Cleaning During a Time of Quarantine

Cleaning During a Time of Quarantine

The cleaning started with the bedroom – I vacuumed, dusted,
filled five bags full of clothes to take to the thrift shop
when it opens again someday, and washed the curtains
so they glowed golden in the sunshine from bottom to top.

Next it was the cupboard in the family room – sorting
electronics, gizmos and gadgets, a springy door stop,
a weird stretchy thing for exercising, the sons’ old toys,
and treasure! – an old card with love from Moz and Pop.

Then the closet under the stairs – a file full of paperwork
that was important once, costumes, Thomas the Tank Engine
train set, baskets full of old magazines, and board games,
an old slide projector and carousel, winter clothing in bins.

And today I awoke slowly from a lovely afternoon nap
to see curtains glowing golden in the afternoon sunlight.
Who could have guessed to find such beauty and peace
in clean light-filled curtains – in that simple sight?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“O Life Divine, That Owns Each Waiting Hour”

I went for a drive – Scott had the news on and I felt the need to go into my mental “closet” and bring my thoughts close to the presence of Love. I pulled over to watch Mount Baker turn pink in the setting sun and a song from the Christian Science Hymnal came to me – “O Gentle Presence” (with words by Mary Baker Eddy). Here’s a link to my off-the-cuff rendition. Acapella here. No accompaniment. No back-up singers who can do the actual singing for me. šŸ™‚ Just me. Probably off-key. No embellishment or anything. Thank you ahead of time for your kindness.

This line from “O Gentle Presence” especially resonates with me right now – “O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour” – I mean…think about that! God – Life, Truth, and Love – owns, manages, and governs EVERY hour – even the “waiting” ones. There is never a moment outside of Love’s control – never a moment not created by God. Those moments when we’re waiting to learn our loved ones are safe, when we’re waiting to hear the prognosis, when we’re waiting for the plane to land, or the tests to come back, or the quarantine to be lifted – God owns even THOSE moments. Whoah.
– Karen

 

Here are the lyrics to “O Gentle Presence”:

O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing to-night.
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.
O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, ā€” since God is good, and loss is gain.
Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
“Lo, I am with you alway,” ā€” watch and pray.
No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven’s aftersmile earth’s tear-drops gain,
And mother finds her home and heavenly rest.
– by Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

Fear and Living in the Moment

Here’s a Dad-lesson for the times: I once asked Dad (Dee Molenaar) what he was feeling as he careened down that slope on K2, headed for the drop over the cliff and certain death. Was he scared?

No, he said, it was exhilarating! He was totally in the moment. Enjoying the ride. He knew everything was going to go black for him soon – and knew there was nothing he could do about that – so he just settled into the moment and enjoyed it.

And when I’ve thought about his answer, I’ve realized I can relate to it. The times I’ve been most scared – most filled with unspeakable dread – are the times when I’ve focused on the future – on all the many scary things that MIGHT happen – rather than what was actually happening with me right now – in this moment.

When I’ve found myself – in the moment – facing a challenge – it’s not been scary, really. I’ve focused on the problem at hand and dealt with it.

Rock-climbing is all about the moment – I remember a piton clinking down a rock cliff when I was mid-way up a climb once – I remember looking up to the man belaying me and I remember him looking down at me – I remember the exchange of looks – I remember how quickly I faced the moment and hauled myself up that rock face. There was no time for fear. It was very cool, actually.

I remember feeling that same in-the-momentness when I gave birth to my youngest son. I’d been told, suddenly, that there were complications in the delivery and I was going to need a caesarean section. I remember being wheeled down to the operating room and Mom’s face looking at me from the foot of the gurney. I asked her to call a friend (a Christian Science practitioner) to pray and she hurried off to do that.

And, in that moment, as things were happening, I didn’t feel any fear at all. I felt this amazing since of peace envelope me. I was totally focused on the moment. I could feel the love from all the doctors and nurses – wanting only the best for me and my child – I could feel the love from Scotty and my parents, and my midwife. Everything was happening very quickly, but I felt strangely calm – I wasn’t afraid about what MIGHT happen, IF… I was living in that moment.

When I got down to the OR, they hooked me up to all these machines. I remember the eyes of the medical staff looking at the machines, then back to me, and I could see they were puzzled – and then suddenly they were all telling me to push! – like they were fans at a football game, rooting me on! And they were celebrating with me!

My baby was born the old-fashioned way that day. (But it wouldn’t have mattered, really, if he’d entered the world in another manner – the form of the the birth wasn’t important to me.) One of the surgical nurses was actually crying! She said she’d never been able to witness a vaginal birth before – and it was really beautiful.

Later I learned what the CS practitioner had told my mom that morning: “Life loves that baby!”

And I know this, for sure, Life loves ALL of us – each and every one of Her children – it doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing or what the time – it doesn’t matter if we’re on a rock cliff or on an operating table, or in quarantine or on the Moon – Love is there with us, loving us, eternally and always.

Let’s do what we need to do for each other right now, humanly. Physical distance, but not isolation – knowing that we are the very expressions of Love, loved by Love, never separated or isolated from Love. Living in this moment.
– Karen

I found this quote about fear from Eckhart Tolle really helpful to me:
“The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap…You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection – you cannot cope with the future.”
– Eckhart Tolle, from Live Real

More quotes about fear:

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.”
– Marie Curie

“…knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
– Rosa Parks

“Iā€™m not afraid of storms, for Iā€™m learning how to sail my ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott

“Become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.”
– Lady Bird Johnson

“Fear never stopped being and its action.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”
– Eckhart Tolle

 

Solace at the Cemetery

In these panicked times
In these fretful, frenzied, frantic times
I have found solace at the cemetery.
The shells of those who’ve lived
here and moved on
to whatever comes beyond
no longer need to distance themselves
from anyone, from me.
I find peace with them – the chrysalises
of my friends – Mike, Rachael, and Debby.

I wander amid the tombstones, snapping
photos of them, and the spinning wheels –
the bright spinners are the only movement
in the cemetery and I feel
drawn to the movement of their rainbow
spinning, faster and faster as I approach,
in a show just for me.

I’m allowed to be here. In the sunshine.
In the peace of the cemetery.
And no one disturbs me as I wander
through the final beds
for the shells of those who
are no longer scared of what lies ahead.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Go Outside and Look at the Stars

If you have a clear sky tonight go outside and take a gander at the stars. From our home, Venus looks HUGE tonight. The frogs are just starting to make their music. There’s peace and beauty all around us.

The stars help put everything in perspective for me. The universe is so much bigger than our problems – and I find that oddly reassuring. I always say hi to Mom when I look at the stars. And now I say hi to Dad, too.
– Karen

“The stars make night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally towards the light.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

The Second Hundred Years: Further Adventures with Dad

The sequel to Are You Taking Me Home Now? Adventures with Dad is now available as a Kindle book. The print book should be available sometime in the next couple days. The new book is called The Second Hundred Years: Further Adventures with Dad.

The book’s description: The Second Hundred Years: Further Adventures with Dad is the sequel to Are You Taking Me Home Now? Adventures with Dad. The Second Hundred Years chronicles the further adventures of well-known mountaineer, Dee Molenaar, 101, and his daughter, Karen, as they visit, take drives through the countryside together, and say good bye.