Throughout All Time and Space

“The divine Spirit, which identified Jesus thus centuries ago, has spoken through the inspired Word and will speak through it in every age and clime. It is revealed to the receptive heart, and is again seen casting out evil and healing the sick.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“This healing power of Truth must have been far anterior to the period in which Jesus lived. It is as ancient as ‘the Ancient of days.’ It lives through all Life, and extends throughout all space.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I love looking out at the stars on a clear night, knowing that the starlight that’s reaching me now may have started out from some of those stars thousands of years ago. My new favorite star is Sirius – the light from Sirius takes eight years to reach Earth. That means the light I’m seeing from Sirius started eight years ago – when I was in the midst of a personal crisis I thought might never end. I find comfort somehow in knowing that, even then, Sirius was shining its light on me. When I look up at the stars I feel myself connected to something – a presence and power – far bigger than the little speck of the universe known as Earth. I feel myself connected to Life that’s infinite and fills all space. 

Okay, at the risk of being placed in the “tinfoil hat” category, I’m going to go ahead and say it: I do not believe Life is confined to this planet, or the three and half to four billion years that scientists believe life has been on Earth. I believe Life to be eternal and infinite – without beginning or end, or boundaries. “God forms and peoples the universe,” Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures  – and my thoughts about the universe coincide with her thoughts there.

There are some who believe, I guess, that the healings – what they would call “miracles” – that happened in Jesus’ time were only for that time and place in the universe, and can’t be repeated. But Eddy writes: “Jesus’ promise is perpetual…The purpose of his great life-work extends through time and includes universal humanity. Its Principle is infinite, reaching beyond the pale of a single period or of a limited following.” She writes: “The time for the reappearing of the divine healing is throughout all time…”

I like the idea that we’re not separated from the rest of the universe  – that we’re not separated by time or space from the healing power of God – Love and Truth and Life. I like the idea that this healing power of Love is perpetual, on-going, ever-present, without limits or bounds, and ever available to us. And I REALLY like the idea that there are other expressions of life peopling the universe.  When I look up at the stars, I send out my love to the other expressions of life that might be out there, with the hope that my love will carry through time and space.

It is my belief that the healing power of Love and Truth will, as mankind progresses onward, eventually be seen as the only real power. 

“The periods of spiritual ascension are the days and seasons of Mind’s creation, in which beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness – yea, the divine nature – appear in man and the universe never to disappear.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

NASA image of Sirius:

What New Adventure Awaits?

Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, – this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony.
– 
Mary Baker Eddy

Little children are expert at leaving the old for the new. They progress from crawling to walking to running to leaping without making any conscious choice to do so. They lay down their toddler toys and graduate to new fun without agonizing over the decision: Does a ten year-old remember the last time she played with her Thomas the Tank Engine, or the last time she she laid down her dolly? Nope. I’m pretty sure not. It wasn’t an event. There weren’t balloons and fireworks and parades for her when she laid down her toddler toys. She just laid them down and cheerfully moved on to something else.

The changes and progress don’t stop with childhood, do they? I mean… we don’t stop learning new things or exploring new ideas or laying down old toys when we hit twenty. Or thirty. Or forty. Or fifty… right?

Every decade holds something new. Heck, every DAY holds something new. None of us have ever lived this day before – none of us have ever lived this MOMENT before – it’s all of it new territory. A new adventure. 

What will we do with this new moment? What new adventures will we find in this new year? What new paintings will we paint or songs will we sing? What new books will we read or write? What new places will we see? What new friendships will we make? What new things will we learn?

What new adventure awaits? 🙂

new day

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…” – Philippians 3:13

“…progress is the law of God…” – Mary Baker Eddy

 

Easter Gladness: Love Has Rolled the Stone Away

Let us sing of Easter gladness that rejoices every day,
Sing of hope and faith uplifted; Love has rolled the stone away.
– Frances Thompson HIll

Easter

Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

No Endings

Sitting here with the calico cat on my lap – watching her ears twitch, feeling the breath going in and out of her warm body. She is 16. I’ve had her since she was a four-week old feral kitty – hissing and scratching and scared. I’ve shared almost all her life with her – from the beginning to today. She trusts me now – trusts me enough to jump into my lap and curl up there, and let herself be petted.

