Something Has Changed Inside of Me

Grey, dark, cold – rain pounding
on the streets. Dreariest of dreary
days. I feel myself going under –
filled with worries and fears.
This year has been a rough one –
death has danced around me
and mine, dishonesty seems
in power, grasping greed weaves
its way through our world,
wanting more, wanting ours.

I get in my car for the drive home.
And Mindy Jostyn’s music flowers –
blooms in my auto’s space –
she’s singing of kindness and love
and a new day dawning. And I
stop. I shift. My thoughts rise above
the dark and grey and I smile. I
will stop and see Dad on my way
home and it won’t be a chore –
I’m grateful he’s still here – I’ll
hold his hand and kiss his forehead
and tell him I love him once more.

He asks me if he’s coming home
with me. I tell him his home is here.
He says whenever he tries to get
invited to someone’s home, they
tell him he’s already there.
He grins and tells me he’s lucky
to have me. I tell him I love him
and blow him a kiss.

And back in the car again. The day
is still grey, and the rain still pours,
but I don’t see gloom. I don’t see drear.
Something has shifted in me and I soar
over the road and over the clouds.
Nothing has changed at all outwardly
but something has changed inside of me.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Bow Sunrise

Sunrise on the way to work. October 2, 2017. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

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The Pressure to Feel Merry

(Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book)

It has been a challenging month for a lot of people. Yesterday when I was running around, doing last minute Christmas shopping, I ran into three friends who teared-up when I asked them how they were doing – one had lost a husband not long ago, the second had lost her mom, the third her dad.  The husband of a fourth friend is going through medical treatment for cancer. And then there is the tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut.

It just might be that some of us are not inclined to feel all jolly-cheery right now.

And I’m here to tell you, if you are one of those folks – it is alright. It’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.  There’s no need or reason to judge your feelings, or to try to force them to be what they’re not. That’s just silly.

At Christmas there’s a lot of pressure on people to feel “The Christmas Spirit.” No one wants to be the Christmas Scrooge.  I think we all want to share in the spirit of joy and generosity and hope.  But pressuring ourselves to be happy, trying to force ourselves to be jolly, is maybe not the best way to get there.  Then it becomes a battle, rather than a natural unfolding.

Here’s the good news: There’s no law that says we can’t feel the Christmas spirit on December 26th, or December 27th, or March 1st – we‘re not limited to feeling joy, generosity, and hope on this one day a year.  So even if, this year, we just can’t seem to get there on December 25th, we still have the opportunity to feel the spirit whenever or wherever it unfolds for us.

And here’s another bit of good news that I’ve discovered in my own adventures with sadness and grief: I have found that it is possible to be happy even when you’re sad. Which. Yeah, I know that sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? But it’s true!

May joy settle upon you gently, moment by moment – may you catch it in the playful grin on a child’s face, in the uplift that comes from Beethoven’s Joy, in the smell of something good baking in the oven, in the hug from a friend – may you relax and enjoy those moments for what they are, and what they give you.  And may any pressure you feel to somehow make those moments bigger, or brighter, or louder ease and lift from you.

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