When the Traffic Lights Don’t Work (and we don’t have a leader)

The power was out yesterday and some of the traffic lights weren’t working. But something really cool happened: At each traffic light I witnessed people being courteous to each other, taking turns, allowing those cars stuck on side streets to come into the flow. At one point the driver of the car to the left of me stopped to allow a car on a side street to enter traffic. In order for the car on the side street to enter, I had to stop, too, though – we all had to work together to help the car on the side street get into the flow.  There was no one directing traffic – no one standing in the intersection telling us when to go. But somehow we managed to take care of each other. 

And that’s what America looks like to me right now, too. We don’t have anyone directing traffic. We don’t have a leader who’s trying to help the people on the side streets get into the flow. We don’t have a leader who’s telling us when to stop, and showing us how to take turns and behave ourselves. We’re having to do that for ourselves.

What an incredible opportunity to find out who we are as human beings.

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I Feel Her With Me

I feel her with me –
whenever I think of her,
she’s here. I feel her
when I’m kind and doing
something nice
for someone else.
I don’t feel her as eyes
watching me. Or as a ghost.
I don’t feel her as a physical
being at all. But I feel
the essence of her.
And I think she’s helping
me understand more
about who we are, really.
Not limited beings trapped
in these bodies, you know?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Power to Transform the World

My dear Humoristian hooligans,

I’ve found that just when I’m feeling the most discouraged, the most battle-weary, the most ready to slip into morosity (I’m pretty sure that’s a word, right?) something or someone will suddenly appear to remind me that the world is still full of magic and beauty. Yesterday it was snow geese, trumpeter swans, a reflection in a flooded field, and a son appearing unexpectedly at the door with a grin on his face and a caring heart. Today it was a drive I hadn’t been planning to take with Dad. And some days it’s YOU. Yes, YOU. I wonder if you realize all the times a kind word or a moment of shared laughter has brought me back from the brink. There is such power in kindness. There is such power in a loving gesture. You have the power to transform the world.

May your kindness reach the desolate and lonely; May your sense of humor light on those in desperate need of a good laugh; May your good-natured love of life transform the stodgy, stingy, and stuffy.

Amen.
Karen

Mount Baker, a Red Barn, and a Reflection

Mount Baker reflected in a flooded field in Bow, Washington. (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Dear Humoristian Hooligans, thank you…

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

2017 has been kind of a challenging year, and it’s made me all the more grateful for you. Our world has been blessed by you. Thank you for bringing laughter into a world in sorry need of a good laugh. Thank you for your kindness, and your honesty. Thank you for caring. May your irrepressible good humor and love of life continue to bring magic to our planet. You were made for these times. You are meant to be here.

Karen

Beloved children, the world has need of you, —and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives.
– Mary Baker Eddy

perfect-time

Sexual Harassment

Dear class,

I’m wondering how many upstanding, well-meaning men are looking back on their lives right now and trying to remember if they’ve ever unintentionally done anything that might be seen as sexual harassment. And if you’re one of those men who’s going through the files in your head – trying to remember if you’ve ever done something that might have caused someone else to feel uncomfortable or awkward – bless your heart. I’m guessing you’re no Sen. Moore or Harvey Weinstein. I’m pretty sure neither of those guys have ever spent a lot of time going through the files in their heads, self-reflecting. (And if you found you’ve done something you now regret, don’t do it again, okay? Onward and upward.)

On another note – it might be helpful if we could all identify the difference between flirting and harassment: I think sexual harassment is a one-sided thing – one person gets something from someone else without regard to what that other person wants or needs. Sexual harassment leaves the victim feeling humiliated, disrespected, and/or repulsed. Flirting, on the other hand, is a back-and-forth thing – everyone involved WANTS to be involved.

Be kind to one another. Be thoughtful. Be decent. Do right by each other.
– Mrs. T.

The Power in Kind Moments

Went to pay the bill for my internet provider today. And ohmygosh! It was like going to a free comedy show! There were two women behind the counter and they were like a comedy team. The one on the left (I can’t remember her name and you’re going to understand why that’s really embarrassing in a moment) looked up at me and said, “Karen, right? I can’t remember your last name, though…” My mouth fell open. How in the world did she even know my first name?! Wave Broadband has, like, thousands of customers, right? So I told her my last name, and then asked her how she knew my name – told her she was brilliant. And this is when the woman on the right started shaking her head and made some crack – basically, agreeing with me that her partner is a genius – but agreeing in such a comical way that I started laughing out loud.

I mentioned that I’d heard they were moving tomorrow to a new location. And the one on the left – the brilliant one – said, “Yes, we’re moving to the main street – right across from where you used to go for your coffee…” Again, my mouth fell open.

The woman on the right shook her head again, and said, “Kind of creepy, isn’t it?” and got me laughing again.

And then the one on the left said, “I have a really good memory, and I especially remember the people who are nice to me.”

“I was nice to you?” I asked, trying to remember…

And she said, “Yes, one time you got here just as I was closing the office to go to lunch, and you were really understanding about it. A lot of customers get angry, but you were really nice and just said you’d come back later.”

The one on the right said something else to crack me up at this point – she had that straight-faced dead pan humor – and we all wished each other a good day and parted with good will towards each other.

It’s amazing the power in kind moments.

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