Safe after a fall
The practice of Christian Science has given me a lifetime of healings to be grateful for. About two years ago, I was asked to come out of retirement to participate in a geology research project that required doing fieldwork in remote parts of Death Valley National Park in California—places I had studied four decades earlier. The project turned out to be rewarding, and my husband especially enjoyed assisting me.
On the Saturday before Easter, we investigated a location reached by a long drive up a very rough road and an hour-long hike down a high-walled and boulder-strewn wash (a dry streambed), followed by a climb up a steep, rocky slope. After documenting the geologic evidence at this site, we began our hike back.
Suddenly, the slope gave way under me, and I was rolling down the hill sideways over sharp rocks. I grabbed a boulder to try to stop myself, but it came loose and started rolling with me. As I tumbled uncontrollably, two thoughts came to me: first, “It’s a long way to the bottom”—which woke me up to the need to act fast—and second, “Deny the error!”—which guided me regarding what to do. With conviction, I yelled “No!” And immediately, I stopped rolling, even though I was still on a steep portion of the slope, and stood up.
With a heart overflowing with gratitude, I felt I was standing on holy ground. That “No!” meant I quit looking for a human solution and left everything to God.
Soon, my husband joined me. By then, the bleeding from cuts caused by the stones had stopped, there was little pain, and we could continue our hike. Getting back quickly was important, as the temperature was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with no shade anywhere and no way to call for assistance in this rarely visited area.
The uphill portion of the return hike felt daunting. My legs seemed limited to taking only the smallest steps in the rugged terrain. Discouragement was trying to take over and rob me of the earlier precious moment of feeling totally cared for by God.
Then, another angel message came to me: “Are you having trouble with your concept of God? Do you think God is some kind of superhero, who rescues a maiden in distress and then goes on to the next person, leaving the maiden to her own devices?” This bit of humor met my need. I have so often witnessed proof of God’s continuous and ever-present love, and I now became confident that divine Love was with me every step of the way. I held steadfastly to that simple fact, and by the time we reached the dirt track where our vehicle was parked, I was walking freely.
That week’s Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly with its Easter theme had inspired me all week. Two phrases from the spiritual definition of resurrection in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy were especially helpful: “spiritualization of thought” and “material belief yielding to spiritual understanding” (p. 593). I reasoned that I could lift myself above the impression of having been injured and in peril by realizing my unchanged spiritual nature and letting go of the material images and sensations associated with the experience.
On reaching our accommodations, I emailed a Christian Science practitioner, requesting metaphysical treatment and expressing gratitude for the healing progress already apparent. As I cleaned up, I observed that most of the wounds were neatly closed. And I knew the battered appearance of my left calf was not the true view of my spiritual identity.
That night, after continued prayer, I slept peacefully, and by morning the swelling, discoloration, and discomfort had evaporated. After celebrating Easter morning with quiet time in prayer, I resumed my fieldwork with confidence and joy.
But I still had an important lesson to learn. As I changed the bandages, I found the remaining wounds where the skin had been more severely scraped disturbing. I remembered that a Christian Science nurse had once explained the importance of seeing the metaphysical basis of every nursing activity. Now, I thought of applying fresh spiritual inspiration with every new bandage. I obeyed Mrs. Eddy’s instruction to “stand porter at the door of thought.” She explains, “Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously” (Science and Health, p. 392). I also listened for a new inspiring thought—such as a line from a hymn, a Bible verse, or an idea from the Bible Lesson. This activity was a time filled with gratitude.
Soon the bandages were no longer needed, and the healing was complete in every detail within two months. All disturbing memories of the fall were also completely healed. I’d thought I might no longer be able to engage in the type of cross-country hiking I have enjoyed all my life. But I have continued to celebrate the “glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21), hiking freely without fear.
What a blessing Mrs. Eddy gave us when she discovered Christian Science and shared it with humanity.
Janet Griswold Gordon
Pasadena, California, US