The winds blew across the bay – creating stretch marks on its surface – and great cleansing gusts blew through me, too – rowdy and playful – forcing me from thoughts of the thens and fears of the tomorrows and pushing me instantly into the now of doing what I could to not blow away. Putting everything in perspective for me again.
There is no problem too big it can’t be solved. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
Photo of Bellingham Bay Boardwalk by Karen Molenaar Terrell.
I think it might be helpful to us to be aware that those who identify as Democrats and those who identify as Republicans are being fed completely different narratives about the state of our country. (Check out the new movie on Netflix, The Social Dilemma.) I just had an interesting conversation with a conservative friend – someone I have come to respect over the years because he doesn’t get defensive, doesn’t view me as “the enemy,” is willing to listen to what I have to say, has the courage to share what he believes in an honest and forthright way, and is able to self-reflect. He knows how to question me, but he also knows how to question himself. I think this is a rare and beautiful thing.
Anyway. We were talking about Trump and white supremacy, Antifa and The Proud Boys and the Boogaloo movements. Throwing out different links and articles to each other. And it was hugely eye-opening to me! He is getting a completely different narrative than me!
I’m not going to share all the links and articles, stories and narratives – all of that is out there – available to any of us who are willing to cross the river and see what the other guy sees from where he’s camped.
And, of course, our back-and-forthing didn’t change in any way the different perspectives we have of the world – I still see things from my perspective (vote Biden!), and he still sees things from his perspective. But what the dialoguing DID do for me is help me understand WHY he sees things as he does. This is an intelligent, kind, thoughtful human being. He is not my enemy. He is not a white supremacist. He does not want a Civil War. In fact, I think, in the end, he wants the same things *I* want – peace and prosperity, justice and fair play and equity for all.
Maybe this is the one thing we can do for each other right now – instead of dehumanizing each other and seeing each other as “The Enemy” – maybe we can make an effort to “humanize” each other – to see the good in each other.
I want to thank my friend for letting me dialogue with him tonight. – Karen Molenaar Terrell
“We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world’s evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, – determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is…” – Mary Baker Eddy
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
If you have a clear sky tonight go outside and take a gander at the stars. From our home, Venus looks HUGE tonight. The frogs are just starting to make their music. There’s peace and beauty all around us.
The stars help put everything in perspective for me. The universe is so much bigger than our problems – and I find that oddly reassuring. I always say hi to Mom when I look at the stars. And now I say hi to Dad, too.
“The stars make night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally towards the light.” – Mary Baker Eddy
I was made by Love
Made for Love
Made to do the will of Love
and to fulfill Love’s purpose
That is why I’m here
and when I realize that
it changes EVERYTHING
In an instant everything shifts –
my thoughts take wing
I feel them lift and join with
something bigger than me
and it’s no longer about my
desires, my wants, my
complaints big and small.
None of that matters at all.
I exist for Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
When I read “your two thinkers are very discredited in the eyes of most of us” after a friend had posted a story on poverty in America I found myself sitting here with a frown between my brows, trying to puzzle it out.
Who are “the most of us” of which you speak? Most of who? Most of whom? And are you including me in your us? Because I actually want to read what my friend has to share about poverty in America. I might learn something new.
Complacent, comfortable, isolated, insulated, we sit each in our homes, assuming everyone thinks exactly the same way we do. We turn our televisions on to the usual channels and listen to the same old perspectives, and nod our heads
in contented, unquestioning agreement. And our ponds grow stagnant without fresh, tumbling brooks stirring up the waters our joints get calcified and rigid as we sit in our easy chairs, nodding our heads, lulled by the same phrases parroted over and over… – Karen Molenaar Terrell
“The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away.”
– Mary Baker Eddy