of our anger – proud to have “told someone off”? I’ve come to believe it’s all about ego, really – wanting to prove we are somehow better, braver, stronger than other people. And I’ve come to see that a) in my own experience, yelling at other people has never seemed to convince them I was right, or changed their ideas about stuff, and b) it doesn’t take a whole lot of courage, really, to spout off one’s opinions and beliefs, and cuss and swear and be rude.

It is my belief that it takes a lot more chutzpah to love – it takes a lot more courage to trust in each other’s good will and humanity, than it does to scream obscenities at each other. In fact, when I think about it – the times when I’ve been the rudest are the times when I’ve been the most scared that I wasn’t going to “get my share” or I was going to be left out somehow, or forgotten or over-looked or harmed in some way.

And something in that last paragraph just made me think of a time when I found myself trying to break up a fight in a parking lot – one guy sitting on top of another punching his face bloody, banging his head into the concrete, and a ring of other guys around them – I found myself in the middle of the circle trying to yank the one guy off the other one, screaming, “Stop it! You’re going to kill him! Stop it!” Instinct (and, in retrospect, a kind of foolishness) had put me in the middle of that circle – there’d been no thought given to what I was doing, and so I can’t claim any special kind of courage there. But – and here’s the part that still gives me a kind of awe when I think about it – after security guards had hauled away the brawlers I stepped back and found that another woman – the parent of one of my former students – had stepped into the circle with me. I remember saying to her, in a kind of wonder, “You’re here, too!” And she said, “I wasn’t going to let you stand here all alone.” She HAD thought about what she was doing – she HAD made a conscious choice to put herself in harm’s way for another human being. She hadn’t screamed. She hadn’t yelled. She’d just stood there beside me. Now THAT was courage. Oh gosh. I’m tearing up right now as I think about it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“There is too much animal courage in society and not sufficient moral courage.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
– Gandhi

“Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.” 
– Gandhi

“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
– Gandhi

(Originally published November 2014 under the title “So, like, when did bitchy become a good thing?”)

“…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

 

 

Cast Thy Burden…

Earlier in the school year, at a workshop for teachers, this twenty-something man conducting the workshop said something like, “You know, we all have parents we can turn to when we need help…” and I felt myself suddenly and overwhelmingly filled with a huge sense of loss and grief. My nose and eyes started filling with snot and tears.  I had to get up and leave the room.

No, I was thinking, we don’t all have parents we can turn to when we need help. My mom is dead, and my 99 year-old dad needs me to be there for him now – not the other way around. I’m responsible for his health and safety and finances and well-being.  No, I thought, don’t assume that everybody in that room has parents they can turn to for support. As I sobbed, and blew my nose into a wad of toilet paper in the bathroom – feeling all sorts of sorry for myself – I was thinking the days when I had a mother and father to turn to for help were gone for me.

But the other day, as I was contemplating the nature of God, Love, this thought came to me: God is responsible for me. It was a really simple thought, but I found it wonderfully comforting.  “God is responsible for me,” I said out loud to myself, and turned the idea of it over in my thoughts, examining it. God made me, maintains me, governs, and guides me, I reasoned. I am here because of God, and for God. I am God’s, and God is mine – my Mother and Father. I can nestle safe and secure in Love’s arms and trust She will take care of me.  God, Love, is where I can always turn when I need help.

A sense of burden was lifted from me in that moment, and a sense of peace filled me. The false sense of responsibility I’d been feeling for everyone I come in contact with dissolved. I realized God, Love, is responsible for ALL Her children – Dad, my sons, husband, friends, students, colleagues, strangers on the street, and, yes, me, too.  In that moment it was clear to me that I’m not alone, on my own, here. We really DO all have a Father-Mother we can turn to when we need help.

It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
– Psalms 18:32

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
– Psalms 100:3

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee…
– Psalms 55:22

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings…
– Deuteronomy 32:11

Two eagles in a nest in Bow, WA. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Two eagles in a nest in Skagit County, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.