Grateful for Our Connection

Back in February and March – when COVID-19 was first making the news – I had terrible fears for a loved one who was traveling though Europe. (Maybe someday I’ll share more about that.) My terror caused me to pull out all the tools I’d acquired in my life to get me through troubling times – and one of the chief tools was expressing gratitude for all the good in my life.

I remember lying in bed one night in particular – my thoughts were all agitated and I couldn’t find peace. I was just staring at the ceiling, trying to calm myself, and I started listing in my thoughts all the people I was grateful for in my life – my sons, husband, Mom and Dad, siblings, nieces and nephews, in-laws, friends from grade school, junior high, high school, university, Mount Rainier friends, neighbors, colleagues, church friends, Humoristian friends, FB friends, WordPress friends – and then I found myself including people who might not be considered “friends” – people I thought had maybe treated me unkindly or unfairly, people I’d had a rift with – and I found myself genuinely grateful for THEM, too, and for my connection to them.

It was a cosmic moment for me. I felt my connection to all of God’s, Love’s, creation – and each and every expression of Life. I knew this overwhelming gratitude that I’m not solitary and alone in this vast, infinite universe – grateful for my connection to all the infinite expressions of Life. I felt Love’s presence with me – supporting me – sure and comforting and healing and powerful. My fears dissolved away and I was able to go back to sleep.

I’m going to practice having more of those cosmic moments.

And I know those moments begin with love.

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Politicizing COVID-19

I’m guessing that pretty much all politicians – including the ones we like 🙂 – have found a way to politicize this current challenge. And I don’t blame or judge any of them for doing it – that’s what politicians do. But I think we need to be aware of it – and I think we need to each be honest with ourselves about our own biases, too. Wouldn’t it be great if people just wanted to do right by each other – without concern about political parties and agendas?

love is what is true

I Most Miss…

I most miss open smiles and hugs full of love.
I miss the waitress at the Colophon Cafe who takes
my order for African peanut soup as the music
of friends chatting and laughing at the other
tables washes over us, and bathes us in their joy.
I miss stopping to chat on the boardwalk and
meeting old friends, and new. I miss getting
to know people as we wait in line at the store,
and running into former students in the aisles.
I miss buying mochas for the stranger standing
on the corner. I miss the buskers and their music,
and the color and energy of the Farmers Market.

Here’s what I will miss when this is over –
I’ll miss the quiet roads and clean blue skies.
I’ll miss the No Car Days and the time at home
with family. I’ll miss the weeks without a schedule
and losing track of time. I’ll miss the stillness
and peace and time to reflect. I’ll miss this time
alone. I’ll miss the uninterrupted time to create
and garden and sing and think. I’ll miss the time
to catch up with correspondence, and the time
to sort and recycle the flotsam and jetsam that
washes from the mailbox and onto our kitchen
counter Monday through Saturday.

I’m going to remember to be grateful for what
I had then, and grateful for what I have now,
and grateful for what I’ll have tomorrow, too.
– Karen

Am I a fashion plate?

Taking the dog for a walk. I round the corner and see my neighbor (and former student) across the road. “Hi Michael!” I holler. He looks over and smiles and waves. “Am I a fashion plate?” I ask him. I am wearing floral-patterned garden shoes, purple knee-high socks, baggy denim capri pants two sizes too big and covered in mud at the knees from gardening, my standard black t-shirt and a black fleece jacket. Michael grins at the picture I make. “I just don’t care anymore,” I tell him, laughing.

Michael joins me in the laugh and points to his beard. “You see my beard?” he asks. “I don’t care anymore, either.”

We laugh for a moment with each other, and then wish one another a good night.

Priorities have shifted.

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For Parent Math Teachers

For all the brave parents out there who are helping their children with high school math:

After a Day Spent Teaching Math

Function notation of a linear equation
Integer, whole, irrational, and real –
What would it cost to buy this meal?
Multiplying this, and factoring that –
How many cats would fit on that mat?
Parallel and perpendicular lines in a plane
When you subtract you lessen,
When you add you gain.
Exponents and polynomials and parabolas and lines
Angles and triangles, tangents and sines
Distributive, reflexive, transitive props
Substitution really just means doing a swap.
Slope intercept form and Pythagorean theorem
how many people would fill the museum?
The minimum’s the low point, the maximum’s the high
Mathematical equations are as easy as pi.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, twitchy-eyed sometime math teacher

Essential Travel

From my place of privilege in the spring green
farmland – a place made for long, quiet solo bike
rides that begin right outside my doorstep – a place
where self-isolating has become a time of sweet
retirement for me – is it my role to judge what is
“essential travel” for that young mother enclosed
in a small apartment with rambunctious toddlers
from morning until night? Maybe that drive through
the countryside with her little ones IS essential to
her well-being. Maybe the woman in the grips of a
dark debilitating depression desperately needs to
leave her home and go for a drive so she can see
children laughing in front yards and folks mowing
their lawns, and be assured that life is still being lived.
Maybe that person we see driving on the roads hasn’t
been to the supermarket for two weeks and needs to
get groceries for another two. I can’t know what goes
on in everyone else’s life.  I can only make sure that I
make the best choices I can make in my own life –
choices that come from a place of Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell – a photo from a solo bike ride through the Skagit flats.)
bike ride this one

Quiet Time of Quarantine

Enfolded in a sense of perfect well-being
a pure peace and stillness and quiet
surrounds me as I glide on my bike past
green fields and red barns and little yellow
flowers framing the craggly snow-topped
volcano in the background. I can smell
the briny bay and the sweet new buds
on the alders and the earthy scent of the
dairy farm – familiar and comforting.
One or two cars pass me, but I am mostly
alone on this road on the flats. Is it selfish
to say that this quiet time of quarantine
has been a blessing for me? I have thirsted
for a break from the angst and agitation,
the buzzing busyness and frantic, frenetic
frightful panicked pace of politics and ego.
I am enjoying this simple time of just be-ing.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Peace, be still.”
– Mark 4:39

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“I Believe in Obeying the Laws of the Land”

To answer any questions folks might be having about how Christian Science churches are responding to government restrictions during this time of sheltering-in-place, I thought it might be helpful to bring in the words of the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: “Whatever changes come to this century or to any epoch, we may safely submit to the providence of God, to common justice, to the maintenance of individual rights, and to governmental usages…When Jesus was questioned concerning obedience to human law, he replied: ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ even while you ‘render to God the things that are God’s.’

“I believe in obeying the laws of the land.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellany (p 220)

 

No One “Deserves” to be Sick

No one “deserves” to be sick.

When I took my first trip to Europe in 1980 I was fascinated by the old buildings. Some of them were, like, 700 years old! (Where I live the oldest buildings are maybe 150 years old.) I remember wanting to get up next to them and touch them – feel the vibes of all the people who touched them before me in history.

While he was giving me a tour of historic old buildings, my Dutch friend told me that during The Black Plague the entries to villages were actually designed to keep the sick people out – the sick were left to wander without food or shelter or succor in-between the towns. They were left on their own, alone and shunned.

I remember thinking how grateful I was that our world had become more civilized since then.

Right after I got back from Europe the AIDS epidemic hit, and I saw that we maybe hadn’t become all that more civilized. I saw people being shunned again. Some preachers told their congregations that these people deserved to be sick, and deserved to die.

It was a terrible time.

And now we have this. I’m seeing a lot that is giving me hope for our world – I’m seeing people coming together in a way I’ve never witnessed to help each other. And I’m seeing some things, too, that make me realize we still have a ways to go.

NObody “deserves” to be sick. NObody “deserves” to die. No matter your politics or religion, your age or medical history, or errors in judgment – no one “deserves” sickness and death.

In reality, we are all God’s innocent children. There is no guilt attached to us – to any of us. Every moment we are fresh and new and uncontaminated. There is no disease that is more powerful than God’s love and grace.

You are Love’s precious child.