Spoiler Alert: This Has a Happy Ending

Spoiler Alert: This has a happy ending.

I have felt really stretched and fragile and on the edge the last little while. I know the last few years have been challenging for all of us – and we each have our own slant and perspective on the challenges. A lot of my perspective comes from the point of view of someone who is hard of hearing.

Imagine being someone who depends on hearing aids and smiles and reading lips and facial expressions to communicate with others. And then imagine lips and smiles being covered, voices being muffled through masks, and hearing aids getting all tangled up in mask strings and falling out. I have been conscientious about wearing a mask when I knew it was helping others and helping allay fears – I felt it was something I could do for the good of my community. But I think two years of feeling shut off from the voices and smiles of others had slowly pushed me to the breaking point. So when a loved one suggested I wear THIS kind of mask because it had THESE kind of strings that wouldn’t get tangled in my hearing aids – I reacted more strongly than I might have two years ago. NOOOOOOO!!!!! No, no, no, no, nope. I pointed out to my loved one that he has hair that’s an inch long – and I have hair to my shoulders – how was I going to get those strings through my hair? And and and… earrings, hearing aids, sunglasses…. NOOOOOOOOO…. it was, like, the last straw for me. I told my loved one I never, ever wanted to hear another word about masks. I’ll wear them when I need to, but I don’t want to talk about it. He got the message and we moved on to happier topics.

So a couple days ago a friend called for a chat on the phone. I have to take off my hearing aid when I’m on the phone so it doesn’t whistle at me. I was sitting in the dining room, picked up my hearing aid from the window sill, and moved to the family room while I was talking to my friend. And somewhere between the dining room and the family room I lost my hearing aid. I mean. It completely vanished. Disappeared. Poof. Gone.

I felt like I had finally broken. I wondered if I was going crazy. I had a kind of panic attack about it. I might have made a sort of cursory prayer about it – “there is nothing lost that won’t be found” and “nothing is lost to God or outside Her consciousness” and “everything is exactly where it needs to be – nothing is misplaced in God’s universe” – but really, I felt like I couldn’t even deal with one more thing right then. So I gave up and went to bed and hoped for happy dreams about smiling unmasked faces.

Fast forward to Father’s Day. We’re all sitting around the table – the husband, the sons, and the sons’ wonderful wives – and I start talking about my missing hearing aid, and my youngest son gently taps me on the arm and says, “Kyla is wondering if that might be your hearing aid over there?” And I look over to where the son is pointing – and there’s my hearing aid! – sitting on top of a candle on the window sill!!! My daughter-in-law, Kyla, had been listening to me tell my story and her eyes had gone to the window sill behind me and she saw the hearing aid sitting right there!! (Insert the music of a heavenly choir here and rays of light shining down on the hearing aid.)

Hugs and rejoicing all around! For me, that hearing aid had come to be symbolic for my life, and it was found again!

Amen.

My Father-Mother never stopped loving me,
or took a break from being All-Good, everywhere.
She is always now, always here – Love Be-ing.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Together on This Beautiful, Fragile Planet

I had such high hopes for our world. I thought that once we’d made it through the pandemic together we’d all come out of it kinder, wiser, more noble. I thought we’d look at one another with new eyes – recognize the miracle of just being alive together on this beautiful, fragile planet.

NASA photo of Mother Earth.

Pandemic Weddings and Two New Daughters

Who could have guessed a year
ago that today I would have near
two new daughters, loved and dear
to me.

Life is like that, isn’t it?

In the midst of chaos there
is still joy to find and share
and in the midst of pandemic terror
the sons still found life-partners who dare
to approach life as they do – kind and ready,
brave and steady.

There were no caterers or wedding planners,
no venues, no bands, no banners,
no paid photographers, florists, or DJs,
and no invitations to each pair’s special day.

Their weddings were simple and true –
one in Hawaii and one under a blue
sky on top of the courthouse in Seattle.
We couldn’t make it to one, but we all
made it to the other.
Father, sons, new daughters, and mother.

Who could have guessed a year ago that by September’s
end I would have two new daughters?
-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









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A Year and a Day

On the nineteenth of January my father died
And so began the roller coaster ride
that was 2020 and 20 days –
a year we struggled to find our way.

At first there were empty streets and quiet weeks
of smogless skies and distant peaks
I found peace in the stillness – peace in the calm
That time alone was a much-needed balm.

But after – a montage of images flashes
now through my mind –
much of it dark, some of it kind –
exploding up, crashing down,
fire and rage all around
Our nation boils and seethes
and a Black man gasps, “I can’t breathe”

Veterans protect fathers with leaf blowers
who protect the mothers who protect our Black sons
and daughters from tasers and guns.
Ahmaud, Breonna, and George  – say their names
Black Lives Matter – our nation sits in shame
as bigots and bullies scramble to shift the blame –
and settle on “Karen” (which is really lame).

And a just woman with a doily collar
and a selfish man who keeps  up the holler
and lie of “Stop the steal”
and refuses to let the nation heal –
our neighbors reel and keel in their zeal –
fed rumors and news that are not real.

Dye runs down a lawyer’s face
a narcissist screams, “Show your strength!”
NAZI and Civil War flags fly in our streets
D.C. police pummeled and beat.
Racism and bullying and bigotry and hate,
caskets of COVID victims, rioters climb gates
Long lines for vaccinations, as people wait.

In the end the heroes win – as heroes always do –
they wear masks to protect each other – me and you –
they step up and vote and stop the coup –
they stand up for Breonna and Ahmoud and George –
and in the fiery fire a stronger land is forged.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Poem-Prayer

“In atmosphere of Love divine,
We live and move and breathe…”
– Christian Science Hymnal  #144

A morning poem-prayer for the world:

There is no spot where Love is not.
There is no spot where Truth is not.
There is no spot where Life is not.

Love fills all space –
we can never be separated from Love –
there’s no place where we don’t feel
Love’s presence, enveloping us in peace
and pure tender kindnesses that heal
us – bringing sweet renewal like the gentle
rains and the morning dew upon the grass.
In dauntless joyful humility we kneel
to give thanks. To praise. To serve.

Love’s presence is all-powerful.
NOTHING has the power to usurp
Love’s governing of Her own creation.
We are the manifestations, expressions, reflections,
ideas, children of Love – made in Her likeness.
All we can feel is what Love feels.
All we can know is what Truth knows.
All we can be is what Love made us to be.
We exist by Love and for Love and with Love.
“For Love alone is Life” (Mary Baker Eddy)

Fear, hatred, greed, condemnation,
and self-righteous indignation
have no place in Love’s creation.
Give them no power. Pay them no heed.
Let Love be our guide; Let Love lead.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Because Business and Politics Don’t Mix

See? This is why we shouldn’t put business executives in charge of our schools, prisons, courts, military, environment, or nation. Business executives think in terms of financial profit, rather than social progress; competition, rather than cooperation; what we can do for THEM, rather than what they can do for US. They aren’t going to go out of their way to help you if your home is burning, your family is sick, you’re being attacked by racists – unless there’s some way for their company to gain something from it. A CEO’s goal is to beat out and squash the competition (anyone who doesn’t work for their financial company) and win the race for the most wealth accumulated. Their goal is to prepare students to serve them in their corporations. Their goal is to privatize prisons, health care, schools, parks, and the postal service to make a profit. Their instinct is to use the natural environment for short-term financial gain, rather than to conserve and preserve it for future generations.

Are business executives “bad” people? Nope. But if they want to work as public servants, they can no longer be business executives – they need to give up their positions, wealth, and instincts as business people and shift their perspective – look at the world in a whole new way – because business and politics don’t mix.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell