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

I Don’t Know I Can’t

I Don’t Know I Can’t

I’m older than I was.
Grayer. Heavier. Slower.
But the thing is –
I don’t see myself that way.
I still do the things I did –
bike, hike, dance –
because I don’t know I can’t.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen's twirly dress

Karen in her twirly dress.

Phone Call to Nona

Nona was one of Moz’s dear friends. I hadn’t talked to her since shortly after Moz passed last February. I don’t remember much of what was said in our conversation anymore – another blur in a month of blurs. But this week, as I was working on Christmas cards, Nona entered my thoughts. I knew I needed to send her a card. She’d moved recently, and I didn’t have her current address, but I knew that Moz had talked to Nona not long before she passed on, and figured I could probably find Nona’s phone number in Moz’s address book. And sure enough – there it was!

I called. I guess I was half-expecting to hear the fragile, quavery voice of an elderly lady on the other end of the line, but when Nona answered the phone it was in the same voice I remembered from 40 years ago – strong and healthy and joyful.

“Hi, Nona – this is Colleen’s daughter, Karen…” I began. And she knew immediately who i was and seemed really happy to hear from me.

We talked about Moz, and Nona asked about my 99 year-old Dad. I told her that he’d been in and out of hospice twice now. He’d recovered from a UTI and been taken off hospice, then gotten a blood clot that I was told would kill him within a matter of months and put back on hospice. The blood clot had dissolved and disappeared on its own, and he was taken off hospice. Then he’d developed cellulitis and pneumonia. And had recovered from those things. I’d told my sons they were probably going to inherit Dad someday. The older son had said that we would just pass him on from generation to generation like an heirloom. Nona got a kick out of that. She said Dad is just like that Energizer Bunny. And I agreed.

Nona told me a little about her new home – and how she was led to find it not long after her husband died, and how beautifully everything had unfolded for her.

It was so good to hear her voice again – so good to hear the strong joyful voice of one of Moz’s contemporaries. There was something kind of fortifying and reassuring about it, you know? It was nice to be of the “younger generation” for just a few minutes.

And when we finally hung up I started sobbing.

No. I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t want to have to go back to being the grown-up.


“Sixty is the new thirty!”

“… progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil.” – Mary Baker Eddy

Ahem. At this time I would like to present to you the 600 year-old tree of Deception Pass, Washington. I’m pretty sure there is no one out there who believes this tree was better at 300 than 600, right? I bet there’s no one who would try to “compliment” this tree by telling her she looks just like she did when she was a sapling. I mean, who would want to see this tree go back to her seed? Isn’t she beautiful in her fullness of age?!


photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

It would be an understatement to say that I am now closer to sixty than thirty. And as I openly contemplate what this means to me, more than one person has informed me that “sixty is the new thirty” – like this is a good thing. But – oh lord! – I do not want to be thirty again.Seriously. I mean, really, who WOULD want to go backwards? Who would want to take retrograde steps? Who would want to regress? That person I was at thirty – I liked her – she was well-intentioned, sweet, idealistic – but I wouldn’t want to be her again – I wouldn’t want to have to go through those same lessons again or deal once again with the vanity, insecurity, and female rivalries. I have finally reached a place where I no longer spend my days worrying about ridiculous stuff like wrinkles on the brow and pounds on the scale. I have made it to the other side of caring about that crap. And there is a lovely freedom in that.

I love my spiritual development – why would I want to wish away the progress in my life?

        “In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.” – Mary Baker Eddy