Now that she’s older I sometimes find myself thinking about that moment when my calico cat will no longer be with me. I think about death.

This year a lot of people I’ve known and cared for have died. November was especially challenging – a former student, a man who became my friend after he and his wife read one of my books, and a friend of mine from my walks in Bellingham all passed on.  Last week a dear woman in her 90’s with a kind heart, a stalwart faith, and a twinkle in her eyes – a woman who had been a member of our church most of her life – passed on. It’s all gotten me to thinking about the nature of death – what it is and what it isn’t.

The thought came to me the other day that death isn’t really an “event” – that there really aren’t any seams or borders or divisions separating one part of life from another – but that it’s forever flowing in an endless stream.  It’s true that I can’t see the friends that have passed on, but I can tell you there are times when I feel their love. Death can’t end the love we have for one another.

It probably seems weird to connect the insights I’ve had about death to the Superbowl – but that’s where my pointy little noggin went when I contemplated the end of the Seahawks season this morning. If only the game could have gone on a little longer, I thought, the Seahawks might still have been able to pull it off. “But it’s done. Over. Ended. It is what it is. And the magnificent catch by Kearse, the receptions by Matthews, the runs that Lynch made, the colossal efforts of Russell Wilson and his teammates – none of that matters now because they lost.”  Those were my initial thoughts. But when I stopped thinking about the Superbowl as an “Event” – when I started thinking of the game as just a step in an endless progression – a step towards progress – a character-builder – another life-lesson – my feeling about it changed.

I would like to think that all the lessons we’re learning here – the lessons about honesty, compassion, integrity, friendship, courage, perseverance, honor, selflessness, generosity, love – are lessons we can build on and carry with us as we ride the current down the stream. It doesn’t make sense to me that all of that learning can abruptly come to an end at the close of a Superbowl, or a life.

My calico cat is with me in this moment – alive and breathing – and this moment is forever.

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Karen’s calico cat

The continual contemplation of existence as material and corporeal – as beginning and ending, and with birth, decay, and dissolution as its component  stages – hides the true and spiritual Life, and causes our standard to trail in the dust.
– Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

A Humongo Super Snowball of Kindness

‎”Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” – Anne Frank

I’d like to talk for a moment about kind people.

A week ago on my way to work I found I had a little extra time so I decided to stop at the local Starbucks to get a mocha for myself. As I was walking into the coffee shop a gentleman with a pack on his back approached me and started to make small talk. It came to me to ask him if he’d like a mocha and he said that would be fine. So I went into the Starbucks and ordered mochas for the both of us. And then I thought he might appreciate a scone, also. So I told the young woman behind the counter that I wanted to buy a scone for the man in the parking lot, to go along with the mocha I was buying him. The barista smiled and told me she wasn’t going to charge me for the scone – that would be on her. Her generosity – and the happy smile that accompanied her gesture – really touched me. I brought the man his scone and mocha – he was appreciative – and I drove on to work with a big grin in my heart.

A couple days later I found myself in another very similar situation. This time I was walking down the boardwalk to Boulevard Park in Bellingham when I spotted a young man leaning against the rail, holding a big duffel bag, and looking out towards the water. He appeared to have tears in his eyes. “Are you okay?” I asked him, and he nodded his head yes. I asked him if he’d like a warm drink from the Woods coffee shop in Boulevard Park, and he smiled and said, “No, but thanks!” I went on into the Woods any way to get myself something to drink, and when I came out the young man had moved down towards the park. He looked totally dejected. I don’t know what was going on with him, and didn’t ask. But I took one look at him, and said, “I really think you could use this more than me,” and handed him the warm drink. This time he didn’t refuse it – he smiled a genuine smile – his whole face lit up – and took the proffered cup into his hands and thanked me. I left him and went back into Woods to get myself another drink. The barista recognized me, and I explained what had just happened. She smiled and said, “This one’s on us!” and made me another drink for free!

