For I Am Persuaded that…

For I am persuaded that
neither times of the month
nor times of the year;
neither astrological signs,
nor doubts, nor fear;
neither what’s far away,
nor what lies near;
neither what’s in the past,
nor what’s now and here;
neither war nor pandemic,
nor loss nor tears
can separate us from Love
and all that’s dear.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Topped Tulips

Spring has always meant renewal for me – a time of new growth and baby things and the smell of blossoms. But I found myself feeling this deep sense of loss today as I drove the backroads to take one last look at the tulip fields.

I remembered driving around with my centenarian dad in the car just a few years ago – sharing the sights of Skagit County with him. I remembered chauffering Mom around to her appointments – and I remembered that day when she was trying to remember all the birds she’d seen so she could tell her friends about them: “Trumpeter swans and snow geese and herons.” I remembered the swans that were in that field at the beginning of April, spreading their wings for me. And I remembered the waves of snow geese that were here just weeks ago.

And now the tulips are topped, and the swans and snow geese have started their journey back north, and Moz and Dad are no longer here with me in their human bodies. And for a time today I felt this deep ache when I thought about the loss of all these beautiful forms.

Of course, the essence of all these things – the tulips and the swans and the snow geese, and Mom and Dad – is still with me. And I’m going to consciously wrap myself up in the love and joy and beauty and rejoice. But sometimes… sometimes there’s an ache.

topped tulips stand stark
trumpeter swans are gone now
April brings mourning

All That Is Gone

tulip petals in the lawn
no more trumpeter swans
my parents have moved on
spring is supposed
to be the dawn
of seasons, new growth,
lambs and fawns,
but today I’m remembering
all that is gone
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“…our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Topped Tulips in Skagit County, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Loss Brings Love

teaches me there is no separation
in Love
there is no space between
Good and me
Loss shakes old beliefs
shakes off what is untrue
and makes me look at everything new
What’s left is real
what’s left is true

Love brings loss
Loss brings Love
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

April: Indian Memorial at Little Bighorn, MT

Taking Down the Tree

Taking down the Christmas tree
seemed especially hard for me
this year.
Every ornament brought back
memories – sweet and dear –
as I wrapped them up (both
the ornaments and the memories)
and packed them in the Christmas sack.

Ornaments Mom left me after she passed.
Ornaments from former students in my class.
Ornaments our sons made of pop-sickle sticks
and glitter, macaroni and beads.

I felt the loss.

And I know. I know. I know.
I know all the things you want to say:
I know that Good is never really gone-
It’s here to stay
It lives on –
in our memories. I know Love never ends –
and I should be grateful for all the family,
all the friends,
all the love I’ve known in my life.

But as I take down the tree
I’m missing you especially.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Christmas Lights

My Address Book

I brought out the old address book this weekend to work on my Christmas cards. I’ve had that book about 30 years – I can no longer remember exactly where I got it or when  – but when I first started writing names and addresses in it I’m sure I didn’t realize how significant it would one day become to me. It has become a chronicle of sorts – a record of friendships and family ties.

My mom was the youngest of ten children and my dad the middle of three – at one time I had 11 aunts and uncles  – and their names and addresses are still in my address book, though they are all gone now – Mom and Dad are the only ones remaining in their generation. As I l started flipping through my address book, this was brought home to me. “I don’t have any more aunts or uncles to send Christmas cards to,” I told my husband, sort of in shock.  My cousins, Julie and Skip and Chris, are gone now, too. And Craig and Mark. And I’ve lost friends through the years – Kim has passed, other friends have moved away and on, and I’ve lost my connection to them.

For a moment I was overwhelmed by sadness as I realized how many dear ones are no longer walking this earth with me.

But then, as I started working my way towards the back of each alphabetized section, I started finding more recent names and addresses – a record of new friendships and a younger generation of family members with their own homes.  There was something about that discovery that lifted the sadness from me a little. Yes, I’ve lost loved ones through the years, but I’ve also gained new friends and new family. In the last ten years I’ve added the names of new friends living all over the world – people I’ve met through the internet or through my books  – addresses  for new friends in Minnesota, Michigan, Florida, Ontario, Nova Scotia, England, Kenya – people I never could have imagined knowing when I first got my address book all those years ago.

Although the book is pretty full now, I am happy to note there is still room for more addresses, more friendships. There will always be room in my address book. If I have to, I’ll just tape in more pages.  It’s cool to think of all the new names and addresses my address book might hold in the future.