in the quiet stillness of the morning a lone duck grooms himself on a rock near the shore of a lake as smooth as obsidian gold reflections of the forest swirl around him as he plucks his feathers and then leans over to drink from the lake and then throws his whole duck body into the cool water for a morning bath it is just him and me – me and the duck – in companionable quiet, enjoying the peace of the morning together -Karen Molenaar Terrell
Below: Lone duck at Lake Padden, Bellingham, Washington. Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.
the instinct is to fold in on myself hide away in a dark corner somewhere away from the cacophony and the bells and whistles – in a quiet padded lair away from worry, stress, and care just close the door to my closet and pray a silent prayer hoping to feel hope again hoping to find stillness in the din to find a place where we can all win and find peace -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” – I Corinthians 15
There was some police action on the beach the day we arrived. We walked by the crime tape, the team of investigators, the canopy over the scene. I stopped to ask another woman walking on the beach if she knew what was going on. Valerie said she’d seen a couple in the parking lot earlier who’d looked shaken and she wondered if they’d found something. She was pretty sure there was a body under the canopy. She noted that the crime tape had already been up a few hours so it had to be something pretty serious. The winds had been high the night before and she wondered if maybe a body had come in on the surf. A man named Billy stopped to chat with Valerie and my husband and me. He wondered what was going on, too.
My husband and I continued on our walk, looking for agates, watching the antics of the seagulls as they chased each other around for food, enjoying the sunshine and the salty air. Every now and then, though, I’d look back at the crime canopy and wonder.
Billy rejoined me a while later to tell me that a friend had confirmed a body had been found in the sand. Billy said that the night before he’d passed a man on the beach who looked distressed and lost – the man seemed a little “off” to him – but he’d shrugged it off and continued on his walk. He wondered now if this body belonged to the man he’d seen the night before, and if it had been a suicide. For a moment neither of us spoke, each thinking our own thoughts. Then we wished each other well – told each other to stay safe – and parted ways.
Later the local news confirmed that the body of a man in his thirties had been found partially buried in the sand. I went into my mother-of-sons place then. I grieved for the man and his family. I prayed and tried to reach my thoughts out to the man – letting him know he was loved, whoever he was – that he wasn’t alone. I wished him peace. And, eventually, with the help of the ocean and the seagulls and the kites and the ever-tumbling waves, I found my own peace.
A few days later, as we got ready to leave, a rainbow arched across the sky. There’d been a rainbow after my mom’s passing, and a rainbow after my dad’s passing, too. I idly wondered who might be manifesting THIS rainbow. And then I thought of the man whose body had been found the day we arrived. And I knew he was alright.
Life is so much bigger than these forms we see – so much bigger than body-hieroglyphs of “you” and “me.” Death has no power to end our Life – Life fills all space – exists beyond form and time and place. I feel my loved ones ever-near – both those who have “passed” and those who are still “here.” Death can’t destroy the love we feel, and nothing can stop the healing of what needs to be healed. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth… the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places…” -Isaiah 43
“The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.” -Mary Baker Eddy
“Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science.” -Mary Baker Eddy
I felt a spark of hope inside me – a moment when I remembered what it was like before the invasion before the insurrection before the division in our nation and our world – a distant memory of good will and peace.
And remembering, I believe again. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
You are my precious child. Feel yourself embodied in my body – embodied in the body of Love. I AM Love, all-power, all-presence, always with you. I AM impenetrable Love, all encompassing – the only presence or power or Mind. You are never separated, isolated, or apart from Love. There is no place you could go, or be taken, that is outside of Love. You are never apart from Love. You are never in danger because you are never outside of what is Good. You are in an impervious armor of Love. You are a part of the Life that fills all space and never ends. You are the expression of never-ending Life itself. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
There are nobler things than “shows of strength,” stronger things than greed, more worthy things than ego, better things to feed. There’s Love and Truth and Life itself – all-power, always beautiful, always here. Greed and ego don’t have a chance against the Love that we draw near. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
“Draw nigh to Love and love will draw nigh to you.” -James 4:8
The Germans begin setting up Christmas trees with lighted candles along the trenches on their side of the line. They begin singing carols, and although they’re singing in German, the allies on the other side of the line– the French, Belgians, and British – are able to recognize most of the carols. Soon voices are raised from both sides of the dividing line, joining together to sing “Silent Night.” A truce is called. Weapons are laid down and replaced with soccer balls. Gifts are exchanged – chocolate and postcards and tobacco and newspapers.
I love that story. I love the hope of peace it represents. Although the soldiers were not able to maintain their truce – within the week they were forced, under orders, to pick up their weapons and begin shooting at each other again – the end of the Christmas truce in 1914 doesn’t diminish the power of what those soldiers were able to bring to each other for that week.
May our world find that peace again, and next time may it be lasting.
“… and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” – Isaiah 2: 4
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” – Isaiah 11: 6
One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, – whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed. – Mary Baker Eddy