Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom

Season of Shameless Plugs (Day 8):
Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom

I published this one in 2016 – shortly after Moz and Dad (Dee Molenaar) moved to La Conner to be closer to me. They were very brave during this time – leaving their home of 48 years, moving to a retirement community in Tacoma, and then to an assisted living place in La Conner – leaving their community and friends to be near me. I am in awe of them.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:
I learned a lot of lessons from the folks on my visit this weekend, but there’s one moment I’d especially like to share. To be honest, I debated whether I should share this one or not. It seems almost silly for me to share it, in a way – because it SHOULD be just a matter-of-fact thing – a “no big deal” thing, really – but… after some other news I’ve heard tonight, I feel impelled to share this moment.

So I’d helped my dad out of the car, and was helping my mom out, when I heard Dad say, “Thank you!” to someone. I looked to see what was going on back there and saw that these two young Black men with Seahawks hoodies were holding the door for Dad so he could maneuver his walker into the building. Dad nodded to the young men, and smiled, and thanked them again as I watched him go through the doors, and the young men smiled back and said, “You’re welcome!” and then went on their way.

A small, insignificant moment, really. But… and I can’t even explain why… I find myself getting teary-eyed as I sit here recalling that simple, unremarkable, sweet exchange between a 97 year-old White man, and those two young men in the hoodies.

There are a lot of really good people in this world who want to do right by each other.

I Am Tired, My Friend

Message to a friend –
Plato told us to “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I know some of the battles my friends on here have been through that you know nothing about. I’ve been through my own battles that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on a public thread. I’m going to assume YOU are going through your own battles, too – probably dealing with stuff that I know nothing about – and that is what is giving me some restraint here. I am busy enough dealing with my own flaws and foibles and don’t have time to spend working on someone else’s.

But some of the things you’ve said on my threads have, frankly, horrified me – you seem to think it’s alright for federally-funded storm troopers – people my tax dollars have employed! – to round up innocent protesters, beat them, and detain them unlawfully – and that is… I can’t even wrap my head around it. You have implied American citizens should stop using their constitutional rights because federal thugs have become violent towards them. And no – what should happen there is that the federal thugs should be the ones removed from the streets – not the protesters. In my mind, you have it backasswards – the thugs shouldn’t be in control; the law-abiding citizens should.

I am tired, my friend. Worn down by the insanity. After reading your comments and other comments by other friends on other threads, I am losing hope for my country. The last three years have exposed to me things about the people I consider “friends” that… I am, frankly, shocked and disheartened by the callous disregard for other people; the hate-mongering and fear-mongering; and the fact that some of my friends are okay with storm troopers in our streets, bullying my fellow citizens.

What has happened to common decency? To caring for one another? To reaching out a hand to those in need of support? To standing up together against bullies and bigots and thugs? What has happened to the Golden Rule?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Response to Friends Who Talk About Rioting

A couple of my Facebook friends have talked about the rioting and violence that have occurred concurrently with some of the Black Lives Matter protests. I’ve been responding individually to their comments, but I thought it might save me time if I just did a copy and paste of my last response to a friend and saved it here:

Yeah. I hear you. CHOP in Seattle was a mess – I ain’t going to disagree with you there. But… if you scroll down my wall you’ll see an interesting post about who’s actually been causing the mayhem – and, according to a story in the Washington Post, it is apparently not “antifa” – it’s been caused mostly by ‘local hooligans, sometimes gangs, sometimes just individuals that are trying to take advantage of an opportunity.’ According to the article, the alt-right “Boogaloo” movement has played a part in the violence, too.

From my own experience participating in the local BLM rally in Burlington, the only maybe threatening and intimidating element I saw there were the half a dozen Trump supporters standing off to the side with their rifles, self-appointed to “keep the peace.” The actual police officers there – whom I thanked for their support – were very calm and friendly – and the protest was entirely peaceful.

The racism and hate crimes in this country need to end. Now. None of us who are true Americans can allow it to continue for even one more day. And when the bulk of our president’s Fourth of July speech is loaded with division and hate for his own constituents – instead of the compassion and understanding we all sorely need right now – we need to call him on it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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Black Lives Matter More Than Statues

Black lives matter more than statues.
Living human beings matter more
than stone idols. The victims used
to mock and shame matter more
than the cheap laugh someone gets
from a vicious campaign.
Children separated from parents
matter more than The Wall. The health
of our planet matters more than
the wealth of CEOs. Women matter
even when they’re not incubators.
LGBTQ rights matter more
than the hate of the haters.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Another Karen for Justice and Kindness

 

Black Lives Mattered Then, Too

I just had a flashback from 40 years ago. I was on a ferry from Seattle to Bremerton – I think I’d been visiting a friend in Seattle. I was standing at the railing of the ferry by myself, looking out over the water. A good-looking young man with blue eyes approached me and started chatting. He was visiting from another state, he said. Out here to lead a meeting or a gathering – I don’t remember his exact words now. He thought I might be interested in going to this meeting. I asked him what it was about. He said he was with the KKK. I remember feeling like I’d just been kicked in the gut – thinking he did not look like what I thought a KKK member would look like – shocked that there was anyone in the KKK in Washington State – wasn’t the KKK a southern thing? I told him no, I was not interested in his meeting. He tried to convince me to join him. I remember saying something like: “The KKK is against rights for blacks. The KKK hates black people.” And he smiled this really charming smile and said that no, the KKK wasn’t about hating black people – the KKK just wanted to make sure white people had rights, too – or something like that. I told him no, the KKK is racist, and no, I was not going to go to his meeting, and I walked away.

