Freed from painful memories

Recently I was troubled by some unhappy memories that kept coming to thought. The memories stemmed from a time over fifty years ago when I was involved in what turned out to be an unwise relationship. Although the situation had been resolved through my prayers and those of a Christian Science practitioner, and I had moved on, I have never been completely comfortable with the way I handled things. I felt I had fallen short of acting up to my highest sense of right, so I’d tried to blank the whole episode out of my memory. 

Now, though, as the memories came back, I prayed to God for forgiveness regarding the hurt I felt I had caused others in the situation and for the ability to deal with these recurring memories in a way that would enable me to look back at events without guilt or sadness. 

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes, “When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone,—but more grace, obedience, and love” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 127). 

As I prayed over the course of a month, I received God’s comforting messages of love and grace, which sometimes came as remembered passages and accounts from the Bible. For example, I considered the fact that Saul (later known as Paul) had initially persecuted Christians, but after a profound encounter with Christ, he experienced a complete character transformation and became one of the most effective apostles. In his letter to Christians at Philippi, he wrote: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13, 14).

Christ Jesus often taught through parables, and I found it helpful to consider the parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11–24). Ultimately, the father throws a party when his son returns repentant and humbled, illustrating that “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” (Luke 15:10).

Also, my sister pointed out this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy: “If the evil is over in the repentant mortal mind, while its effects still remain on the individual, you can remove this disorder as God’s law is fulfilled and reformation cancels the crime” (p. 404). I understood that repentance and reformation bring healing.

On the drive to a Christian Science Thanksgiving Day service, I thought of a hymn that contains the words “Love looseth thee, and lifteth me . . .” (Mary Baker Eddy, Poems, p. 79). The word Love there is being employed as a synonym for God, and this idea really spoke to me. I saw that the other person in the relationship had been loosed from it, and I had been lifted out of it. I realized that the sense of responsibility I had felt about ending the relationship was not legitimate. This was such a freeing thought. I sang this hymn all the way to church—and, interestingly, it was the first hymn we sang at that service. 

A testimony of gratitude from another attendee included a message they had received from God when praying about a situation in their life: “I have something better for you.” This brought me peace, as I realized that this message also applied to me and to the person I’d been in the relationship with. God had something better for both of us, something I had certainly found to be true in the years since the relationship ended.

I also found the following idea comforting; it helped me see that nothing that had happened in the past could be attached to any of us. “It is well to know, dear reader, that our material, mortal history is but the record of dreams, not of man’s real existence, and the dream has no place in the Science of being. . . .

“The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged” (Mary Baker Eddy, Retrospection and Introspection, pp. 21–22). 

I realized I needed to apply everything I was learning to others, too. I knew that in the past I had judged certain people of my acquaintance, as well as politicians and other high-profile figures, somewhat harshly. Now I needed to claim for them what I had claimed for myself, namely reformation, and I needed to stop being so judgmental! 

This experience, which took place over two years ago, enabled me to gain a sense of peace regarding my past and transformed me into a more compassionate and forgiving person.

Every day we all can see more of the person of God’s making in ourselves and in those we come in contact with. I am very grateful to be learning in Christian Science that universal divine Love, God, is the way. 

Dilys Bell
Coulsdon, Surrey, England

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