Thinking About Kindness

Thinking about kindness this morning. Thinking about the who, what, why. and when of it.

Who? I’m thinking I need to be showing kindness to everyone, without distinction. Kindness shouldn’t just be shown to people who belong to the right political party, or religion, or ethnicity, or gender, or whatever. Kindness should be shown to everyone, regardless of (fill in the blank). And yes, it should even be shown to (fill in the blank).

What does kindness look like? I’m thinking it’s mostly seen in the little things – in a smile, in a word of encouragement and appreciation, holding the door open for the person behind you, slowing down so a car can merge in front of you, buying someone a cocoa or a coffee on a cold day, saying hi to a stranger who looks in need of a friendly greeting.

Why should we be kind? Because, really, kindness is the basis for whatever is moral and ethical, isn’t it? You’re not going to cheat, steal, or murder when you’re kind.

When should we be kind? Well. Always, right? Kindness shouldn’t be withheld until it’s been “earned.” Kindness shouldn’t come with any expectation or agenda at all.

So. That’s what I’m thinking about this morning.

 

 “God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love. Lavish it upon the poor, where it is very easy; especially upon the rich, who often need it most; most of all upon your equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we each do least of all. There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure. Give pleasure. Lose no chance of giving pleasure.”
– Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World

be-kind-2

Caring for Our Environment

There are not “two sides” to global warming. It is not a partisan issue, and it shouldn’t be a political one. The future of our species is at stake. Let’s move beyond politics, people. Sheesh.

***

“Is it correct to say of material objects, that they are nothing and exist only in imagination?

“…My sense of the beauty of the universe is, that beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired…

“Even the human conception of beauty, grandeur, and utility is something that defies a sneer. It is more than imagination. It is next to divine beauty and the grandeur of Spirit. It lives with our earth-life, and is the subjective state of high thoughts. The atmosphere of mortal mind constitutes our mortal environment. What mortals hear, see, feel, taste, smell, constitutes their present earth and heaven…

“To take all earth’s beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God’s creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: ‘I love your promise; and shall know, some  time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly…'”
Miscellaneous Writings, Mary Baker Eddy, p 86-87

Psalms 96: 11-12
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. 
 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.

Isaiah 60:13
The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

Isaiah 61: 4
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

***

(Time‘s issue on global warming brought me some hope. I highly recommend it.)

(All photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

 

 

 

 

 

I Exist for Love

I was made by Love
Made for Love
Made to do the will of Love
and to fulfill Love’s purpose
That is why I’m here
and when I realize that
it changes EVERYTHING
In an instant everything shifts –
my thoughts take wing
I feel them lift and join with
something bigger than me
and it’s no longer about my
desires, my wants, my
complaints big and small.
None of that matters at all.
I exist for Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

love-hath-made

The Beginning Times

Had an interesting exchange with a man at the supermarket today. I was sitting on a bench, waiting for my husband, and a man came up and asked if he could join me. I said, “Absolutely! Have a seat!”

He talked about the rain. And then he said something about the mess the world is in. And THEN he said, “I’m a Christian and we believe the world is in the end times.”

I smiled at him and nodded. “I’m a Christian Scientist and we believe we should heal it,” I said.

And then my husband appeared. I smiled back at the nice man on the bench and went to join my spouse.

The End.

Or… The Beginning.

***

“There are people praying for the world to end. We don’t want to destroy the world – we want to heal it.”
– Harvey Wood (his words as remembered by me)

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

moonrise over baker maybe this one also 2 really

Thoughts on Vaccinations

A friend recently asked me if I would post my thoughts about vaccinations. Here they are:

Because I’ve always identified myself as a Christian Scientist – and a lot of people think of Christian Scientists as “the ones who don’t go to doctors” – I’ve often been asked if I had my children vaccinated. The short answer is yes. (I’ve also had vaccinations myself – right after my oldest son was born I was vaccinated for rubella; I went in for a tetanus shot once when I fell kiester-first through a hole in the porch and snagged my legs on rusty nails as I was going down – I still crack up every time I think about that adventure – I am such a doof; and several years ago I voluntarily went to the doctor and got the pertussis vaccination to help alleviate the fears of the people around me when I began working at a high school during a time when pertussis was running rampant through my state. [As a youngster I had mumps, measles, and chicken pox – I was quickly healed of all of them – and a titer test later confirmed I carried the antibodies.])

When I took my sons in to be vaccinated I had to sign consent forms that listed a lot of possible side effects for the vaccinations, and I remember feeling frightened by what I read there. I did not sign those forms cavalierly – my sons are the most precious people in the world to me. As a Christian Scientist I used my understanding of God – of Love – to know that the vaccinations had no power to hurt my sons – that they were held safe in the arms of Love.

I should maybe add that I don’t believe God is some anthropomorphic being sitting in the clouds getting angry and throwing thunderbolts at Her children if we get vaccinated or whatever. The God I follow – Love, Truth, Life, Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit (synonyms Mary Baker Eddy gave for “God”) – isn’t concerned with that – Love is going to remain unchanging Love, and Truth is going to remain unchanging Truth, no matter what we do or think or believe.

***

“Where vaccination is compulsory, let your children be vaccinated, and see that your mind is in such a state that by your prayers vaccination will do the children no harm.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Be Kind. Be Brave. Do Good.

Dear students:

Remember during our history classes together when we talked about the Holocaust, and slavery? Remember when we watched The Grapes of Wrath and talked about how the migrant workers who came from Oklahoma to California were treated during the Great Depression? Remember when we talked about The Trail of Tears the Cherokees were forced to take? Remember how we talked about the colonization of Africa? And non-violent resistance against British rule in India? And the internment of the Japanese-Americans during WWII? And remember when we read about the prejudice and discrimination shown towards the Italians, and the Irish, and the Chinese when they first arrived in the United States?

And remember how we wondered together what we would do if we were living during those times? Would we be heroes like Schindler and Irene Sendler and Gandhi, or would we be the other people in history – the ones who just turned a blind eye to the horrors and atrocities and pretended to themselves that this wasn’t happening?

Well, now we have the opportunity to find out. We are living right this moment during one of those times in history.

Be kind. Be brave. Do good.
I love you.

– Mrs. Terrell

Ways to help –
– “Advocates say the fastest way to help immigrants separated from their children is to post bail.”
– Also: Pay for immigration lawyers; contact local law enforcement and ask that they not partner with ICE for raids or other purposes; and the usual stuff – march, writer letters to politicians, protest.

Time to Step Up

And now a poem…

Time to Step Up

All my life I have been politely
moving aside for other people.
When I was young I moved aside
for older people with more experience.
As I got older I moved aside for younger
people to GIVE them experience.
And now I’m 62 and I don’t have time
to move aside for other people anymore.
There are things I need to do.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell