Days before my children and young grandchildren were to move to the United States, I began to feel enormous anxiety. I remember meeting a friend on the street, who told me how her two children were living in Europe and how she had moments of desperation being so far from them. Her comment heightened my sadness and filled me with the fear that the same thing would happen to me.

Another day, while I was driving my car, anxious thoughts began to plague me again. I turned on the radio to distract myself. Just at that moment, the announcer commented on the number of Argentine families who were suffering from separation from their loved ones, and she commented on one case that, far from distracting me, only increased my sorrow.

Days later, and at different times during the day, I began thinking about the words of Jesus to his disciples, as he stood on the Mount of Olives before his crucifixion: "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death" (Matt. 26:38). The Gospel of Luke says, "And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed ... And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation" (22:41, 45, 46). I said to myself, "Here is the message!" Jesus asked that we be watchful and pray that we not fall into the temptation to be sad.

Then I began to reason that happiness is a spiritual quality that comes from God, and that therefore we don't depend on a person or a place to be happy. As citizens of the kingdom of heaven, we can claim happiness as a spiritual inheritance, when we believe we're going through a situation that seems hopeless.

It has been many months now since my family left for the United States. I miss them, but I have gained serenity and peace, and the fear of feeling desperate has left.

The second beatitude Jesus gave us says, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4). A Bible commentary defines blessedness as "an inward fountain of joy in the soul itself, which no outward circumstance can seriously affect" (The One Volume Bible Commentary, p. 639).

I am very grateful for the teachings of Christian Science, which strengthen us at times when we need help.


When the pain gave way TO PROGRESS
August 1, 2005

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