And here we are. Forty years later. My heart is breaking.

Do we really want four more years of THIS?!

This morning’s rant. I apologize in advance for any offense this may give, but…

IS THERE ANYONE WHO REALLY WANTS ANOTHER FOUR YEARS IN THIS COUNTRY LIKE THE LAST FOUR?!!! Holy crap. It’s not just about what’s happened since COVID-19 – it’s all the other !@#$ leading up to COVID-19: Environmental protections squashed; the planet, literally, on fire; the seas rising, along with the deficit; big corporations and the CEOs who run them getting subsidized, while the poor keep getting poorer; the rise of hate crimes and racism (and all other brands of hate-ism); NAZI flags and Confederate flags in our streets; our elections tampered with by a foreign power; long-time alliances lost; treaties ended; foreign service employees and the FBI under attack by our/their own president.

And last week this happened: Our president ordered police officers to tear gas peaceful protesters and clergy so that he could stand in front of a church, holding the Bible, for a photo opportunity.

Is anybody really enjoying the path our country is currently on?!!!

Karen Molenaar Terrell

“The powers of this world will fight, and will command their sentinels not to let truth pass the guard until it subscribes to their systems; but Science, heeding not the pointed bayonet, marches on. There is always some tumult, but there is a rallying to truth’s standard. Love is the liberator.”
– Mary Baker Eddy



He Underestimated the People

He underestimated the goodness of the people of this country.
And that was his downfall.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Moon rising over Mount Baker. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell._

Moon Over Mount Baker

White Privilege: If You When You Then You

If you
don’t have to worry about looking suspicious
when you
walk around eating Skittles, wearing a hoodie
when you
go on a run through a suburban neighborhood
when you
carry assault rifles into a government building
then you
know white privilege
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Black Lives Matter Rally in Burlington, WA

I’m so glad I could be a part of the Black Lives Matter rally today. I ran into some of my favorite people: the Templetons, Bailey, Summer, Charles, and Pam. I cried (The “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant especially got to me). I laughed (when one guy gave us the finger – I pointed to my sign – “TRUTH JUSTICE KINDNESS” – and wondered what part of this he had a problem with). I waved to the people passing in cars – the support from the people in their cars really inspired me – there were a lot of thumbs up and there were a lot of horns being honked. At one point Salvation Army volunteers came through with a wagon of free water and snacks for the protesters – that was cool. As I was leaving I stopped to thank the police officers for coming and giving us their support and that’s when I saw Iris was there, too – she was chatting with the officers – and they all let me take their photo. There were also a few guys with assault rifles and whatnot standing off to the side in a clump. Not sure what they were all about – but I took their pictures, too.

So Grateful I Was Raised by These People

Missing Dad and Moz today, but so glad they’re not here to see what’s happening to our poor country.

I spent an hour today driving around to the places Dad and I used to go on our drives together – feeling the echo of his presence still there, talking to me. I had a flashback of a time when a young black man in a hoodie stopped to open the door for Dad, and I remember how Dad took the time to stop and thank him before he went into the building. It was a brief exchange – very quick – but the power of the brotherly love I felt being exchanged between Dad and the young man is still with me.

Thinking of Moz and imagining her shaking with indignation and anger at the injustice and racism we’re seeing – just as she did when I was a little girl and we encountered a racist at the Sears store. The man had nodded his head towards a little black family and said they should be shopping in their own store. When Moz understood what he was saying she was furious – “They have as much right to be here as you or me!” she told him, trembling with rage. The man realized, then, who he was dealing with in Moz and got all red in the face and scurried away. That was a moment I will never forget – it had a huge impact on me. I remember feeling very proud to be Moz’s daughter.

I remember how Moz and Dad celebrated the night Obama got elected – they were both so happy. Dad said he never thought he’d live long enough to see an African-American in the White House – his whole face was lit up with pride in his country. Moz had tears in her eyes with the joy she felt that night.

I’m so grateful I was raised by these people – so grateful I was brought up to see beyond the color of someone’s skin to what was in the heart of people. My parents gave me a kind of freedom with that.

Here’s Moz in her Obama hat. 

This picture of my mom, wearing her Obama cap, always puts a grin on my face.