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It was winter. Mom, Dad, my twin brothers, and I had gone to our ocean cabin for the weekend. We'd spent nearly all day, bundled against the rain, playing on the wide sandy beach.
Then we huddled around the fireplace, getting warm before bedtime. Late that night the phone rang. It woke me, and I listened while my dad answered. He didn't say too much, but when he hung up, he came over to me. He sat down and told me Poppie had passed on.
At first I cried. Poppie was my great-grandfather, and I loved him and didn't want him gone. Then I looked over to the corner of the cabin where Poppie always used to sit during the summer months when he lived there. I began to remember the good things he had taught me.
"Get the almanac," he'd say. "Now, where's the highest point in the continental United States?"
"Mount Whitney." Until 1959 the highest point was Mount Whitney. When Alaska became a state, Mount McKinley took first place . "The lowest?" "In the Mojave Desert." "And how far apart are they?" he'd ask. And I would say, "Seventy-five miles."
I remember how he'd taught me the capitals of every state in the Union—the summer before we had to learn them in school. And the stories he told me about traveling across the country as a young man, about shipwrecks on the beach, bears on the sand dunes, and how to play "Oh! Susanna" on the harmonica.
Then I thought about what good is. I thought about the good from any special friendship—that it can never be lost. Even if we can't see that person again. I had learned in the Christian Science Sunday School that everything that's good has to come from God. And if it comes from God, it is eternal. That means that good doesn't have a beginning or an end. I thought, "Poppie doesn't end for me right now. I may not be able to pick up the phone and talk to him, but I can hold on to all the good and share what I learned from Poppie with my friends. He loved so much, and all that love can't be lost, because love comes from God, who is always with us."
Death is believing that life and goodness can begin and end. That they're in matter. Goodness comes from God and can never end, because God doesn't stop or start. He's just always there.
Then I remembered the Lord's Prayer, which Christ Jesus gave his followers in the Sermon on the Mount. One part of the prayer says, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Matt. 6:13. In Science and Health, where she gives the spiritual sense of the prayer, Mrs. Eddy writes, "And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death." Science and Health, p. 17. I knew I couldn't be tempted to believe that all the love Poppie gave and felt and lived could die. It couldn't. And every time I thought about Poppie, I still felt good inside. So my love for him couldn't die either.
The last line of the Lord's Prayer says, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever." Matt. 6:13. And Science and Health says, "For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All." Science and Health, p. 17.
Since God made all of us in His image and likeness, we can't ever be separated from eternal Life and God's love. Poppie certainly couldn't be. And neither could I.
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