Breakfast at our house was a lingering event. Until the last scrap of toast was gone, our family had animated discussions about everything and anything, always ending with a sharing of uplifting spiritual ideas. When our children developed broadening interests of their own, their contributions were usually brief and to the point; then, they were off to tackle the day. That left my husband, me, and our perpetually hungry St. Bernard, who entertained us with her steady, unblinking gaze, often fixed on a doughnut tidbit she knew would eventually be hers.
I loved those conversations, but I didn’t always realize how much I was going to value them for what they would teach me. They were one of the things I missed most when my husband passed on. I knew that Christ Jesus taught and proved that the continuity of being doesn’t come to an end. Christian Science was teaching me that God is Life itself. But I still missed the talks.
Late one night, I was startled out of a deep sleep with an intense feeling of loneliness. Surprised at how aggressive it was, all I could utter was a fervent prayer, “Father, help me!” Now God never withholds His healing messages any more than the sun holds back its warmth and light, but my thought was so crowded with the problem that I couldn’t hear His voice—until I did a mental about-face. I turned to God with full attention, as a child turns to a trusted parent. Immediately a question came to thought.
“In all the time your house bustled with activity and rang with music, did you ever have an opportunity to see your husband as a son of God?” With humility I answered, “Every moment of every day.” The final response was gentle but firm, and crystal clear, “You still do. Nothing has changed.”
Nothing has changed?!
Things certainly seemed to have changed. But I soon realized that was outward circumstances. My inner conviction hadn’t changed. A little glimmer of light began to stir in my thought. Man is still the likeness of the living God, I reasoned. That hasn’t changed. God is Love that doesn’t disappear, but is with us always. That doesn’t change. Spiritual progress enlightens thought and allows each of us to understand the undying bond between God and man created in His image. That never changes. God is Life, the Scriptures imply, and He is unchanging Love. Then how can His likeness be changeable? All that needed to change, I realized, was my attitude!
I turned to God with full attention, as a child turns to a trusted parent.
Suddenly the darkness in my thought was gone. I was so filled with the light of love and gratitude for the tenderness of that healing message that there was no room for depression or grief. All loneliness had vanished. In its place was Love, inseparable from man, constant, secure—an intelligent presence so tangible I could feel it. I was absolutely certain that my husband, wherever he was in his spiritual journey, was embraced by the same living Love.
It wasn’t until the next morning that something dawned on me that made me smile. I’d just had a conversation with “Someone” I love, and who loved me! Prayer was no longer a monologue, but a dialogue. God had spoken to me and I’d listened. I knew it wasn’t just a talk with myself by the way it made me feel. It filled my heart with peace. That sweet prayerful conversation brought to me a quiet sense of love unmixed with grief or fear, and I knew that nothing could diminish or take it away. I thought of Moses, to whom God spoke “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). When I looked a little deeper into that word friend, how grateful I was to learn that its rich meaning in the Bible includes brother, close companion, husband, shepherd (see Strong’s Concordance).
That prayerful conversation had lifted me out of darkness into the light of the Christ. While it told me nothing had changed, actually it changed everything. From that time forward, I felt a deeply satisfying sense of purpose—a renewed interest in spiritual ideas, a refreshing conviction that what Jesus taught about eternal Life is not theoretical or transcendental, but so practical that it has an impact on everything we do.
Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Knowledge of the living God and the divine nature, Christ, which Jesus lived and demonstrated through his healing works, changed the world. When Jesus made his appearance among mankind, the angels sang with joy! His faithful follower, Mary Baker Eddy, discovered that those angels are still singing with healing messages straight from God. She wrote of angels, “Oh, may you feel this touch,—it is not the clasping of hands, nor a loved person present; it is more than this: it is a spiritual idea that lights your path!” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 306).
Angels convey God’s messages to us, sometimes so clearly that they seem like a conversation. They deliver healing ideas when we need them most. They prepare thought for the powerful Christ-message that resurrects individual thought, lifting it to the spiritual peace and joy so natural to man in God’s likeness. In the quietness of prayer we can ask for, and hear, those angelic messages. They lighten the load, give us direction, and waken in our hearts the reassurance that we are His—never alone, but loved and valued.
Centuries ago the Psalmist cried, “I will hear what God the Lord will speak” (Psalms 85:8). That’s not out of date. Today, through the words and works of Christ Jesus and through Christian Science, which is based firmly on his teaching, we can begin to understand God’s nature: Love so pure that it blesses with unfailing benevolence; Life so unmixed with mortality that it lifts our understanding to freedom from fear and limitation; Truth so powerful that it destroys suffering just as light destroys darkness.
There’s nothing exclusive about those conversations with God. Anyone, at any time, for any reason, can pray. When you need to feel loved, when you need a friend, you can always enter into that inner sanctuary of prayer, close the door, and have a healing conversation with Someone who loves you. That will never change.
Marian English, a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science, is from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where she is Second Reader of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist.