Freed from toe injury

Originally published with a different title in The Christian Science Monitor’s Christian Science Perspective column October 31, 2022.

When I was in elementary school, every year for Halloween the students would wear costumes to school. One year, a boy pulled his mask out of his backpack, looked at it briefly, and then stuffed it back inside. “I’m not going to wear that,” he muttered to no one in particular. “I just want to be more me today.”

Fast-forward to an afternoon many years later, when my bare foot smashed into the edge of an ottoman I was walking past. It was quite painful, and it also seemed clear that a toe was broken. Upset, I lamented, “I wish I could just go back to being the me I was thirty seconds ago!”

Suddenly the boy’s comment about being “more me” came to mind. It was so out of the blue that it derailed my aggravation-fueled train of thought, and I instead found myself considering, “What does it mean to be me?”

Christian Science offers the encouraging perspective that there’s a lot more to us than meets the eye. On the surface it appears we’re simply material beings, subject to the volatility of mortal existence. But Christ Jesus’ teachings and healing works proved that we don’t have to settle for such a limiting concept of ourselves. We’re God’s children—spiritual and flawless because we’re made in the very image of perfect, divine Spirit. 

That is the true us. Forever. God is infinite and eternal, so our selfhood as the expression of His harmony, wholeness, and goodness is, too. It’s not something that can fluctuate, break, or be lost. We can’t “go back to” being spiritually perfect because it’s impossible to stop being what God made us in the first place.

That’s a pretty radical way of looking at ourselves—especially when we’re not feeling at all harmonious or whole. But past experience has shown me that when we start from that standpoint of our true, spiritual nature, it becomes more tangibly real to us.

As I considered these ideas, my frustration and fear lifted. Encouraged, I reached out to a Christian Science practitioner for treatment through prayer. He pointed me to something Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: “I learned long ago that the world could neither deprive me of something nor give me anything . . .” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 281).

This really spoke to me. There’s literally nothing in the world—ottoman or otherwise—that can deprive us of our God-given health, wholeness, joy, or peace. God, Spirit, is the source of all that’s good and true—all that we are. Matter can’t touch Spirit or Spirit’s creation. In fact, infinite Spirit can’t even conceive of matter, which thus doesn’t have the power or reality it seems to.

Over the next few days, as the practitioner and I continued praying, I was increasingly able to put more weight on my foot. And less than a week after the incident, I freely participated in several active days of family wedding activities—including happily dancing in heels. Through further prayer, any lingering discomfort in the toe went away for good.

Each of us can treasure and live out from our eternal selfhood as God’s cared for, unblemished child—with healing effect. What better way to be more us?

Liz Butterfield Wallingford
Chesterfield, Missouri, US

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