Where It All Needs to Start

You know, this stuff didn’t start with Trump. The greed, the racism, the me-firstness, the bullying, the dishonesty, the corruption, the mean-spiritedness – that stuff has been a part of our society and politics for a long time – the only difference in the last couple of years is that it’s come out in the open – people almost seem proud of their hate and greed and dishonesty now. And to see all of that being played out in front of us – in the open – is disheartening, yes. But… here’s what gives me hope: It seems to me that if there’s been a rise in acts of hatred, there’s also been a rise in acts of kindness in the last couple years – people seem, to me, to be more conscious and deliberate about kindness.

And that’s where it all needs to start, doesn’t it? The healing and progress? It needs to start with us, as individuals. In our own acts of kindness to others. In our own generosity. In our own integrity.

Alrighty. That’s where I am right now. Carry on then…

kind heart

And Time Went By

“Be still and know that I am God…”
she quoted. “Be quiet… don’t do, don’t act,
don’t talk, just be still… God will take care
of it.”

And that sounded good. That sounded fine.
And so I sat in my comfy chair being
quiet and still. Not talking. Not moving.
Not doing. And time went by like this.

And then I died.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

And Give You a Mug of Chamomile Tea

I read your comment on a friend’s wall
and got all fired up about it all.
“Most rational people feel as I do,”
said you.. “If you were rational, you would, too.
Don’t criticize him. Shut up. Be quiet.”
And in my thoughts you started a riot.
 
But… but… if Love leads us to warn
when our nation’s battered and torn
by moneyed men in their positions of power
and we cover our ears and eyes and cower
and say nothing – aren’t we abandoning our duty
to our country, our God, our own humanity?
 
When you tell others to be quiet, I feel wary –
people telling others to shut up is kind of scary –
when you say “most” and make a generalization
I see bias, I see no logic, I worry for our nation.
So I wrote a response to your weird comment

I clicked on “post” and published my own vent.

And then, curious, I went to your timeline
I wanted to see your face, to see what kind
of person would write those thoughts –
wondering if you were living in some kind of box.
And my mouth fell open when I saw what I saw –
a sweet face, a sweet smile, a white-haired grandma!

My heart felt a tug –
I wanted to give you a hug
and give you a mug
of chamomile tea.
I wonder when you’ll see.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Good Morals?

I love when somebody gives me something interesting to ponder. A member of my local community recently suggested that people moved to our area because of the “good morals and values” that our community has. This got me to thinking: What is morality? Where do you find morality? What do you base your morality on? Do you think morality is limited to just certain religions or can anyone be a moral person?

I don’t think morality is limited to a specific place, people, political party, or religion. For me, people with good morals are the people who are kind to one another, and to their fellow creatures. For me, good morals are seen in honesty, integrity, hard work, generosity, compassion, and kindness. People who aren’t quick to jump off the handle and start yelling at each other, calling each other names, and threatening each other are, I believe, showing good morals. People who are able to thoughtfully reflect on their beliefs, who can admit when they’re wrong, and are more concerned about someone else’s needs than their own wants show good morality.

I was raised in what, I guess, you would call the Christian tradition. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your neighbor. Love your enemies. Feed the hungry. Blessed are the peacemakers” – these are the passages from the Bible that were emphasized in my up-bringing. But I have friends from all religions and non-religions, and from all around the world, who share these beliefs with me. I don’t think you need to be a Christian to be a good person.

My parents didn’t maybe share the same religious beliefs (and for a time they didn’t even belong to the same political party), but they shared the same values: Be kind; don’t be quick to judge; appreciate the environment and take care of it; help those in need. I’m grateful to them for passing those values onto my brothers and me.

Okay – your turn. What are your thoughts about morality?

be-kind-2

Ode to Boxing Day

Ode to Boxing Day

It’s a humble holiday, tucked in between
Christmas and New Year’s, but it’s really keen.
Things look a little bedraggled, it’s true
The tree’s a little droopy and no longer new

The movies and music of the Christmas season
Are getting on our nerves now, and we’re seeing no reason
To eat even one more sugary oversweet sweet
It’s time for broccoli and carrots (maybe hold on the beets)

The pressure for perfection comes off on this day,
the toys have been opened, and it’s come time to play.
And if before we were wearing faux holiday cheer
to blend in with the others and not Scroogey appear

It’s time now to be genuine, and honest and real.
The food banks are empty, people still need a warm meal.
The homeless and hungry and jobless and alone
still need love and care, still need a home.

So maybe we can celebrate the day after Christmas
by keeping the spirit of hope alive,
we might make that our business.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from A Poem Lives on My Windowsill

 

“I believe we are all better than this.”

I believe we are better than this

…God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
– Genesis 1: 27, 31

Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand.
– Mary Baker Eddy

The Bad Guys and the Good Guys

Do we see what we expect to see
when we look at one another?
Caricatures of the “them”
and caricatures of  the”us.”
Exaggerated images of
villains and saints – of the
stupid, ignorant, ugly, scary,
evil, threatening, noble, kind,
beautiful, brave, and wise. Cardboard
cutouts of humanity.

We better get them before they
get us, right?

 

And we build up the hate, and
ignore any efforts at friendship
and cooperation and peace.
Because where’s the fun in that?
Maybe we like being angry. Self-
righteous. Offended.  Frightened.

We better get “them” before they
get “us,” right?

The bad guys are the good guys
and the good guys are the bad guys,
depending on where you’re standing.
If A=B and B=C, then A=C
and the bad guys and the good guys are the same.

But we better get “them” before they
get “us,” right?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation? Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception?… Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect.”
– Mary Baker Eddy