How We Met

 

Excerpt from Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist (copyright 2005).

“Every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger.”
– 
From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

Okay, so there was this woman I knew.   She was not a girly girl.  She’d been raised with brothers, a mother who had no interest in accessories or luxury, and a mountain man for a father.  Cosmetics and  frou-frou clothes were not a part of her life as she grew up.  Instead of a purse, she had her faithful hiking backpack.  Instead of high heels, she had her tennis shoes and boots.

She was what you would call a late bloomer in the romance department.  She was awkward around men and very self-conscious about any feminine wiles that might inadvertently peek out of her persona.   Feminine wiles were not highly valued in her family and it was a little embarrassing to have any.  There were young men who were attracted to her, but in her teens and early twenties she was mostly oblivious to their attraction or scared of it.  There were young men to whom she was attracted, too, of course – but she mostly enjoyed fantasizing about them from afar, rather than having an actual relationship with any of them, and on those rare occasions when she took it in her head to try to flirt with one of them she had no idea how to go about it.

There came a day, though, when for the first time our heroine took interest in a male thigh.  It was in the mountains of Colorado and the man who came with the thigh was young, confident, and easy to flirt with.   Our heroine was twenty-two and for the first time realized that there might be more to find in the mountains than a good hike.

Not long after her epiphany about male thighs and other things male, a Dutch jazz musician entered her sphere.  Now here was someone expert with the ways of romance.  They spent almost a year together, culminating in a trip to The Netherlands to spend time with his family.

The Netherlands was the home of our heroine’s ancestors, and she felt a certain kinship with the people there.  She loved the land – the tangy, saltwater smell of it, the wide open flatness and the canals, the black and white cows, the white lace curtains, the brick streets, the oldness and history.  But, alas, there were no mountains to climb there.  And, further alas, the Dutch jazz musician became someone she didn’t know when he stepped back onto his native soil.

In an autumnal Dutch wood on a sunny Dutch day, they both agreed that a certain kind of love and a certain kind of hate are very closely related and snipped the cords of their romance.

The relationship had to end.  Our heroine knew that. But knowing it didn’t seem to make it any easier.  It felt like someone she loved had died.  She came home from Europe with her tail between her legs, dark circles under her eyes, and weighing about the same as Tinkerbell.

I think most people have experienced heartbreak at least once in their life.  It’s a part of growing-up really.  Makes us more empathetic to the pain of others, makes us more compassionate, and that’s a good thing – a blessing.  And as Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger.”

***

It took our heroine a few months to recover and then she earnestly entered what she has come to call her “dating phase.”  She was meeting men everywhere – parking lots, the supermarket, the workplace, hiking, through friends.  These men were talented, witty, and smart – a German physicist, a teacher cum comedy script writer, a sweetheart of a man who introduced her to cross-country skiing for the first time – and it was a heady thing for her to have them all show an interest in her.

At first the dating phase was great fun.  Because her life wasn’t committed to one person she had the freedom to go and do what she wanted, meet and date all these interesting men, take road trips on impulse, head for the hills on a whim, with no one else’s schedule to have to negotiate.

But about the time she turned twenty-six something began to change in her thought.  Singlehood began to lose its charm and these men she’d been meeting all started to seem the same to her.  Dating became a little monotonous.  She felt unsatisfied with the lack of direction in her life. She was beginning to feel it was time to get serious about this relationship thing and stop dinking around.

In a moment of self honesty, she admitted to herself she’d been going out with the wrong kind of men for what she now needed and wanted in her life.  Mary Baker Eddy writes in the chapter entitled “Marriage” in Science and Health: “Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent companionship.”  And so our heroine made a list of qualities that she wanted to find in someone: She wanted to meet a man of compassion and integrity;  If this man was going to be a part of her life he’d also need a sense of humor, believe me;  And he’d have to love the mountains, of course; and she’d really like him to have some kind of a creative, stimulating occupation; And, as a last whimsical thing, she decided that he’d come from either California, Colorado, or Connecticut.   She’d gone out with short men, tall men, blond, dark, wiry, and sturdy – and they’d all been attractive to her.  But an image of The One came to mind: He’d be about six feet tall, lanky, have brown hair, and glasses.

