McCain: The One Thing I Know…

Here’s how McCain’s death has affected me, in a personal way – I’ve come to realize what a chicken shit I am – I stand on the sidelines criticizing the GOP, criticizing the DNC, criticizing the politicians who don’t support universal health care, criticizing the political leaders who have allowed corporations to take over our country, criticizing the politicians who aren’t giving shelter to those seeking asylum and the homeless, poor, and unemployed – I send my letters, post my blog posts, march in the marches, criticize my fellow human beings who aren’t doing what I think they should be doing – and what the hell?! It’s easy for me to stand on the sidelines and lob my criticisms at the people who are “in charge” – it’s a lot easier than actually stepping up to the plate and running for office myself. I am humbled because I realize I am lacking the courage to put myself out there in the fray and open MYSELF up to criticism, and the slander, libel, and rumors that always seem to circulate around people who are willing to shoulder our responsibility for us.

I am deeply conflicted about McCain. I find it hard to stick pins into a man who endured five years of torture – who refused to be released from prison so long as his comrades were still in there – and I can’t help but wonder how *I* might have been changed if I’d gone through the same circumstances. I’d like to think I’d be really noble about it all, and forgiving, and so forth. But I don’t know. I don’t know how an experience like that would have changed me.

There were things McCain did that were horrible. Horrible. I would agree with anyone who said that. But I find I don’t have it in me to hate this man.

Right now I find myself thinking about that moment when he cast his vote against dismantling the ACA. I find myself thinking about that moment when he stood up for his rival, Obama, against that woman’s prejudices and misinformation. I find myself thinking about how he refused to be released from prison until his comrades were released. I find myself thinking about the family who loved him.

This is the one thing I know, for sure, about McCain – he had courage. And I’m not sure I have it in the same quantity.

I don’t see how anyone’s anger towards this man is going to make the world a better place.

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The Job of Mainstream Media

“When the press is gagged, liberty is besieged…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, founder of The Christian Science Monitor

It is not the job of mainstream media to present the President in a positive way. It is the job of mainstream media to report the facts, and it is the responsibility of the citizenry to stay informed of the facts. And sometimes none of that is any fun.

***

Here is a link to a survey about media on the Trump-Pence website that I found very interesting. I took the survey, but at the end it asked for my email and so forth and I didn’t want to share that stuff so I didn’t submit my answers. I’m sure y’all can guess how I answered the questions, though. 🙂 I suppose as you would find on any political website – Republican OR Democrat – the questions had built-in bias in them. That was not unexpected. For fun and mental stimulation, you might want to put on your critical thinking caps and look for the bias in the questions.

Here is how I answered a couple of the questions –

#18 Do you agree with President Trump’s strategy of communicating directly with his supporters through Twitter, email, and Facebook videos?
– Twittering your opinions into an echo chamber is not very presidential, no.

#26 What percentage do you believe is an accurate representation of President Trump’s positive news coverage by the mainstream media?
– Regarding the previous question (#26) I don’t think it is the job of mainstream media to represent Trump in a positive or a negative way. It is the job of mainstream media to report the facts.

“It is the pulpit and press, clerical robes and the prohibiting of free speech, that cradles and covers the sins of the world,—all unmitigated systems of crime; and it requires the enlightenment of these worthies, through civil and religious reform, to blot out all inhuman codes. ”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

fake news isn't

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…  🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3mC4485Ue0

“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