I Have Been a Lot of People in My Life

I Have Been a Lot of People in My Life

I have been a lot of people in my life –
I’ve been the daughter, the sister, the wife,
mother, grey-haired lady, and young lass.
I was once the littlest girl in my class –
thought too skinny by some
who couldn’t see that playing was more fun
than eating. I won the blue ribbon
for the broad jump and the dash in fourth grade.
I was the queen of multiplication tables
in the fifth grade, and in sixth grade
my teacher said I “ran like a deer.”

I was the new girl in school that year
and someone wrote “brainbucket sits here”
on my desk. Then I was the nerdy girl
in black frame glasses who weighed
more than 100 pounds and thought she was fat
and my eighth grade PE teacher said,
“We finally found something you’re good at”
when I was always the last one standing
in the volleyball elimination games –
she didn’t see that I ran like a deer.

I was shy in high school, but some people
thought I was a snob –
I saw myself as an unmemorable blob.
I was Karen when Karen Valentine
was everyone’s favorite ingénue
and I was Karen when it meant something else, too.

I’ve been chubby, pretty, plain, dazzling,
athletic, awkward, confident, insecure,
dull, creative, boring, funny, judgmental,
self-centered, open-minded, and generous.
And I guess “I” am still all of those things –
depending on who’s looking at me.

But the I who’s not in quotation marks
is what God, Love, sees
when She looks at me.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Karen Reflects on True Identity

“The sense of identity is the root of all suffering.”
Mooji, Vaster Than Sky, Greater Than Space

Your true identity does not depend upon
a job title or a five-star review or your age
or the money in your bank account
or how many followers you have on your page
or your gender, weight, height, skin color, or name,
or your religion, political party, family or fame.

Your true identity is eternally held and maintained
safe in Love and Truth, free from shame.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen to Andrew: I’ve lost my parents; I’ve lost my youth; I’m losing my hearing; I’ve lost my beauty; I’m not a teacher anymore; now even my name stinks.
Andrew: You know what comes next?
Karen: The grave?
Andrew: (Laughing.) Nah, you get closer to God.

I just had a HUGE breakthrough, my friends! Lately I’d found myself feeling some negative bias towards people who used my name as a synonym for a white supremacist anti-mask Trump supporter. I’d come to believe that those who use “Karen” as a pejorative were not original thinkers, tended towards bigotry, were prone to labeling and stereotypes, enjoyed deriding and laughing at others, were bullies, and were unkind. BUT…

NONE OF THAT is the truth about ANY of us! If I accept that lie about even ONE of God’s children, I am allowing myself to get pulled into a whole tangled rat’s nest of nonsense – that, in the end, is going to bring me nothing good.

“When we identify ourselves with the sense of personhood, we are much like a wave on the surface of the ocean. Rather than resting in the vast space of pure Being, we become identified with some kind of passing event, thought, or emotion – perhaps a wave of anger, a particular role in our life, or even our entire sense of personhood.”
Mooji, Vaster Than Sky, Greater Than Space

“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’ Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Quotes on “identity” from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:
“The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal.” (70)
“The one Spirit includes all identities.” (333)
“The universe reflects God. There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected.” (503)
“The divine Mind, not matter, creates all identities, and they are forms of Mind, the ideas of Spirit apparent only as Mind, never as mindless matter nor the so-called material senses.” (505)
“This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man’s absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace.” (265)
“The loss of man’s identity through the understanding which Science confers is impossible; and the notion of such a possibility is more absurd than to conclude that individual musical tones are lost in the origin of harmony.” (217)
“Error supposes man to be both mental and material. Divine Science contradicts this postulate and maintains man’s spiritual identity.” (287)
“Breaking away from the mutations of time and sense, you will neither lose the solid objects and ends of life nor your own identity.” (261)
“The material body and mind are temporal, but the real man is spiritual and eternal. The identity of the real man is not lost, but found through this explanation; for the conscious infinitude of existence and of all identity is thereby discerned and remains unchanged.” (302)
“Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love.” (477)

An alpine butterfly flits among the flowers on Table Mountain. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

The Humbling

Unfed, shred, and shed
every humbling shrinking
the ego until it loses all
hold, all importance, all
power and perspective
shifts and what’s true
emerges from the tatters.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

And maybe someday I will say more about that. 🙂

I Am Bow Eyes and Rudder Pivots

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
– Aristotle

So a couple summers ago I bought an outdoor patio set – four deck chairs and a glass-topped table. All of these pieces of furniture needed assembly to actually become chairs and a table. But how hard could it be to put these things together, right? I was not ascared. I got out my trusty screwdriver and set to work. When I was finished I am proud to say that I had four dandy deck chairs and a glass-topped table that actually looked like four dandy deck chairs and a glass-topped table.  You could actually sit in the chairs. The legs actually pointed down instead of up. You could actually put stuff on top of the table without it collapsing.

The fact that I had a couple screws left over when I was all done did not concern me at all. Or only a little. 🙂

I saved the left-over screws. By themselves, of course, those left-over screws aren’t worth much – but maybe someday I’ll need them in another project – maybe someday they’ll be a part of something really cool.

