What can you do when a loved one seems to turn away from you? How and where can you find peace and healing?
I’ve gotten insight about this from the book Retrospection and Introspection by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science. She writes, “The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged” (p. 22).
It isn’t enough just to forgive someone else, or ourselves, for an inharmonious incident without understanding the spiritual basis for doing so. The entire human record of anger, umbrage, and bad feelings is not part of spiritual reality. Expunging involves not just wiping this record out of consciousness, but demonstrating God’s eternal, unchanging law of love and harmony. This is possible because, as Christian Science teaches, we are each the idea of the one Mind, the child of the one God, made in His perfect likeness. We can never truly be out of harmony with each other.
The textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Eddy, points out, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; …” (p. 340). I’ve realized that, in practice, the way to see this demonstrated is to fully love others—even those we feel have wronged us—as the spiritual children of God, reflecting all of God’s graces. Eddy further states, in the article “Love Your Enemies,” found in Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896: “Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation?
“Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception? What is it that harms you? Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good,—that blesses infinitely one and all?” (p. 8).
Because God is Love, and as we learn in the first chapter of Genesis we are made in God’s likeness, we can each demonstrate the love that expresses divine Love. We can love every individual in his or her true, spiritual identity—on the understanding that all of creation, every man and woman, is created by our loving, divine Maker as His spiritual reflection—as good, pure, and holy.
We can know, and earnestly strive to live, this understanding of the truth of being, every moment. Science and Health teaches, “The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love” (p. 201). It’s not always easy, but each of us can resolve to do just that!—to see only the truth about our being, to appreciate the Godlike qualities that we all express, qualities such as exuberance, caring, vitality, joy. In so doing, we strengthen our spiritual perspective and gain peace of mind.
We can never truly be out of harmony with each other.
Many years ago, I had proof that this approach works and can heal even the stickiest situation. At that time, my dear son suddenly cut off contact with me. He had been absent from several family gatherings I had attended, but I heard that he’d been present at those gatherings where I’d been absent. Almost without believing this could be intentional, I asked my daughter if there was a problem between her brother and me. She confirmed that there was, but said that I would have to talk to him to find out the nature of the difficulty.
I called, emailed, and texted him, without response. I was at a loss to understand what had happened, what I had done wrong. At first I was angry and defensive. But soon, I turned to prayer.
As I prayed, the answer that came to me was: “Just love. Don’t try to understand the mortal hows or whys. No matter what, just love.” I looked up all that Eddy has to say about love (there’s a lot!), and found her definition of Gethsemane in Science and Health particularly apt: “Patient woe; the human yielding to the divine; love meeting no response, but still remaining love” (p. 586). Our dear Master, Christ Jesus, had been here before, showing the way, loving even those who hated him, and commanding that we, too, “love one another” (John 13:34). I could strive to do that.
In my daily prayers, I included a specific acknowledgment of both my son’s and my identity as the reflection of God, naturally expressing goodness, kindness, purity, and love. I marked my calendar to call him every Sunday to chat. He never picked up, so I was talking to his voice mailbox, but that was OK. Without condemnation or guilt, I filled him in on my weekly doings and always ended with “I love you.”
Over the course of the ensuing months, I found my thought lifted and softened as I saw this dear man as God’s spiritual child. All vestiges of hurt or anger entirely melted away. I felt the truth of these lines in the Christian Science Hymnal: “Healed is thy hardness, His love hath dissolved it” (P. M., No. 278), and I was at peace.
After a year, the reconciliation happened. It was just a natural getting together, and the feeling was that we had never been apart. And, indeed, we never truly had been. God’s love had always been surrounding both of us, and had always been expressed in us. Now this love was being seen and demonstrated, expressed outwardly.
We read in the Bible, “Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:8, New King James Version). This love highlights our eternal relationship to God, as divine Love’s idea—and our relationship to each other, to all of God’s ideas. Indeed, Mary Baker Eddy had many experiences in her life when friends and loved ones left her. Yet with all she went through, she was able to write: “I will love, if another hates. I will gain a balance on the side of good, my true being” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 104). And earlier on that same page: “How shall we reach our true selves? Through Love. The Principle of Christian Science is Love, and its idea represents Love. This divine Principle and idea are demonstrated, in healing, to be God and the real man.”
We can know that, in truth, all of us are always and forever our true selves, loving and harmonious.