So Grateful I Was Raised by These People

Missing Dad and Moz today, but so glad they’re not here to see what’s happening to our poor country.

I spent an hour today driving around to the places Dad and I used to go on our drives together – feeling the echo of his presence still there, talking to me. I had a flashback of a time when a young black man in a hoodie stopped to open the door for Dad, and I remember how Dad took the time to stop and thank him before he went into the building. It was a brief exchange – very quick – but the power of the brotherly love I felt being exchanged between Dad and the young man is still with me.

Thinking of Moz and imagining her shaking with indignation and anger at the injustice and racism we’re seeing – just as she did when I was a little girl and we encountered a racist at the Sears store. The man had nodded his head towards a little black family and said they should be shopping in their own store. When Moz understood what he was saying she was furious – “They have as much right to be here as you or me!” she told him, trembling with rage. The man realized, then, who he was dealing with in Moz and got all red in the face and scurried away. That was a moment I will never forget – it had a huge impact on me. I remember feeling very proud to be Moz’s daughter.

I remember how Moz and Dad celebrated the night Obama got elected – they were both so happy. Dad said he never thought he’d live long enough to see an African-American in the White House – his whole face was lit up with pride in his country. Moz had tears in her eyes with the joy she felt that night.

I’m so grateful I was raised by these people – so grateful I was brought up to see beyond the color of someone’s skin to what was in the heart of people. My parents gave me a kind of freedom with that.

Here’s Moz in her Obama hat. 

This picture of my mom, wearing her Obama cap, always puts a grin on my face.

The REAL Trickle Down

The REAL Trickle Down

I doubt we’ll ever see money, wealth, and riches
trickling down from the top to the bottom –
strangely, wealth always seems to get stuck at the top.
But there’s other stuff that trickles down –
stuff I pray will stop. When a leader fans the fires
and gets the hatred burning, and uses fear and lies
– I feel a real yearning for a future that holds
wisdom, love, and understanding – a future with
a fountain of hope at the top – cascading joy
and peace, and creating a rainbow of beauty
on its way down to the base.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Rainbow Over Padilla Bay

How do you argue with Love?

You can’t argue with Love.
There’s nothing in Love to insult, offend or attack.
There’s nothing in Love to be hurt or to hit back.
Love doesn’t see skin color – not white or black.
Love fills all space – and that’s a fact.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Lesson from Cows

Enclosed in man’s fences
ears numbered and tagged
their bodies may be owned
by humans (as some humans
might brag) –
but the fences and tags
can’t heed the flow
of Soul, put boundaries
on Love. Still they know
Love, still they show
Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Cow photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

What I’m Feeling Right Now

How many black men have to die for things to change?

What’s on your mind? Facebook asks.
And I look at the little box and wonder
how I can possibly put into words
what I’m feeling right now –
I’m not sure there are any words
big enough for my feelings.
Our world is in desperate need –
in desperate need of love,
of honesty and kindness and wisdom.
And my heart breaks for our world
and for all its creatures.
Love bless us all – each and every one.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Gift from a Mormon Friend

Like many of you, I have been spending time in COVID-19 lockdown going through old boxes and bins, sorting and cleaning and trying to bring some order to the accumulation of decades. And, again probably like many of you, I have found treasures in the boxes and bins.

One of the treasures I found this week was the inscription that a friend wrote to me in a copy of The Book of Mormon that she gave me. My friend, Mary, had been a teaching colleague and my sons’ elementary school music teacher. She was an extraordinary music teacher – but beyond her skills and talents as a music teacher, Mary was one of the most kind and loving people I have ever known. She radiated joy and warmth.

Mary was (and still is) a Mormon (LDS) and her religion is an important part of who she is. When she entrusted me with a copy of The Book of Mormon, I felt really honored and privileged by her gesture. I made an effort to read the book when she first gave it to me, but, for whatever reason, I was never able to get very far into it. Her inscription in the book meant a lot to me, though. The inscription came from a place of love – and, for me, it was the most important part of her gift. Mary wrote:
Dear Karen (and family)
While working with you at Edison School I have come to love and appreciate you for the special person you are.

I tried to think what I might give you to show my appreciation for our friendship. This book is the most precious thing I could think of…

I so appreciate Mary’s courage in giving me a book that meant so much to her. I think she is a wonderful representative of her beliefs and faith.

I enjoy learning how other people see the world. I enjoy seeing other perspectives. I’ve never been one of those people who felt the need for everyone else to believe exactly as I believe about stuff. I figure, in the end, no matter what path we take, we’re all going to end up in the same place, anyway – living in Love.

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

A Tiny Scrap of Existence

We have just a tiny scrap of existence here
– a miniscule piece of our eternity –
to love and learn and live
and leave something good behind.
Let’s not waste it on nothings.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

As I was scrolling through Facebook I saw a post by a friend, sharing that she’d just lost her mother. Her mother had gone into the hospital on a Wednesday and was dead on Sunday. Her death was a surprise to everyone. As I looked through my friend’s pictures of her mom, I realized that her mom was probably about my age. That realization brought me up short. Whoah. And then I thought of the loved ones I’ve lost in the last several years – some of them my age, and some of them younger – and it gave me pause.

I am not afraid of death. I’m maybe afraid of the pain involved in death, but I’m not afraid of death itself. If, as I believe, my consciousness will continue on and continue to learn and unfold – that would be fine. And if death is really the end – that would be fine, too – I mean, I won’t be around to feel one way or the other about it, right? No, I’m not afraid of death – but I hope that what I do here, during my time here, will make a difference for the people who come after me. I hope my time here will mean something, you know? I don’t want to waste even a minute of it on ridiculous rivalries, and empty quests for fame and wealth. I don’t want to waste my life on nothings. Life is too short. We only have one shot at this.

“John says of the world, not that it is wrong, but simply that it ‘passeth away.’ There is a great deal in the world that is delightful and beautiful, there is a great deal that is great and engrossing, but it will not last. All that is in the world, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are but for a little while…Nothing that it contains is worth the life and consecration of an immortal soul…You will give yourself to many things; give yourself first to love. Hold things in their proportion.”
– Henry Drummond

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell, taken on a hike in the North Cascades.)

butterflies on my shoe luminex

Butterflies on My Shoe