Intense anger overcome
I was lying in bed at 3:00 in the morning—in a country on the other side of the globe from my home—wide awake and seething. I was so angry and frustrated that I couldn’t sleep, which only added to my frustration.
I was on a small team that was designing sales education programs for a global company, and we were in Europe, piloting the program in several countries. It was a high-pressure work environment, and our team leader was exacting in every detail. I was exhausted, feeling as if I could do nothing right, even though I was working as hard as I could. I had regularly been staying up well past midnight, carefully checking and proofing materials, then waking up at 6 a.m. to start all over again. So it made me angry that our leader could only find fault with me.
As I lay in bed, a thought popped into mind: “I bet she’s not lying awake right now.” This thought jogged me out of the all-absorbing anger. My team leader was likely sleeping peacefully, not lying awake trying to cause me harm. She wasn’t doing anything to me. The “villain” here was actually “mortal mind,” which is explained in the Christian Science textbook as “the flesh opposed to Spirit, the human mind and evil in contradistinction to the divine Mind, or Truth and good” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 114 ). My colleague had no power over my thoughts or experience—and in reality, neither did mortal mind.
I decided to pray, and this passage from the Bible came to me: “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39 ). There was no power that could separate me from God. And God was always supplying me with the love, patience, and spiritual self-worth that I needed.
I started to see that my team leader’s actions weren’t an attack on me, and I didn’t need to let them attack my thinking. I’ve always loved these thoughts from an article called “Taking Offense” published in Mrs. Eddy’s book Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896: “The mental arrow shot from another’s bow is practically harmless, unless our own thought barbs it. It is our pride that makes another’s criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another’s deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt by another’s self-assertion.” And, we should be “determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is, unless the offense be against God” (pp. 223–224 ).
Nothing this person said or did could harm me or have power over me if I didn’t take it in. To release myself from this emotional upheaval, I needed to really understand that core idea. Since I could not be separate from God, I couldn’t even feel separate. God is Love, the source of patience, integrity, caring, and kindness. And God is Principle, which rightly directs and guides my work. I knew this was true for me, my team leader, and all of our coworkers.
I was able to get through the next day’s work without fatigue, and I completed the rest of the trip without irritation. Whenever I saw my team leader, I would hold firmly to the truth that we each had an individual relationship to God, and that our intents and motives could only be good. For several months after this trip, we continued to work together, and I continued to see both of us as innocent, loving children of God.
Later, we were put on separate projects, and my new team leader was one of the most loving and caring women I’d had the opportunity to work with. Still, a little while into this new project, I realized how much I had actually learned from my previous team leader during our time together, and I felt a renewed appreciation for how hard she, too, had been trying, and compassion for what her experience must have been like on that project.
Before leaving this job several months ago, I asked this woman if we could talk on the phone. I felt strongly that the relationship needed a harmonious resolution. I prayed in preparation for our talk, but I felt no anger—only the deep desire for a full healing for both of us. The call was amazing. Unprompted, she told me how bad she felt about how that project had gone and shared how much she’d learned since then about good leadership. I completely forgave her, and likewise apologized to her for not being the colleague she needed as she struggled through this first project. We parted amicably, with good wishes for each other and gratitude for the lessons we had both learned.
I am so grateful for the boundless possibilities of Christian Science healing.
Palo Alto, California, US