Another day – this one cold, dark, dreary, and pouring down rain – and another espresso – this time The Sisters Espresso, an espresso run by two of my favorite people – Brooke, who used to be one of my eighth graders (and is now in her thirties – which… how the heck did THAT happen?!), and her sister, Courtney. They have these really awesome locally-made marionberry cobbler squares at The Sisters and I was waxing all poetic about these little pieces of heaven to the young man standing in front of me at the counter getting himself a drip coffee. He said he’d have to try one next time. He looked to be wearing outdoors working duds, and I asked him about that. He said he was going to be doing work in an apple orchard that day. “In the pouring rain?!” I asked, and he smiled and said yes. My heart went out to him, but he just smiled at my concern. When it came time for him to pay for his coffee, he told Brooke to put a marionberry square for me on his bill!  I think my mouth fell open a little. “Really?! Are you sure?!” I asked him. And he smiled and said he wanted to do that for me. And I ask you: How cool is that?!

Yesterday, I made a stop at our little Bow post office to pick up my mail and mail some packages. It was busy. Mary the Post Office lady (and I feel so blest we have her taking care of us – she is a treasure) probably didn’t get a break yesterday. I was at the end of the line with no one behind me – and I was glad about that because I was mailing something off to Canada, and that always involves a boatload of customs forms and stuff. By the time I reached the counter, though, people started trickling in behind me and the line started growing and growing and growing – and I was feeling responsible for this. But the guy behind me told me not to worry – he said he was retired and had all the time he needed – and the people behind him were all smiling at me, too – and then someone said something about singing carols – so there we were, singing carols, gabbing and laughing. Mary handed me some papers I could work on at the side while she helped other people – so I went off to the side and started filling out these forms. And now I was talking to myself – “Okay, Karen, so now you write down your address… good… and the weight of the items… they need to add up to 2 lbs 11 oz… 8 plus 8 equals a pound, and then add another pound, and this one is 11 ounces…” and I told the other customers that I’d heard talking to yourself is actually a sign that you trust yourself. One of the other customers piped up, “I’d always heard it was a sign of insanity!” And I said, “That, too!” and we shared a laugh.

I know there may seem to be reasons to be discouraged with our world – if we turn on the news we hear about murder and thievery and war and pestilence and greed. But I think if we all take a moment to really look around us – to connect and banter and laugh with our fellow man – we’ll find there’s also a lot of reason to be encouraged by our world. There’s so much goodness here. There’s generosity, and good humor, and kindness all around us – quiet, unobtrusive, often unnoticed – but, I believe, growing in power – like a little snowball that’s quietly rolling down the hill, picking up more snow as it goes until it’s a humongo Super Snowball of Good. Yeah. Like that. 🙂

Brooke and Courtney

Brooke and Courtney at the Sisters Espresso

 

This Photo Is Not By Me (or how I messed-up big time and made two new friends)

At some point last spring I got into my pictures file on my laptop and searched for “tulips”. A lovely picture of a yellow tulip with a perfect red stripe down its middle came up amongst all my other tulip photos. I wondered how I could have missed this one before. I titled it “Tulip with Red Stripe”, worked with it a little bit to bring out the colors, and posted it on fineartamerica.com. Yeah. So…  yesterday I was walking by a colleague’s desk and the red-striped tulip picture came up on her screen saver. How, I wondered, did my photo end up on her screen saver? I searched around on my computer and found a file of sample pictures provided by microsoft – and the tulip picture was in there! After a little investigating I discovered the photo was actually taken by a photographer named David Nadalin. I know – yikes, right? I immediately took the picture off my fineartamerica.com page, and then found David’s phone number and email address, and left him messages explaining what I’d done with his photo, and how I was trying to rectify my boo boo. 

After I left my messages for David I went into my Facebook account – both the author/photographer page and my personal page – to see if I’d posted the photo there, too – and, sure enough, I had. Feeling the need to set things straight there I posted David’s tulip picture on both pages, along with an explanation of the mistake I’d made.