***

In December of ‘82 a woman named Peggy, whom our heroine had met a couple of years before through the Dutch jazz musician, invited her to her wedding.  To be honest, our heroine had no intention of going to this wedding, not wanting to mingle with all these people she’d met through the Dutchman.  But on the eve of the wedding the woman who was scheduled to be the wedding singer got laryngitis and asked our heroine if she could take her place as the singer.  She’d never sung at a wedding before, but asked herself, “How hard could it be?” and agreed to sing a song or two.

***

She spotted him as soon as she got there.  The wedding was an informal affair held in a living room, and this man with a camera – the wedding photographer, she guessed – was weaving his way through the people who were seated and waiting for the wedding.  Everywhere he stopped to chat, people would start chuckling. She surmised he must have a sense of humor.  And he had a great smile – the full-faced, crinkly-eyed kind.

She found herself instantly attracted to him.

The wedding began, the ceremony proceeded, she sang her song (a little nervously), and kept her eyes on the man with the camera.

After the ceremony she, who had until now always been the pursued rather than the pursuer, walked up to him and introduced herself.  He blinked behind his glasses, probably surprised at her directness, and grinned down at her. “Scott,” he said, shaking her hand.

At the reception, held in a local community hall, they talked and got to know each other better. She asked him if he liked the mountains.  He said yes. She asked him if he’d ever climbed any.  Yes, he said, Mt. Baker. She mentally put a check by the “loves mountains” on the list of qualities she was looking for in a man.  Their conversation continued.  She learned he was a newspaper photographer and checked off the requirement for “stimulating, creative job.” She saw how he opened the kitchen door to help an elderly woman with her hands full. “Compassionate” was checked off her list.

He asked her if he could fetch her something to drink.  She told him she’d really just like some water.  He nodded his head. “Wadduh, it is,” he said.

“Wadduh?” she asked.  “Are you from the east coast?”

“Connecticut,” he answered, grinning.

***

A year and a half later Scott got a call from Peggy.  Our heroine answered the phone.  She told Peggy that her husband wasn’t home right then, but could she take a message?  When she heard the caller’s name she let her know her own.  Peggy admitted she’d heard rumors that Scott and she had married.  She was happy to have had a part in their meeting each other.

Scott and our heroine have been happily married for over twenty years now.

And our heroine realizes that she wouldn’t have been blest with her love if she hadn’t first met the jazz musician.  From cursing to blessing.  It’s all connected.

 

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A Couple More Moz Poems

Found a couple more poems Moz poems that I’d like to share.

Here’s one she wrote for my dad on their 27th anniversary:
Happy anniversary, Dee, my pet –
27 years and we aren’t through, yet.

We’ve shared tears, triumphs, ups and downs.
Sometimes we’re heroes, sometimes clowns.

But always caring for each other
Living as one, yet trying not to smother.

Our individuality, blending instead
to make a family, a home, truly wed.

Love and kisses,
Moz, Mozzy, Colleen

And this one – from Moz and Dad’s Christmas letter, 1974:
I always bite off
more’n I can chew.
I know it sounds corny,
but, honest, it’s true.

The school here, the chuirch there,
the errands to run.
The kids’ things; they’re everywhere.
Sometimes it’s not fun.

The dogs, cats, cows, ducklings,
keep us hopping like mad.
If you don’t hop just right,
things really get bad.

Like rounding them up
in a deluge of rain,
then slipping in poopoos,
it could drive you insane.

Well, say now! It’s Christmas!
I’ll strike a good chord,
Let petty things vanish,
and put up the sword.

Things never were better,
to that I’ll avow.
Got a gall off at college
learning “why, where, and how.”

The boys are still growing
and marching in bands
They like to go skiing
at good “Crystal Land.”

Dee’s painting and painting
mixin’ the right hue.
His new maps are progressing
and his hours are too.

I’m singing at weddings
and sometimes at church.
I hope to plant dogwoods
and maybe a birch.

Dear friends, everywhere,
I’m thinking of you.
So please don’t be mad
at my letters so few.

Seasons greeting to all
and to all a Good New Year.
Love, Peace, Joy, and Power
to all of you dear.
– Colleen Molenaar

 

The Right for All Consenting Adults to Marry the Person They Love…

wedding photo

Scott and Karen on their wedding day, March 31, 1984 (photo by Bob Harbison)

Happiness is spiritual,born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it. – from the chapter titled “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.

This week my husband and I will celebrate our 31st anniversary.  Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.

You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing just the right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue  for her “big day” – those shows where every minute detail  of the wedding production is analyzed, critiqued, and judged for its merits on visual perfection? Where the ceremony is somber and refined and the highlight of the whole shebang is the dress the bride wears?

Yeah. That wasn’t us.

My engagement ring was a little garnet ring I picked out from a small jewelry shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and the man who sold it to us was cheerfully, flamboyantly, hilariously gay – he had us cracking up the minute we walked into his shop. My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on from the sales rack at our local Bon Marche. Cost me $120. Our minister was a hoot – we’d met with him for a required counseling session, and when he told us that anything he had to say to us would be pretty much useless at this point – because it’s really only AFTER the wedding that the bride and groom realize what they’ve gotten themselves into (we later learned that he’d just recently been divorced), we immediately recognized the man had a sense of humor, and he was, for sure, the minister we wanted officiating our nuptials. The wedding was a joyful, light-hearted affair in a small Methodist church in Gig Harbor – I remember the minister asking us if we really wanted to hold the service in his church – it was very small – could maybe hold 100 people – and very old (it’s since been torn down and a larger church built in a different location) – but, for our purposes, that little church was perfect – I liked the cozy smallness of it and the stained glass windows – and from the church’s steps we could look out across the water and see Mount Rainier rising above the hills in the distance.  The wedding itself was simple, joyful, and natural. We weren’t too concerned with “perfection” – we just wanted our guests to feel comfortable and loved. The reception was held in my parents’ backyard – with the sound of laughter, and the smell of daffodils and plum blossoms, filling the air. And we played volleyball in the pasture – the groom’s team won, but it was a close game.  The minister came to the reception, and fit right in with our hooligan families and friends. Before he left he told us that sometimes he’s really worried about the future of the newlyweds he marries – they often seem more concerned about the wedding than the actual marriage – but, after watching us yukking it up with our families and friends, he felt good about being a part of our ceremony.  He knew we were going to be alright. We knew how to laugh.

When I think about that day, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny other people the right to a wedding, and to a life-long commitment in marriage with the partner they love.  I can’t understand why any heterosexual couple would feel their own marriage is threatened by giving homosexuals the same rights that they have.  I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have.

***

“Matrimony should never be entered into without a full recognition of its enduring obligations on both sides. There should be the most tender solicitude for each other’s happiness, and mutual attention and approbation should wait on all the years of married life… Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent companionship… Marriage should improve the human species, becoming… a centre for the affections. This, however, in a majority of cases, is not its present tendency, and why? Because the education of the higher nature is neglected, and other considerations, – passion, frivolous amusements, personal adornment, display, and pride, – occupy thought… The scientific morale of marriage is spiritual unity… Marriage should signify a union of hearts… Behold the world’s lack of Christianity and the powerlessness of vows to make home happy, the human mind will at length demand a higher affection. There will ensue a fermentation over this as over many other reforms, until we get at last the clear straining of truth… Matrimony, which was once a fixed fact among us, must lose its present slippery footing, and man must find permanence and peace in a more spiritual adherence.”excerpts from the chapter titled “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy  

Memories from Lincoln City, Oregon

(originally posted in 2013)

The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. – Robert Ingersoll, The Great Agnostic

Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and dreams of Time. –  H.P. Lovecraft

I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer’s disease where they slowly began to recover other peoples’ memories. – George Carlin

My husband and I just returned from our most recent trip to Lincoln City, Oregon. We’ve been going there since 1984 – when we discovered the magic of Lincoln City  on our honeymoon.  We were trying to figure out how many times we’ve been there in the last 29 years, and we figured we’ve made a pilgrimage to Lincoln City probably 27 times – every year, with one or two exceptions.

You know how photographers do time lapse photography to show Nature unfolding in quick time? Yeah, I’m thinking if we took the days my family has spent in Lincoln City and sort of condensed them into a time lapse photography kind of deal, we’d see something like this…

There we are in 1984 – young, confident, and hopeful – starting our life together – unaware of the challenges ahead, and unaware of the blessings, either – running on the beach – limbs strong and quick and joints well-oiled. My aunt Junie showed me the art of agate-hunting when I was a youngster, and now I’m teaching my new husband how to pick up the glow of an agate on the beach – how to discern the difference between a bona fide agate and a rough piece of quartz…

1992:  Introducing our firstborn to the ocean for the first time. His baby body rests on my knee, facing out to the sea. His eyes have locked onto the ocean and taken note of it – he’s chewing his lower lip, eyes moving back and forth along the sea’s horizon, taking in the sights and sounds and smells. It’s becoming a part of him.

1994: We have come to Lincoln City as parents of childREN. We are old hands at parenthood now. Today it is our youngest son’s turn to meet the ocean. We take off his booties and lower his toes into the water. It is a sort of ritual baptism of baby feet – a bonding with the Pacific.

1999: The sons are playing with the surf – letting the waves chase them up the beach. The ocean is their comfortable old friend now.

Jump to April, 2008: I am in crisis.   Struggling with severe depression. I am desperate to escape from myself and my constantly-churning thoughts. Oldest son knows I need to get away and asks me if I’d like him to go to Lincoln City with me for Spring Break. How many 16 year-old sons do you know who’d be willing to accompany their moms on a 14-hour (round trip) road trip? I am blest beyond words. On the way to Lincoln City we stop and visit my Aunt Junie, who shares our kinship with the ocean and lives in Depoe Bay, an hour north of Lincoln City.  I confide my struggles to Junie, and the feelings of guilt and unworthiness that seem to be a symptom of my illness. Junie is appalled at my feelings of worthlessness. “All her instincts” tell her that I am a good person, she says.  “There are no unrightable wrongs, no unforgiveable sins, no fatal mistakes, no fatal diseases, only the eternal now.” She is like Yoda.

July, 2008: Still struggling with the  depression. Lincoln City is my respite. I sit on the balcony in the sun and look down on the beach and watch the sons running and cavorting on the sand below.  There have been times lately when I’ve wished myself not born. But, watching my sons, it hits me that if I hadn’t been born, they wouldn’t have been born, either. They give me purpose. And the ocean gives me comfort. We stop in Tilamook on the way home and I am drawn to a garden plaque that quotes The Great Agnostic, Robert Ingersoll: “The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here.” On impulse, I buy it. It will sit in a place of honor on our mantel when we return home.

2009:  The family meets on the Oregon coast to celebrate Aunt Junie’s life, and spread her ashes on the ocean.  We will not get as far as Lincoln City this time, but the ocean that she is now a part of will touch the beaches that have provided such solace to me over the years.  And every time I’m near the ocean, I’ll think of Junie – her humor and wisdom and kindness to me.

2010:  Hoping, but not with high expectations, I ask my youngest son, who’s just turned 16, if he’d like to make the same road trip that I made with his older brother two years ago. To my surprise and delight, he says he would! We spend two days at the ocean – flying a kite, looking for agates, running (well, okay, he’s doing most of the running now) along the beach.  Before we leave on our trip I ask Xander if he’s remembered his swimsuit, long pants, shorts, sweatshirt, sneakers, toothbrush, and sandals. He assures me he has. When we arrive at Lincoln City, I realize that am the one who’s left her clothes, laptop, and toothbrush back home. It is all very humbling. But there’s a certain freedom in the forgetting, too. I’m scraped down to the bare essentials. Having no laptop is a good thing.  I have become big into photography in the last couple years, and I have, at least, remembered my camera. Camera, son, ocean, and the clothes on my back – what else does a person really need? 🙂

2013: The sons are all grown-up now. They have jobs and things to do.  For the first time since we became parents, we will be making our Lincoln City pilgrimage alone.  We eat at our favorite eatery there – The Lighthouse Brew Pub – take long walks together, hunt for agates, and remember together who we were when we first found Lincoln City.  Young, strong, confident, hopeful. Our lives stretched out ahead of us.  And we think about all that’s happened in the 29 years since. And it’s all been good. All of it. Even the bad stuff has been good, really. Just like those blossoms unfolding in time lapse photography – our life together has unfolded most wonderfully.

Marriage Equality

When I think about that day I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny others the same right to make a life-long commitment in marriage with the partner they love…

wedding

We were blest to have the talented Robert Harbison as our wedding photographer that day…

Lincoln City, Oregon: 1984-2013

Gallery

This gallery contains 27 photos.

Originally posted on Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist:
The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. – Robert Ingersoll, The Great Agnostic Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the…

Marriage Equality

I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have.

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

wedding photo

Happiness is spiritual,born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it. – from the chapter titled “Marriage” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.

This weekend my husband and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary.  Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.

You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing just the right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue…

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