Cast Thy Burden…

Earlier in the school year, at a workshop for teachers, this twenty-something man conducting the workshop said something like, “You know, we all have parents we can turn to when we need help…” and I felt myself suddenly and overwhelmingly filled with a huge sense of loss and grief. My nose and eyes started filling with snot and tears.  I had to get up and leave the room.

No, I was thinking, we don’t all have parents we can turn to when we need help. My mom is dead, and my 99 year-old dad needs me to be there for him now – not the other way around. I’m responsible for his health and safety and finances and well-being.  No, I thought, don’t assume that everybody in that room has parents they can turn to for support. As I sobbed, and blew my nose into a wad of toilet paper in the bathroom – feeling all sorts of sorry for myself – I was thinking the days when I had a mother and father to turn to for help were gone for me.

But the other day, as I was contemplating the nature of God, Love, this thought came to me: God is responsible for me. It was a really simple thought, but I found it wonderfully comforting.  “God is responsible for me,” I said out loud to myself, and turned the idea of it over in my thoughts, examining it. God made me, maintains me, governs, and guides me, I reasoned. I am here because of God, and for God. I am God’s, and God is mine – my Mother and Father. I can nestle safe and secure in Love’s arms and trust She will take care of me.  God, Love, is where I can always turn when I need help.

A sense of burden was lifted from me in that moment, and a sense of peace filled me. The false sense of responsibility I’d been feeling for everyone I come in contact with dissolved. I realized God, Love, is responsible for ALL Her children – Dad, my sons, husband, friends, students, colleagues, strangers on the street, and, yes, me, too.  In that moment it was clear to me that I’m not alone, on my own, here. We really DO all have a Father-Mother we can turn to when we need help.

It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
– Psalms 18:32

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
– Psalms 100:3

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee…
– Psalms 55:22

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings…
– Deuteronomy 32:11

Two eagles in a nest in Bow, WA. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Two eagles in a nest in Skagit County, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.


“Thank you, Hon!”

I got called “Hon” today by a sweet woman in the Fred Meyer’s parking lot. It has been a long time since someone older than me – someone I didn’t know – looked at me as a youngster and called me “Hon.” I really liked it. 🙂

First, a little background: I am one of those customers you sometimes see in store parking lots collecting all the abandoned shopping carts and choo-choo training them into the store – it drives me kind of crazy to see abandoned shopping carts recklessly rolling around without a supervisor. It’s probably the teacher in me.

So what happened today was this: You know how most supermarkets now have two sizes of shopping carts? There’s the jumbo size and the petite size? And you know how there never seems to be enough of the little carts? Well, today I found one abandoned about fifty yards outside the supermarket entrance and thought I would claim responsibility for it, and appropriate it for my own use. The problem was, though, that it had an upright cola can in it – still half full of pop. As things were, I would need two hands to maneuver the cart, and a third hand to hold up the can so it didn’t spill all over everything. I do not happen to have a third hand. I suppose I could have emptied out the pop on the sidewalk or something – but that didn’t seem very polite. An easier solution soon presented itself, though – there was another abandoned little cart there – and, after trying to maneuver the two carts into the store, I did the easier thing today: I transferred my affections over to the soda-less one and proceeded into the store.

I felt a twinge of guilt at leaving that other cart out there, but I decided that today someone else could take responsibility for it.

I did my shopping with my little cart and then grabbed my bags out of it and left it to socialize with all the other carts in the store’s entrance. And wouldn’t you know it? As I was coming out of the store I saw a sweet white-haired older woman pushing the shopping cart with the soda can towards the store. Karma, right? I went up to her and said, “Here, let me get that pop can for you – I think that’ll make it easier for you to maneuver the cart.” She smiled as I picked the can out of the cart and took it to a patch of dirt to empty it, and then dropped it into a bin near the store. This is when the dear woman said, “You’re a nice person. Thanks, Hon!” I sheepishly thanked her – not explaining that I’d encountered the cart before her and had left it there.

Here’s my lesson for today: As soon as I saw that abandoned shopping cart – as soon as I saw the pop can in it – it became my responsibility, didn’t it? I was going to have to deal with it sooner or later. I did get a “Thanks, Hon!” out of it, though. 🙂

Interracial Kindness 4




Trying to change the moment…

“Trying to change the moment into something more comfortable instead of just accepting it for what it is… is really a waste of energy, ain’t it?… Of course, if you’re sitting on a tack or something, you might want to remove it, but still…” – Karen Molenaar Terrell, Great 21st Century Philosopher 

Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause, – wait on God. Then we push onward, until boundless thought walks enraptured, and conception unconfined is winged to reach the divine glory. – Mary Baker Eddy


I had one of those days today. I got out of work a little late, and as I was driving home I started thinking about all the stuff that I still had to do before I could finally lay me down to sleep – there were things to feed and walk and tend – and I was really not looking forward to any of it.  In fact, the more I thought about what lay ahead, the more burdened and overwhelmed I felt by it all.  It was cold. It was dark. I just wanted a hot bath and bed and a good book.

When I walked into the house I found I’d walked into a sort of mini-crisis. I realized, then, that I was going to need to go back out on the road, drive back into the town I’d just come from, spend a lot of money, and use up a couple more hours of my night before I’d ever see that hot bath or my bed.

And this is when I had an epiphany: I wasn’t going to be able to change the circumstances, but I could change my response to them. Instead of focusing my energies on trying to find comfort for myself, I could just accept what was – not make any judgment on the moment as good or bad – not wish it away or wish it was something different –  and just live it.

Long ago I discovered that if I was biking or hiking or running uphill, and I was fighting the hill, it made it harder for me. But if I just let myself relax into it, everything came easier.  So that’s what I did with this “mental uphill” tonight.  I just sort of let myself lay back on the waters and let the currents take me where I needed to go.

I still needed to go back out on the road, still needed to drive into town, still needed to spend money – but I actually enjoyed myself, met some really helpful people, and even had the opportunity for some laughs I wouldn’t have had if I’d stayed home.

        One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity. – Mary Baker Eddy

Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts. – Mary Baker Eddy


A Sermon on Sermonizing

I had a kind of epiphany last week.

I was musing about why it is that we sometimes feel the need to step in and “take over” for someone else who has been given responsibilities and duties that we think are important. What makes us think that we can do better than the other individual? Why can’t we trust them to do the job they’ve been given?

It occurred to me that by not trusting others to do their job, we aren’t trusting God, either.

If I think that I, as an individual, need to push someone else out of the way and do his job, then I am limiting God, the power of Good; personalizing the concept of competence; and taking on a false sense of responsibility.  If I think the world is dependent on me to keep it going, then it’s possible that – just maybe – I have a kind of an inflated sense of my own place in it. 🙂

There was a day last week when I got this close l—l to sermonizing on someone. It was obvious to me that this other person needed the enlightenment of my great wisdom. But as I drew breath to launch into my pontification, a voice said, “Wait. Trust. Respect.”  And in that moment I realized all at once that we ALL have access to Truth and Love – that no one is somehow shut off from it – and that no one else needs me “to set him straight.”

And how freeing that was for me!

Okay, I have to include this little clip from My Fair Lady. I just hafta…  🙂

“No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you… What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.  Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.” – Job 12 and Job 13