The Waiting Arms of Love

Caught this sunrise on the way to work last week…

the waiting arms of Love

 

 

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Love Sings to Me

I wake from a dream about mermaids
saving the world – don’t ask
And something in that dream
leads to a prayer for the world
But I’m thinking too small
and fear infuses my prayer
And I know this prayer isn’t going
to help the world. So I turn
my thoughts another direction
And walk into the waiting arms
of Love – And boom – right there! –

that is All. In All. Everywhere.

Love sings to me – songs of joy
songs of confidence, sweet, soothing
songs of peace and hope
Songs from the astronauts
moving among the stars.
Songs  from the soldiers returned
from war to a warm embrace.
Songs from the climbers standing
on the summit at last.
Songs from mothers and fathers
tucking children safe in their beds.

Songs from sleek otters rollicking in the Sound
and shimmering fish swimming in a stream
and lizards basking on a toasty rock
and herons spanning dinosaur wings
above me and butterflies flitting
among summer blossoms and leaves
skittering across autumn sidewalks
and spring daffodils turning their heads
towards the sun and sparkling
snowflakes falling gently on the cedars.
Songs from the mermaids in my dream.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“…he was there alone…”

“…he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone…”
– Matthew 14:23

The only thing that ever stays the same whenever I take that Meyers Briggs Test is the “N” part – “Intuitive” – everything else – the Introvert/Extrovert, Thinking/Feeling, Judging/Perception stuff – seems to constantly change. Right now I test as an Introvert. This month the idea of going “up into a mountain apart to pray” sounds really lovely to me.  And I guess I’ve been feeling guilty about that. I’m not sure everyone understands the need some of us have for solitude. I worry it might be viewed as unfriendly or “not doing one’s part,” or even insulting, if I say no, I’m not going to be able to make it to that party; or no, I can’t go to that meeting; or no, I can’t join all of you this time. 

But hey – even Jesus needed time alone, right?

alone

        “For three years after my discovery, I sought the solution of this problem of Mind-healing, searched the Scriptures and read little else, kept aloof from society, and devoted time and energies to discovering a positive rule. The search was sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

The Christmas Dog

The Christmas Dog

Christmas Eve, 1988. I was in a funk. I couldn’t see that I was making much progress in my life. My teaching career seemed to be frozen, and I was beginning to think my husband and I would never own our own home or have children. The world seemed a very bleak and unhappy place to me. No matter how many batches of fudge I whipped up or how many times I heard Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas,” I couldn’t seem to find the Christmas spirit.
 
I was washing the breakfast dishes, thinking my unhappy thoughts, when I heard gunshots coming from the pasture behind our house. I thought it was the neighbor boys shooting at the seagulls again and, all full of teacherly harrumph, decided to take it upon myself to go out and “have a word with them.”
 
But after I’d marched outside I realized that it wasn’t the neighbor boys at all. John, the dairy farmer who lived on the adjoining property, was walking away with a rifle, and an animal (a calf, I thought) was struggling to get up in the field behind our house. Every time it would push up on its legs it would immediately collapse back to the ground.
 
I wondered if maybe John had made a mistake and accidentally shot the animal, so I ran out to investigate and found that the animal was a dog. It had foam and blood around its muzzle. She was vulnerable and helpless – had just been shot, after all – but instead of lashing out at me or growling as I’d expect an injured animal to do, she was looking up at me with an expression of trust and seemed to be expecting me to take care of her.
 
“John!” I yelled, running after the farmer. He turned around, surprised to see me. “John, what happened?” I asked, pointing back towards the dog.
 
A look of remorse came into his eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry you saw that, Karen. The dog is a stray and it’s been chasing my cows. I had to kill it.”
 
“But John, it’s not dead yet.”
 
John looked back at the dog and grimaced. “Oh man,” he said. “I’m really sorry. I’ll go finish the job. Put it out of its misery.”
By this time another dog had joined the dog that had been shot. It was running around its friend, barking encouragement, trying to get its buddy to rise up and escape. The sight of the one dog trying to help his comrade broke my heart. I made a quick decision. “Let me and my husband take care of it.”
“Are you sure?”
 
I nodded and he agreed to let me do what I could for the animal.
 
Unbeknownst to me, as soon as I ran out of the house my husband, knowing that something was wrong, had gotten out his binoculars and was watching my progress in the field. He saw the look on my face as I ran back. By the time I reached our house he was ready to do whatever he needed to do to help me. I explained the situation to him, we put together a box full of towels, and he called the vet.
 
As we drove his truck around to where the dog lay in the field, I noticed that, while the dog’s canine companion had finally left the scene (never to be seen again), John had gone to the dog and was kneeling down next to her. He was petting her, using soothing words to comfort her, and the dog was looking up at John with that look of trust she’d given me. John helped my husband load her in the back of the truck and we began our drive to the vet’s.
 
I rode in the back of the truck with the dog as my husband drove, and sang hymns to her. As I sang words from one of my favorite hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal– “Everlasting arms of Love are beneathe, around, above” – the dog leaned against my shoulder and looked up at me with an expression of pure love in her blue eyes.
 
