Recovery from effects of physical trauma

Shortly after retiring from a busy job when I was well into my ninth decade, I moved into a second-floor apartment in the house of my younger daughter and her husband. They are Christian Scientists, as I have been since being introduced to Christian Science as a young girl. 

The entrance to my apartment is on the first floor, in a small hall that also includes the entrance to the basement. One Friday evening about a year and a half ago, as I was making my way toward the stairs to my apartment after dinner with my family, I took a wrong turn in the dark and fell down the long flight of basement stairs. My daughter and son-in-law heard the noise and found me on the basement floor in what appeared to be a state of shock and confusion. However, I am told that I began to say aloud the Lord’s Prayer with my son-in-law, while my daughter called 911. She also immediately contacted a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful treatment, as I would have wanted her to do. 

I remember becoming aware of my circumstances in the ambulance and hearing my daughter, who accompanied me, singing hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal. I was told that we were on the way to the trauma center of a local hospital. There, I had an MRI, and the medical verdict was a fractured skull, fractured ribs, and multiple abrasions. My desire was to rely wholly on God for healing, and while I was given stitches, I declined pain medication and other medical treatment the doctors offered to me. 

On Monday morning, I was transferred to the nearest Christian Science nursing facility, where for the next several weeks I was visited daily by family and friends. During my younger daughter’s first visit, I suggested that it might be time for me to “pack it in,” or give up, to which she vigorously replied, “No, Mom. We are going to get through this!”

And we did. With the cheerful, skillful, and attentive help of the Christian Science nurses and daily treatment from the practitioner, I made steady progress. The Christian Science nurses helped me physically when, within a few days, I wanted to sit up in a chair and, shortly thereafter, begin walking.

I spoke regularly with the practitioner and was encouraged by our conversations and the passages he shared from the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings. My family set up smart speakers for me in my room, which were especially useful when it was difficult to move, as I was able to use voice commands to access all of these books and the weekly Bible Lessons from the Christian Science Quarterly. I spent many hours listening to and pondering spiritual truths, and at night humming and rehearsing the words of so many of the uplifting hymns in the Hymnal. 

One statement that I kept continually in thought was this from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy: “. . . progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfil” (p. 233). Another helpful passage in the same book was, “The recuperative action of the system, when mentally sustained by Truth, goes on naturally” (p. 447). I realized I needed to keep my thought on Truth, God, and on my perfection as His expression, rather than on the physical circumstances. 

In that regard, the following statement was also very helpful: “Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony” (Science and Health, p. 495). I endeavored to do this and to stick with the truth that nothing discordant had anything to do with my real being—with me as a spiritual idea of God. All that mattered was my relationship to God, which was intact and harmonious and had not changed or been disrupted by an accident or other inharmonious circumstance of any kind.

In five weeks I was released from the Christian Science nursing facility and returned home, able to walk up the stairs to my second-floor apartment and once again care for my daily needs. 

My overarching feeling during this experience was gratitude—for the availability of the Christian Science nursing facility, for the practical and loving nursing care I received from the Christian Science nurses, for my family’s care, and for the practitioner’s patience and faithful prayer. 

Moreover, I was—and am—grateful for the courage, strength, comfort, and healing that Christian Science has given me over many years.

Joann Smedley
Scarsdale, New York, US

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