Love doesn't leave us when a person does
Originally appeared on spirituality.com
I’d wanted to be married and have children ever since I played house as a little girl. It was my favorite game. After my mother died and my father remarried, my home life was unsettled for the first time. Not long afterward, I married my first husband. Looking back now, I can see that I thought marriage would bring the stability and safety I craved.
I was a bit disillusioned to find that marriage didn’t make my whole life automatically better. But I told myself that this was just how life was; this wasn’t the movies, after all. After this marriage ended in divorce, finding a man to share my life with went back to the top of my list of things to accomplish. I just wanted to do it better, to be more successful at being part of a couple.
This time I had more realistic expectations, I thought, and I felt better able to contribute to a solid relationship. I had a stronger sense of individuality and rather than needing a partner, as before, I wanted one.
I’d prayed a lot throughout my first marriage and before my second to understand better my identity as part of God’s perfect creation. I definitely felt more secure and whole than I had before.
Enter husband number two. I thought he was the answer to my prayers, the solution to all my problems. I loved him dearly and felt that he’d be my partner for life. I was wrong. When this marriage failed, I was forced to admit that once I’d met my husband, I’d quit praying about identity and relationships. I thought I’d gotten the desired healing, and this man was it!
Now I took an honest look at myself and saw that I’d gotten a lot of my feeling of self-worth from the praise of others. My self-esteem had improved in between marriages, but much of that had still come from the attention I’d gotten from men I dated, friends who cared about me, and bosses who appreciated my work. I liked myself well enough, but I felt better when praise was coming my way. It wasn’t a secure foundation for marriage or anything else.
When my second husband’s affection slipped away, so did my sense of self-worth. I felt like a complete failure, and I was upset that the spiritual lessons I’d learned earlier seemed like a waste. What had happened to the progress I’d made?
One day in the depths of depression, it hit me that this was actually an opportunity—the opportunity to get a better sense of my spiritual identity. I didn’t need another person to make me feel whole. I already had God. And God isn’t a consolation prize, He is the real deal.
I decided to try to get to know God better, to feel closer to Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus knew God as Spirit, a presence that fills all space, but this presence isn’t material at all. Spirit is actually the substance of all things.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Truth, Life, and Love are substance, as the Scriptures use this word in Hebrews: ‘The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’” This is a different view than the one most people subscribe to, but it has a solid Biblical basis. And I’d had physical healings based on this premise before. It was worth thinking about further.
I’d previously felt comforted to know that God exists and is taking care of me, but I had wanted tangible proof of that fact. I wanted people in my life who would enrich it, particularly a loving man. Now I began to see that God was the source of all the good in my life, and I couldn’t be separated from His never-ending supply, ever.
There was no place or condition where I could be apart from God, Love. Like the rest of God’s creation, I was undeniably connected to Love at all times. It wasn’t given to me when I was good or after I’d had a spiritual insight. And it wasn’t taken away from me if I neglected to pray or keep a spiritual focus. Love and I are inseparable, always.
And Love doesn’t leave us when a person does, either permanently or temporarily. It occurred to me how much I’d limited good by assigning it to a particular person or persons.
Around the same time, I saw that while prayer opens our eyes to what divine Love is always doing for us, it doesn’t make anything “happen.” Prayer doesn’t change things from bad to good, though it may seem that way to human perception. The bad—in any degree—doesn’t really exist, because God didn’t create it.
So what prayer does is elevate our thinking to the point where we can see and accept the good that is actually ours. Communion with God gives us a better grasp of spiritual reality—the good at hand—and this understanding is then expressed in our lives in tangible forms.
I slowly began to see that progress in human terms means going from bad to better, but spiritual progress has a completely different premise. It’s the perpetual unfolding of perfection, the revelation of God’s perfection to man—all men, women, and children. Now I was looking at life with a spiritual perspective, and the way I felt about myself changed for the better.
I took a good look at who I am spiritually, and I started to appreciate myself as God’s child. I realized that I wasn’t praying through problems to become something better, but that I was already at the point of perfection right then. Right then I was the expression of Love and Life, and therefore, it was natural for me to express love, joy, patience, kindness, and satisfaction.
I didn’t have to wait for others to express these qualities to me for me to feel loved. I was loved no matter what. Through my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned that as God’s child, I am at one with Love. I express it and am the object of Love.
Before, when feeling loved was intermittent and dependent on others, I often subordinated my needs in favor of other people’s. I now started to value myself in a way I hadn’t previously, and I began to express the inner strength and confidence that comes from knowing that I reflect God.
These days, I am able to stand up for myself when necessary, trust my instincts, and enjoy my own company. This doesn’t mean that I ignore or trample on other people’s needs, but that I can respond to them from this new understanding of my own completeness.
Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health, “This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object ….” My life is now a testament to this. I am single, but really content.
I’m not looking for anyone to complete me, though I have lots of wonderful friends and a dear family, and I love them. I have a daughter I adore and am dating a man I really care about. I feel really blessed. But whether I’m alone or with others, my life is filled with the presence of Love. The love of God doesn’t mean that we have to live a solitary life, but that all our relationships are enriched.
Marriage can be a wonderful thing, but it’s not necessarily the solution to loneliness, self-esteem issues, or any other problem. We don’t need to look outside of ourselves for happiness and satisfaction. We already have everything we need to feel completely at peace. God created us, and He made us whole and complete. And that’s the best solution there is!
Loved by Love:
Science and Health
King James Bible