In the meantime, David had graciously replied to my email message, and I was relieved to discover that 1) he is a good sport and 2) he has a well-developed sense of humor. He wrote, in part, “That photo of mine is in every copy of Windows 7. So anyone running that would figure out pretty quickly where it came from. 750 million people have a copy of that one already…”  SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION PEOPLE!!!  That sort of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Yup. When I mess up, it is on a grand scale. No small little insignificant mess-ups for me. Nosiree, bub. I mess-up BIG.

So back to Facebook. I found David Nadalin’s page and sent out a friend request to him – after reading his email response it was obvious, to me, that he’d fit right in with my way cool and kind of eclectic community of FB friends – and he accepted my request! – and then his wife (whom I’ve discovered is a wonderful photographer in her own right) came onto my page, too, and – long story, short –  David and his wife, Carol, are now both my Facebook friends!

Having the opportunity to laugh with my new friends, David and Carol, and my old friends, too (who, I’m pretty sure, are not at all surprised by anything I do at this point) about my 750-million-people-goof ended up being the highlight of my day. I love when stuff like that happens. 🙂

Tulips

photo by David Nadalin

 

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No More Lessons to Learn from War

world peace duh right

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Saw the movie Fury last night. Really powerful film. Great acting. Beyond gritty. If ever a war movie was an anti-war movie, this one is it.

I woke up this morning with scenes from the movie playing through my head – scenes of death and destruction, blood and cruelty, courage and war-honor. And, as I processed it all, two trains of thought emerged from the smoke.

One of the trains took me to a place of compassion and empathy for the soldiers in every time and every nation who have felt voluntarily compelled, or been drafted, to take up weapons and kill their fellow human beings. It occurred to me that if I had been a soldier watching that movie I might feel a kind of relief in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone – that the “reality” of war is a shared burden of responsibility, memories, and pain by all who’ve lived it.

The other train of thought took me to this place: There are no more lessons to be learned from war. Mankind has been fighting wars for thousands of years, and I’m thinking we’ve learned everything we needed to learn from that course, and it’s time for us to be done with it now. It is time, my friends, to graduate and move on to more productive and constructive Life-courses.

Some may say that the cycle of War is never-ending and unstoppable, but I do not agree. Cycles DO stop. There’s no law that says cycles have to go on for eternity. I believe there IS a natural law, though – a law of God (Love, Truth, Life) – that pushes mankind towards progress. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (the textbook for Christian Science) Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Every day makes its demands upon us for higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power. These proofs consist solely in the destruction of sin, sickness, and death by the power of Spirit, as Jesus destroyed them. This is an element of progress, and progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil.”

We’re surrounded by signs of progress, aren’t we? For all that we are bombarded with news of bigotry, sexism, racism, carelessness, greed, thievery, and murder – there is good going on all around us, signs of a mental stirring, or what Mary Baker Eddy would call a “chemicalization of thought” that is moving mankind towards decency. When we hear about slavery, racism, sexism, and bigotry – most of us in the United States no longer find these things acceptable – huge progress from just 150 years ago when slavery was still a part of our world, or just 94 years ago (in my dad’s lifetime!) when women didn’t have the right to vote or run for public office. This is progress, my friends, progress!

And I believe that progress will bring an end to the cycle of War, too. I believe that our world will find peace.

“What I term chemicalization is the upheaval produced when immortal Truth is destroying erroneous mortal belief. Mental chemicalization brings sin and sickness to the surface, forcing impurities to pass away, as is the case with a fermenting fluid… The muddy river-bed must be stirred in order to purify the stream. In moral chemicalization, when the symptoms of evil, illusion, are aggravated, we may think in our ignorance that the Lord hath wrought an evil; but we ought to know that God’s law uncovers so-called sin and its effects, only that Truth may annihilate all sense of evil and all power to sin.” – Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

 

Progress

        In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown… An improved belief cannot retrograde. – Mary Baker Eddy

…progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil. – Mary Baker Eddy

progress

photo of Mount Rainier by Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Sixty is the new thirty!”

“… progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil.” – Mary Baker Eddy

Ahem. At this time I would like to present to you the 600 year-old tree of Deception Pass, Washington. I’m pretty sure there is no one out there who believes this tree was better at 300 than 600, right? I bet there’s no one who would try to “compliment” this tree by telling her she looks just like she did when she was a sapling. I mean, who would want to see this tree go back to her seed? Isn’t she beautiful in her fullness of age?!

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photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

It would be an understatement to say that I am now closer to sixty than thirty. And as I openly contemplate what this means to me, more than one person has informed me that “sixty is the new thirty” – like this is a good thing. But – oh lord! – I do not want to be thirty again.Seriously. I mean, really, who WOULD want to go backwards? Who would want to take retrograde steps? Who would want to regress? That person I was at thirty – I liked her – she was well-intentioned, sweet, idealistic – but I wouldn’t want to be her again – I wouldn’t want to have to go through those same lessons again or deal once again with the vanity, insecurity, and female rivalries. I have finally reached a place where I no longer spend my days worrying about ridiculous stuff like wrinkles on the brow and pounds on the scale. I have made it to the other side of caring about that crap. And there is a lovely freedom in that.

I love my spiritual development – why would I want to wish away the progress in my life?

        “In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown.” – Mary Baker Eddy

“This is the Year that for you waits…”

A year ago I made some resolutions. I’ve copied and pasted them below. I’d forgotten that one of my resolutions was to read To Kill a Mockingbird – and am happy (and a little surprised at myself) to report that I actually did finally read that fine book and it’s now on my “favorite books” list.  You will see that I made others resolutions for 2012, too. We won’t talk about those at this time.

In the last year there have been so many amazing changes in my life, personally – opportunities I never could have expected, wonderful experiences I couldn’t have anticipated, new friends and movies and books and music I didn’t even know existed a year ago. And though there was sadness in 2012, and grief – there was also great joy, and progress. What will 2013 bring? The possibilities for all of us are limitless, really.  We’ll discover even more new books and movies and music and new friends, and learn new things, and there will be laughter, for sure, and love.

A Flower unblown: a Book unread:
A Tree with fruit unharvested :
A Path untrod : a House whose rooms
Lack yet the heart s divine perfumes:
This is the Year that for you waits
Beyond Tomorrow s mystic gates.

– Horatio Nelson Power

“…progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil.” – Mary Baker Eddy

***

Resolutions for last year (originally posted on the humoristianity.wordpress.com blog a year ago):

I resolve to learn the fine art of being slippery when it comes to resolutions – i.e., I will whole-heartedly endeavor to couch all my words in ways that will make it easy for me to get around actually making resolutions.  With this guiding resolution in mind –

1) I resolve to be more patient with the people I want to be more patient with.

2) I resolve to get back that girlish figure – similar to the one I had five minutes ago, before I got it in my noggin that it might be a good idea  to eat that entire box of chocolate raspberry truffles.  (Note that “girlish” is a relative term here, and can easily be got around when it comes to someone trying to pin me down with specifics  –  I mean, I very carefully did not say MY girlish figure [which might actually require some work on my part] – but THAT girlish figure – and for all you know I could be describing Buddy Hackett’s girlish figure here. I know. I’m in awe of my lack of resolution, too).

3) I resolve to cut down on the chocolate and Starbucks, and might even think about going a day or two or three without either.

4) I resolve to think about reading Moby Dick. I’ve heard it’s very good. I’m going to resolve to think about reading To Kill a Mockingbird, too. I know. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read that classic.  But maybe by this time next year I won’t have to include thinking about reading To Kill a Mockingbird amongst my almost-resolutions.

5) I resolve to think about giving more to the causes that matter, and less to those that don’t. (In other words, politicians and political parties probably shouldn’t waste any more of their money sending me fliers and calling my home.)

6) Segueing from #5: I resolve to really put more thought into my bid for presidency of this greatish nation (ha! – try saying THAT really fast – “greatish nation”).

7) I resolve to know when I have nothing more to say about resolutions and to just shut up.

Wishing all you wonderful Humoristian hooligans a most spectacular new year! May your resolutions be merry and light, and may your new year be bright with possibilities!