I am, metaphorically-speaking, assembled patio furniture. Or… maybe a sailboat. Yeah, sailboats are awesome. I am a jaunty little  PocketShip.  I’ve got bow eyes, and rudder eyes, rudder pivots, and rudder rod keepers, anchor chocks, and CB sheaves, sails and an anchor, and a bunch of other stuff. By itself a rudder pivot or a bow eye or an anchor chock doesn’t do much – but put all the PocketShip parts together and you’ve got a vessel you can use to take you on all kinds of wonderful adventures.

I am a Christian Scientist. I am also a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a political progressive, an animal-lover, an outdoors aficionado, a photography buff, a wedding singer, and an author. Among other things. And all of those parts that make up the whole will sometimes find their way into my blog.

I’ve had Christian Scientists ask me why I post political posts on a blog titled “Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist” – and I think I can understand why other Christian Scientists might be concerned about this. There might, I suppose, be the concern that I’m trying to represent the beliefs and opinions of other Christian Scientists when I write my posts. But let me assure you, I’m not. I know there are other Christian Scientists who hold VASTLY different political views than myself. I like that about Christian Scientists. We’re not rigid monolithic automatons. The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, “The time for thinkers has come.” And that’s what those who are living Christian Science try to do: Think. And not “think” in the way of the Borg of the Star Trek shows, but as individual expressions of Love, with their own individual conscience.

Christian Science informs the lives of all who try to live it. Christian Science has given me a way of looking at the world that’s influenced and informed my writing and photography, politics, and relationships with others. If all I posted on my blog were Bible quotes and Mary Baker Eddy quotes and discussions about religion I would not be sharing all that Christian Science has given me. And so I post my posts about animals, and adventures in the outdoors, and politics, and relationships with others on my blog. Because all of those parts are a part of my life as a Christian Scientist.

The loss of man’s identity through the understanding which Science confers is impossible; and the notion of such a possibility is more absurd than to conclude that individual musical tones are lost in the origin of harmony.

This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man’s absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace.

A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity.
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

Has no one ever told you who you are?!

Has no one ever told you
who you are?!
Jeepers.
You are the child of Truth!
The image and likeness
of Love itself!
You are AWESOME!!!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
– Kathryn Stockett

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another… We are made of starstuff”
– Carl Sagan

“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees or the stars;
you have a right to be here.”
– Max Ehrmann

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 
– A.A. Milne

“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

“In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry… Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

image and likeness of Love

(Heron skimming Lake Padden in Bellingham, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Sculpting Our Lives

The sculptor turns from the marble to his model in order to perfect his conception. We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it?… Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually… We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love – the kingdom of heaven – reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

Ah hah! Now I can see –
that that’s not the truth about me!
An impatient, sad, and fearful she
has nothing at all to do with me.

I am Love’s joyous, happy child –
giving and free and kind and mild

Right where I am – right now and here
I have all that I need and nothing to fear
In this moment I’m safe, with all that is dear.
I’m surrounded in Love and full of good cheer.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

“Know thyself…”

Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Have you ever been accused of something you didn’t do? Have you ever been accused of THINKING something you weren’t thinking, or of being motivated by something that wasn’t motivating you?

Yeah. Most of us have probably found ourselves in that position at one time or another. I know I have. In fact, I know this kind of thing happened 2000 years ago, too, because there are references made to it in The Bible. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour…” is one of the ten commandments, after all. And the story of Job is pretty instructive in this regard: There was Job, afflicted with all kinds of crap – disease and pain and horrific loss. And there were his three “friends” – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – all having a great deal of fun plastering Job with labels, and telling him that God had brought these troubles to him because he deserved them somehow.  Zophar says: “But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.”

Ooh baby!

But in the story, Job knew his innocence. He recognized his real identity.

And this all brings me to Chris, a young man I met in Bellingham a few weeks ago.  I saw Chris standing outside the restrooms at the top of the ramp leading to the boardwalk, and smiled and wished him a good morning. He wished me a good morning back and then told me he was homeless and asked me if I had any money I could give him to buy breakfast. I invited him to join me on my walk and told him I’d buy him breakfast down at the coffee shop in the park. The park is about a mile away, so Chris and I had a lot of time to chat. He told me he hadn’t finished high school – and I told him about a program I knew of that could help him get his diploma at the local community college. He told me about his favorite high school teachers – an art teacher, a special education teacher, and a math teacher –  and said that he enjoys making art and writing. And then he shared a piece of life-wisdom that I thought was worth preserving for posterity – and that he graciously allowed me to record on my camera. (Click on the words highlighted in blue to hear Chris’s life-quote.)

Chris explained his quote this way: “Be known in life for what you do do, and not for what people say you do.”

And that – right there! – is a man who recognizes his identity isn’t based on what other people think of him. He isn’t going to let other people define who he is.  And neither should we.

defining you

This Is Not Who You Are

“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you ‘What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?’ Instead they demand ‘How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?’ Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

not who you are