From a mental abyss to a new life

Originally published in German

The end of March is crocus time in our garden. Once, I saw two crocuses that had sprouted right next to each other, and their buds were still closed. They had been pressed to the ground by the wind and rain. Some days later, while still lying on the ground, the blossoms had opened and were showing their yellow stamens so bees could pollinate them.

I was deeply impressed by this. To me it was a symbol of continued vitality and purpose despite hardship.

Fifty years ago, I found myself in a situation that pushed me over the edge mentally, as if into an abyss. Two things had happened simultaneously, and they robbed me of all hope and the desire to live. I felt as if I were in a deep hole, alone, and too weak to climb out. 

One day when I felt the most helpless and desperate, my sister came and took me to her home, where I stayed for several days. I’m sure she was praying during this time. To this day, I am very grateful for all her support. 

While I can no longer say exactly what was going through my head, I’m sure that one of the things that moved me was the twenty-third Psalm from the Bible. Here is one verse that shows God’s care: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (verse 4).

Recently I read an article in The Christian Science Journal that further conveys what strengthened me. The article describes seven synonyms, or names, for God in Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, uses these terms for God in her writings: Life, Truth, Principle, Mind, Spirit, Soul, and Love. As I read the article, I felt surrounded by these synonyms and saw how they are important to each of us: I reflect Life; I express Principle and harmony; Mind and intelligence are always with me, strengthening me; I reflect the calm of Soul that radiates both outward and inward; Spirit gives me freedom. I saw that my life includes energy and health. Truth, integrity, and perfection define my life, and I am the manifestation of divine Love, expressing patience and friendliness. 

Simply put, we are each the reflection of God and all of His qualities. As we express these qualities, we are strengthened. 

Right after I recovered from that low point in my life, I spent two years in England working as a German language teacher. Later I worked for a year in Kazakhstan with young students, with university students and their teachers from the German-Kazakh University, and with other German teachers in the region. I also took a ten-month trip around the world by myself. Some years later, after retiring, I was a tour guide in my city. That was very fulfilling and gave me a great deal of joy. 

The blooms of the crocuses show that even when pressed down by wind and rain, they don’t stop fulfilling their purpose. Today I can say that I found and am fulfilling my life’s purpose, which involves turning to God and expressing God in all that I do.

I am deeply grateful for everything I have learned in Christian Science and the help it has given me in my life. It has blessed me abundantly. 

H. Renner 
Potsdam, Germany

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