The heart stone

We can refuse to consent to loss of any kind.

When my sister was in her teens, she and a friend found a sizable stone roughly in the shape of a heart in a crumbling stone wall in the woods. Someone had, at one time, taken great care to chisel another heart in the stone’s center, transforming it into a birdbath. The property had been abandoned for years, so my sister and her friend carried the makeshift birdbath home, and from that point on it always had a special place in our garden. 

Years later, after my sister married and had a home of her own, the stone occupied a place in a garden leading up to her front door. Then one day it disappeared. She and her family made an exhaustive search of their property and the neighborhood, but with no result. 

I couldn’t accept the loss of the stone, and I told my sister I was going to pray about this, to which she agreed. 

Instead of praying for the return of a missing object, though, I prayed for spiritual understanding that would enable me to reject the concept of loss. This idea in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy helped: “Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul” (p. 269). This question and answer from an article in Mrs. Eddy’s Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 was enlightening as well: “. . . is a stone spiritual? 

“To erring material sense, No! but to unerring spiritual sense, it is a small manifestation of Mind, a type of spiritual substance, ‘the substance of things hoped for’ ” (p. 27).

This helped me to let go of the stone as a material object and see it instead as a symbol representing the spiritual substance of God’s love. In its truest sense, it represented the love of home and family, a welcoming place of belonging, where all are nourished and nurtured, right down to the birds and wildlife.

Then, one Easter Sunday my husband and I were driving to my sister’s home to spend the day with our family. That morning my thought was absorbed with another stone. The scriptural selection that had been read in church earlier that morning included this verse: “Behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it” (Matthew 28:2).

The greatest loss had occurred. Jesus had been crucified and placed in a sepulcher with a massive stone blocking the entrance. It looked final and inarguable that there had been a loss of a man’s life. The stone rolled in front of the tomb symbolized to me the supposed finality of death, an ending that could never be undone. And yet, here was this mighty angel, a message from God, rolling that misconception right out of the way in victory over this belief that life comes to an end. This demonstrated God’s power and dominion over death for all mankind, for all time. This is what our Master, Christ Jesus, came to show us.

I realized that accepting even small, seemingly inconsequential losses leads to the larger concession to loss of life and must be resisted in whatever form presented. This was why I intuitively had been resisting loss of any kind in my own life. I realized that, if not dealt with, the belief that I could lose something could continue to disturb my thought. It needed to be thoroughly destroyed through the power of God’s law. I felt deeply inspired.

When we arrived at my sister’s home, she and my nieces were standing in the garden with big smiles of welcome. As I joined them, they directed me to look in the garden: There was the stone! It had been discovered a few feet away from its original location, slightly sunk into the earth. Although the garden had been thoroughly raked out each of the past two years, it was only now that the stone had been found. We all rejoiced to see it again.

I saw the stone as a symbol representing the spiritual substance of God’s love. 

Later, when driving home, I went to God in prayer again, asking what the spiritual lesson of the heart stone was and how the reappearance of it had come about. The answer came quickly and clearly in the form of this sentence from Science and Health: “As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible” (p. 264). To me this confirmed that the stone had never been lost, but was just unseen for a time, until this spiritual lesson had been learned.

The heart stone’s appearance that Easter morning resurrected my faith in the truth that no loss had been experienced—and divine Love had revealed this spiritual fact. Although I was grateful for the reappearance of the stone, this was not the deepest blessing. I’d realized that by exercising the spiritual resolve that God gives to all, we can refuse to consent to loss of any kind, whether of man’s innate spiritual integrity or even a small sentimental treasure. 

The power of God’s Christ—the true idea of God and man—is resurrecting human thought daily in innumerable ways. Nothing of real value can truly ever be lost, and staying faithful to this understanding brings this fact to light in significant ways and for all mankind.

Prayer for a friend
September 19, 2022

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