Once we reached the animal clinic, the veterinarian came out to take a look at her. After checking her over he told us that apparently a bullet had gone through her head, that he’d take care of her over the holiday weekend – keep her warm and hydrated – but that he wasn’t going to give her any medical treatment. I got the distinct impression that he didn’t think the dog was going to make it.
 
My husband and I went to my parents’ home for the Christmas weekend, both of us praying that the dog would still be alive when we returned. For me, praying for her really meant trying to see the dog as God sees her. I tried to realize the wholeness and completeness of her as an expression of God, an idea of God. I reasoned that all the dog could experience was the goodness of God – all she could feel is what Love feels, all she could know is what Truth knows, all she could be is the perfect reflection of God. I tried to recognize the reality of these things for me, too, and for all of God’s creation.
She made it through the weekend, but when we went to pick her up the vet told us that she wasn’t “out of the woods, yet.” He told us that if she couldn’t eat, drink, or walk on her own in the next few days, we’d need to bring her back and he’d need to put her to sleep.
 
We brought her home and put her in a big box in our living room, with a bowl of water and soft dog food by her side. I continued to pray. In the middle of the night I got up and went out to where she lay in her box. Impulsively, I bent down and scooped some water from the dish into her mouth. She swallowed it, and then leaned over and drank a little from the bowl. I was elated! Inspired by her reaction to the water, I bent over and grabbed a glob of dog food and threw a little onto her tongue. She smacked her mouth together, swallowed the food, and leaned over to eat a bit more. Now I was beyond elated! She’d accomplished two of the three requirements the vet had made for her!
 
The next day I took her out for a walk. She’d take a few steps and then lean against me. Then she’d take a few more steps and lean. But she was walking! We would not be taking her back to the veterinarian.
 
In the next two weeks her progress was amazing. By the end of that period she was not only walking, but running and jumping and chasing balls. Her appetite was healthy. She was having no problems drinking or eating.
 
But one of the most amazing parts of this whole Christmas blessing was the relationship that developed between this dog and the man who had shot her. They became good friends. The dog, in fact, became the neighborhood mascot. (And she never again chased anyone’s cows.)
 
What the dog brought to me, who had, if you recall, been in a deep funk when she entered our lives, was a sense of the true spirit of Christmas – the Christly spirit of forgiveness, hope, faith, love. She brought me the recognition that nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible to God.
We named our new dog Christmas because that is what she brought us that year.
 
Within a few years all those things that I had wondered if I would ever have as part of my life came to me – a teaching job, children, and a home of our own. It is my belief that our Christmas Dog prepared my heart to be ready for all of those things to enter my life.
– excerpt from Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist by Karen Molenaar Terrell
 

018

“Be it slow or fast…”

To the Big Children

Father-Mother good, lovingly
Thee I seek, –
Patient, meek, In the way
Thou hast, – 
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.

-Mary Baker Eddy

When I was a youngster my mom taught me to say the above prayer at night before I went to sleep. When I think of this prayer now it brings back cozy memories of Mom tucking me into bed, and saying this prayer with me.

The prayer was written by the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. I still sometimes say it at night before I go to sleep. But until last night I’d always had a problem with the words: “In the way Thou hast, – Be it slow or fast…” It sort of bothered me that the process of God-finding might be a slow one. I mean… fast is always better, right?

But last night as I was drifting off to sleep I found myself saying this prayer to myself – and this time I emphasized different words than I’ve ever before emphasized. This time it came out like this:
Father-MOTHER God, LOVINGLY
Thee I seek, –
PATIENT (pause) MEEK,  In the WAY
Thou hast, –
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.

And a whole ‘nother way of looking at that prayer entered my thoughts. I had a small epiphany.

What came to me is that this prayer is about how we live – the manner in which we live and move towards Love. It’s as much about the seeking as it is about the finding.  If God is, literally, Love – as Mary Baker Eddy believed, and as I believe, too – then we’re going to find God by seeking Her in love, with patience and meekness, and without any ego. We’re not going to view this as a competition or a race to see who can get “there” first. The pace of our journey isn’t the important thing. The important thing is that we travel “lovingly” towards our goal.

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, ‘I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,’ because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love… If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy.”

Eddy writes: “Individuals are consistent who, watching and praying, can ‘run, and not be weary; . . . walk, and not faint,’ who gain good rapidly and hold their position, or attain slowly and yield not to discouragement.”

So I’m thinking that whether we’re “slow or fast” the important thing is that we’re moving the right direction, and that we’re seeking Love with love.

“…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
– Matthew 6:33

Love is everything

 

 

A Prayer

Know that Love is all-power, all-presence,
everywhere, through all, in all, the Only.
Know there isn’t the teensiest tiniest nano
space or second that is not filled with Love.
Know that there is no time, no place,
outside the reach of Truth, the touch
of Love, the wisdom of Mind.
Truth created all, every-thing
every-one, and there’s no part of creation –
not the most miniscule micro molecule –
that can possibly be unlike its Creator –
that doesn’t fully express the beauty,
perfection, wonder, sublimity, whole-ness,
and joy of Love.
Amen.
– Karen 

butterfly luminex this one

Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell