These Cosmic Connections

Something really amazing happened this morning. And just when I really needed it, too.

I think I need to back up for a moment to 2011. Eight years ago I was in a transition between one job and the next. It was a scary, exhilarating, audacious, crazy wonderful time for me – rich with possibilities. I was unfettered and open to whatever new opportunities came my way – ready to create a whole ‘nother career for myself. For the first time I went to a counselor – and she helped me discover for myself what it was I needed to do to bring sanity to my life – what I needed to discard, and what I needed to nurture. My financial advisor (of all people!) suggested I meet a local woman named Laura Lavigne – the originator of the Happiness Sprinkling Project – and Laura showed me how to make a vision board for myself. Creativity moved up to the front of my life – photography and writing and music.  The insane stuff – nonsensical edicts (stuff like that scene from Office Space), schedules and bureaucracy, fear and anxiety – got tossed.

And, once I opened my thought to all the infinite possibilities, cool things started happening: I was offered a small salary to work as my church’s Reading Room librarian; I got a contract to proofread and write for an educational publishing company; I made note cards of my photos and started selling them at a little coffee shop; my book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist, was bringing in a small amount in royalties every month. I wasn’t making a LOT of income at first – it was more of a symbolic income, really – but it was enough to give me hope that there was something waiting for me beyond the career I’d left behind. And soon I was offered another job, teaching at an alternative high school, that brought my life purpose and great joy for the next seven years – until I retired last June.

Which brings us to today and the amazing thing that happened this morning.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning and went downstairs to feed the cats and check out the news online. The news was disheartening. Greed. Corruption. Dishonesty. Crises. And I felt myself getting discouraged and going to that dark place – asking myself what in the heck we’re doing here, and what’s the purpose of it all, and etc.

Still feeling discouraged, I went to my Facebook notifications and found there was a message waiting for me on my Author and Photographer page from a woman named Floriane. Floriane wrote: “Hi! Just wanted to reach out to you because I purchased a picture of yours in 2011 while stopping on a Greyhoud bus from Vancouver to Seattle. I love it to this day and wanted to say thank you.”

Whoah. I tried to figure out where Floriane might have found one of my photos to purchase, and asked her for more details. She sent me a picture of the photo she purchased and told me she remembered buying it at a coffee shop while she was traveling around on her own for two weeks – moving between Vancouver and Seattle and Portland – before starting an exchange program in Texas. She said the photo is now in Normandie and will soon be in Paris. Like. France. Yes. My little photo note card of Bellingham Bay will soon be in Paris, France.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this was one of the cards I sold at the coffee shop during the months I was transitioning from one career to the next. I’d almost completely forgotten about those note cards and that little coffee shop. But look what that card did for me! It connected me to a woman who lives across the Atlantic, on another continent, 5,000 miles away! I never could have seen THAT one coming.

Cosmic.

What in the heck are we doing here? We’re sharing joy and beauty with each other, that’s what we’re doing. And what’s the purpose of it all? To connect and discover each other, and bring each other hope and love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

A Waltz in the Park

(I originally published this on the Bellingham Bay Blog – but I thought it might fit well here, too. :))

Something really magical happened in Bellingham this morning – actually, many magical things happened in Bellingham this morning, but let’s start with THIS one:

As I was walking along the shore in Boulevard Park I looked across the green and saw a man on the other side, in the parking lot, moving in a way that made me think he was maybe doing tai chi. I love how people move when they’re doing tai chi and I’d like to learn how to do that myself – so I started trying to follow his movements – I raised my arm when he raised his arm, I turned when he turned – and at some point he recognized what I was doing and we smiled at each other across the park. When I walked around the park to the other side I thanked him and then… I’m not sure how this happened, exactly – but the next thing I knew he’d raised his hand to mine and we were dancing! In the parking lot. At Boulevard Park. That’s what he’d been doing all along – he’d been dancing! I could hear the music then – it sounded like an Asian waltz – I know I’m not explaining this well, but… the notes were D, F, G, B flat, G… for those of you who have a scale in your head. (“A Scale in Your Head” would make a great title for a book, wouldn’t it?)

It was cosmic!. We danced around the parking lot for a few minutes. And then I thanked him – he smiled – I don’t think he spoke English – and let me take a picture of us together.

I was still thinking about my waltz in the park when I got to the parking lot above the boardwalk. And then this deer walked across the road – and a little spotted fawn suddenly appeared, too, skipping along behind her. All of us who were walking along the road just stopped and watched them pass. “Well, THAT was magic,” I said. And this man smiled at me and said, “Isn’t that a great way to start the day?!”

And there was an eagle – soaring right above me! And… and… well, here are some pictures from my morning…
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

During My Break

I’m never sure when my break is going to come at work. Today it came at the beginning of the day. I decided to take a quick walk down to the market to get a little exercise and maybe buy some snack to bring back to school.

At the bottom of the hill this man came around the corner and we smiled at each other. He opened up the door to the little barber shop that I pass on my way to the store, and went inside. I remember someone once telling me that the other “Molenaar” in the valley owns that barber shop. So – I couldn’t resist, right? – I opened the door and stuck my head in and asked if there was, by any chance, a man named Molenaar in there. “Yeah,” another barber said. “He just walked through the door…”

At that moment the man I’d exchanged smiles with came out of a back room. I asked him if his name was “Molenaar” and he said it was. I told him I am a “Molenaar,” too. That surprised him – “How could that be?!” he asked. I told him there are gazillions of us in the Netherlands. He smiled and he asked me if I’m the “Molenaar” that sometimes writes letters to the paper – he said people always wonder if we’re related – if I am his sister or something. I told him that I was, indeed, that Molenaar. I told him that I’d met his daughters at sporting events when my own sons were involved in sports (his daughters are all athletes), and he nodded and seemed happy to hear that. Then he asked me if my dad was the climber – and I said yup. He said his uncle was good friends with my pop, and told me his uncle’s name – and for the first time I realized that my dad’s dear friend, N. Molenaar, was related to the local barber! Whoah. I never would have made that connection if I hadn’t wandered into that barber shop this morning.

I continued on my walk to the store. There was a group of men hanging out on the corner carrying on a lively conversation with each other – they looked like maybe they’d spent the night outside and were just waking up. I passed them and said hi and went into the store to find something to snack on. I bought a can of mixed nuts and came out of the store. I said hi, again, to the men on the corner. One of them asked me if I could buy him a mocha or maybe give him a dollar – he made a point of saying he wouldn’t spend it on alcohol or drugs – said he was going into rehab soon. I figured a mocha sounded like a better deal for him than a dollar.

So I went back into the store. There were two women standing in front of the espresso stand – a friendly-looking red-headed lady, and an equally friendly-looking blond-haired lady. We chatted for a while while they ordered and got their drinks, and then I ordered the mocha for the man standing on the corner and a small cappuccino for myself.

I came out with the coffees and went back to the corner, but the man had disappeared. “Where’s the fellow who wanted the mocha?” I asked his friends. They kind of looked around and noted that “Joey” was gone. Then one of them saw him standing in front of the store I’d just left.

“Joey!” I called to him. “What are you doing over there?!” (I was using my high school teacher voice now.) He looked over and saw me and came up to get his mocha from me. He thanked me, and thanked me again, and told me he was going to “pay it back” and buy someone else a coffee now.

As I passed his friends at the corner, they all wished me a good day. One of them met my eyes and said, “Thank you for doing that for Joey. Thank you.” And there was something so sincere and kind in the way he thanked me for buying his friend a coffee that it really touched my heart.

And then I went back to work.

A lot of really cool things can happen in twenty minutes.

Snippets from the Week

Highlights from the week…

humoristianity

A caregiver came in to wake my 97 year-old Dad up and tend to him this morning. “Don’t wake me up. I’m having a dream that I’m driving,” he said.

***

Uprising at The Home: Apparently Moz is rabble-rousing at the retirement home. “Yam chips are not supposed to be served cold,” Moz told me indignantly, and then told me that she let the cook know her feelings about this matter. She said the other ladies at her table in the dining hall agreed with her. “We need to make our voices heard!” Moz told them.

Right on, Moz! Power to the people!

***

I have discovered a new espresso place near Moz and Dad’s – a cheery little walk-in. After I’d ordered my lavender-flavored green iced tea I turned around to find a place to sit while I waited for it, and settled myself into a comfy chair. It was…

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