Bring Joy in with the Sad

Sitting in sadness and worry
with a free day ahead of me
I ask myself – what do I want
to do? What do I want to see?
what will bring me joy?
Photos, I think. I’ll find
swans or snow geese.
A drive with Dad.
A walk in the fresh air.
Get dressed. Get out.
Bring joy in with the sad.

I go to Dad’s and find
him asleep at the table.
I ask him if he wants
to go for a drive, he
says he wouldn’t mind.

Dad beside me in the car
we pass trumpeter swans
before we go very far
in a muddy field – Mount
Baker and a red barn
in the background – and I
pull over so Dad can gaze
at Baker, and I can take
photos of the swans
as they graze.

Next a stop at the post office –
a package for Dad there
from my cousin, Debby.
Dad pulls out a pair
of cinnamon-scented discs,
wrapped in aluminum foil.
What do you think it is?
Speculaas, he guesses,
and smiles. He slowly
unwraps the treat – foil,
plastic wrap – pulls a chunk
of soft, spicy, speculaas free
and brings it to his mouth
Is it good? Yes, says he,
and nods. I pull off a piece
for me.

Back through the flats
and fields, along the shore,
over the hill and down
the other side, past more
swans, and through town
I bring Dad back to his
home, and into the recliner.
I love you, we tell each other.

As I’m driving back to my own
home, I realize I’m not done, yet.
On impulse, I exit onto I-5
and head for Bellingham to get
my walk in the sunshine.

Seagulls – a dozen, maybe more! –
call to each other and soar
overhead as I walk down
the ramp to the boardwalk.
A little further and I spy
an otter family scampering
and playing on the rocks
A woman passes by
and I point out the otters –
she stops and we talk
for a moment about the joy
of otters – before we each
continue on our own adventures.

I reach the end of my journey
and head back and the thought
I’m thinking at that moment –
the painful pebble that’s caught
in the bottom of my mental shoe –
is, “I haven’t felt like I belonged
for fifty years” and right then
I hear a woman call my name:
Karen!
I turn and recognize a new
friend from a sharing circle I
went to a month ago in a town
forty minutes away from here
and we come together and hug
and laugh and shed a tear.

My new friend and I walk
back together through the park,
down the boardwalk, past the dock,
up the ramp – we share and talk –
and she says she’s happy we met
today and I say, “It’s magic, isn’t it?”
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

 

 

 

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We Are Made of God-Stuff

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
– Genesis 1: 27

…God is love.
– I John 4: 8

Morning prayer –
All we can be is what God, Love, made us to be – all we are made of is God-stuff. If it isn’t a part of Love then it can’t be a part of us. It’s not possible for even the teensiest tiniest piece of us to be unlike our Creator – we are perfect and beautiful and joyful and love-filled and free. Amen.
And now a hymn and a sunrise…

sunrise on the way to work (2) this one

Sunrise over Bow, WA

A Year Ago

A year ago today I was your midwife
as you labored through the transition
from this room to the next.
You worked hard to pass through
those doors – there was fear
about what lay on the other side –
but in the end you smiled and said,
“Okay.” And when you passed by me
as I slept I could feel your love and joy.
As the doors opened for you
I was touched by the light streaming
from the room beyond. Such peace.

It has been a year now. The time
has gone quickly. And someday it will be
five years, then ten, then twenty years
since I last saw you in this room. But
your presence will be with me still. Then
and now and forever.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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Moz and Einstein.

“This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Never doubt the difference you’ve made…

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

I hope you never doubt the difference you’ve made to this world. Every bit of shared laughter and love and wisdom – every moment of beauty you’ve added, and every time you’ve reached out to your fellow creatures in need – you’ve added to the momentum towards Good. Don’t be discouraged. Truth always wins in the end. Love has already won.

Today we celebrate all the good in Life! Keep shining your light, dear ones!  Onward and upward!
Karen
(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Glimmer of Pure Joy

I was in the car with Scott, listening to a radio show – there was some comedy bit about avocados and bananas, and then a story about potato gun wars between the employees of neighboring restaurants. And the guys talking were completely relaxed and enjoying themselves – there was no hint of worry about the state of the world, no mention of Donald Trump. They seemed totally free of doubt or fear. They were joyful without question, or reason. And for just a moment that silly radio show helped me transcend Trump and politics and war and fear and worry. For just a moment I felt an indescribable, effortless, fearless joy. For a moment I caught a glimmer of simple, uncomplicated happiness – a moment of heaven.  And that moment gave me hope, my friends.  I saw that this kind of joy is possible – and I remembered, vaguely, experiencing it as a child…

A glimmer of joy
pure, fearless, free, soaring high
taste of what can be
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

baby Karen in dirty dress

Dressed up to greet Dad when he gets home from work. (I’m guessing Mom went through a lot of laundry detergent.) 

 

Karen's twirly dress

Karen in her twirly dress.

 

Happiness is spiritual, born of truth and love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

 

Who has time for death?

“Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionately to their occupancy of your thoughts.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I woke up this morning feeling melancholy. Thinking about death. Steeped in gloom. Full of fear. I’ve lost a lot of people dear to me this year – and some of them have not been much older than me. Some of them have been younger. And all of that led my thoughts down a dark and dreary road as I woke to a new day – pondering the how, why, when, and where of my own demise.

***

I asked my husband what he was planning to do today and he mentioned some work he needed to do in his orchard. That reminded me that I had been hoping to dig up some crocosmia bulbs that aren’t getting enough sunshine in my Secret Garden, and transfer them to the front yard. So I grabbed a shovel and headed back to the garden. Spent some time rooting around for the bulbs and re-planted them in the front of the house. But while I’d been back in the Secret Garden I’d discovered blackberry vines trying to take over back there. And my butterfly bush and climbing rose needed some pruning. And the clematis and grape vines had gotten completely out of control. Accordingly, I fetched some pruning shears and the wheelbarrow and went back, again, to my garden to try to bring some order to the chaos.

I spent a good part of the day working outside in the fresh air, in the dirt and among the living things – digging, pruning, loading stuff up in the wheelbarrow to add to our brush pile. And while I was working I didn’t think about death for even one moment. I was on a mission. I had purpose. I had before me the vision of what the crocosmia were going to look like when they bloomed, and the hummingbirds that would be attracted to them, and the roses that would bloom on the climbing rose bush, and the butterflies that would flit among the butterfly bush branches come spring.

***

As the sun started setting, I headed out to the local supermarket to get fixings for dinner. And look what was waiting for me!

bow barn frozen pond sunset 3 this one

Now I ask you – who has time to think about death when there’s so much of Life that invites our attention?

I’ve decided my job right now is to live. I want to be where the living people are.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
– Philippians 4:8