Do you ever wonder, when your prayer appears to be met: Is this God, or just coincidence? Is spiritual understanding actually affecting me?
This is something I used to think about all the time. Then I had the following healing experience. It was one of many I had as a riding instructor at a summer camp for Christian Scientists.
In the summer of 2010, walking sleepily back to my room located above the camp stables, I had a sudden, alert voice in my head saying that I should check the horses one more time. It was dark, I had my headlamp on, and I did one last-minute scan of the seven horses in the paddock, a fenced-in area. Several pairs of gleaming eyes shone back at me, and then one of the mares, Lakota, walked right in front of me, her fly-repellent blanket half-hanging off her in shreds.
Extremely grateful that I was alert to spiritual intuition, and despite the fact that I was wearing just sandals on my feet (I felt I didn’t have time to change my shoes), I entered the paddock in order to help free Lakota from the blanket, since there was the possibility of her getting caught in it and injuring herself. The herd as a whole was restless, and with her blanket hanging off her, Lakota was spooked and scared.
To avoid startling the horses anymore, I shut off my headlamp, and when I did, I was very glad for the bright moonlight, which allowed me to see perfectly clearly in the paddock. (This signified to me that the light of Truth was all around!) When I tried to approach Lakota again, she ran away, the other horses making her uneasy as they excitedly trotted by. I could see the situation wasn’t going to be resolved through mere human logic.
Instead of continuing my fruitless attempts to try and catch Lakota, I stopped, closed my eyes, and prayed. I was really working to understand and accept the all-powerful oneness of God, divine Mind, and Mind’s effective harmony. I applied sound spiritual logic, knowing that only perfection can dwell in the consciousness of Mind, and that perfection is the eternal state of our being as ideas of God. This oneness of Mind includes God’s creatures, too. Another thought I had been praying with the whole summer (since I was in contact with many different critters!) was a phrase Mary Baker Eddy uses in Science and Health: “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible” (p. 514). This idea helped put me on the right track to mentally correcting the chaotic picture in front of me. It also erased any fear of my getting hurt, since in the past Lakota in particular could be grouchy with people.
A sense of peace and an actual silence suddenly enveloped me.
Immediately after I turned to these thoughts, Lakota walked over to me. I managed to get the front strap of the blanket undone, but the other horses followed her over, once again scaring her off before I could undo the buckle around her belly. This meant that the blanket was now even more loosely hanging off her. It was trailing in between her back legs, scaring her more, and presenting an even greater chance of it getting tangled.
Well aware of the fact that I had nothing covering my toes with seven horses running around in an enclosed area, I again shut out the troubling circumstances and continued on with my previous prayers, accepting God’s universal care and complete harmony.
Then, a sense of peace and an actual silence suddenly enveloped me.
The next thing I knew I heard the solitary clip-clop of hooves approaching me. When I opened my eyes, there was Lakota, fly-sheet free. It had fallen off in the far end of the paddock. All the other horses were standing quietly and calmly away from Lakota. A blanket of tranquility had fallen over the paddock.
I walked over to pick up the remnants of the fly sheet, and when I looked at the buckle that had come undone, I smiled in amazement. The way it worked, there was no possibility of it coming undone on its own. It just looked impossible. This really cued me in to the idea that every action must be through God, in divine consciousness. This situation had been completely under God’s control, and I realized it always had been, and continued to be.
As I quietly stood there, all the horses continued to mingle peacefully. Tucker, a sweet seven-year-old Appendix horse, walked slowly over to me. He stopped a few feet in front of me, put his head down, and nuzzled my toes with his soft nose, (as if acknowledging that he knew I didn’t have good shoes on!) communicating that he wouldn’t hurt me. After resting his head on my chest for a few seconds, he let me kiss his nose, and then he walked away.
At that moment, I felt more peaceful and more fearless than I ever have around horses, and really took that phrase from Science and Health about “all God’s creatures” to heart. I could feel the allness of God’s presence of harmony. It was perfect serenity.
After that sense of peace came, I knew that I could leave and that the horses would be fine. I had never seen the presence of God demonstrated so quickly, and was in a state of awe and extreme gratitude. As I lay down that night to fall asleep, I smiled at the thought of my healing with the horses. It was an exciting step forward in understanding my relationship with God.
This experience was one of the big stepping-stones for me down the path that, today, has led me to a more complete understanding and acceptance of God being the only cause, with man being the effect, the reflection of God. It has taken prayer, studying, and several more proofs of God’s care for me to really grasp that God is not just sometimes there, not circumstantial or coincidental, but omnipresent—He is All-in-all, always.
Elodie Reed is a junior at Amherst College.
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