Rusty, our golden retriever, was missing.
It was evening, around the time when we usually bring him inside for the night. But he was nowhere to be found. Everyone in my family was immediately concerned for Rusty’s safety, as he had never been beyond the wooded area that surrounds our house. And now, darkness had fallen, and it was starting to rain pretty heavily. To make matters worse, there had been several recent stories in the news about animals that had disappeared or been treated cruelly outside their homes.
I was extremely afraid, imagining all kinds of worst-case scenarios. But my mom shared a passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that helped me think more clearly and more spiritually about the situation. The passage was, “God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men” (p. 550). It was reassuring to think of Rusty being preserved by God and to know that he could never be outside God’s safeguarding, life-giving power.
Since this happened over the holidays, when we had a lot of family visiting, Rusty’s disappearance led to a major search party. All my relatives grabbed flashlights and headed off in different directions to look for Rusty. But hours of searching turned up nothing.
It was tempting to feel discouraged and afraid, but I’ve learned through studying Christian Science that I can always pray effectively by starting with God and what I know about Him. Starting with God, who is Truth, allows the reality of God’s goodness, and His total control over every situation, to come to light.
My family members were all praying with the idea that Rusty was included in Love, which is All, and that God was supplying the intelligence and guidance that we needed to find Rusty. This idea from Science and Health encapsulated what we were knowing about our dear dog: “There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected” (pp. 502–503). We prayed to understand that as an idea of God, Rusty could not be separated from his creator. And we worked to recognize that God’s care was immediate and ever present. I could feel the love and power behind these prayers.
Rusty was included in Love, which is All.
After searching the areas close to our house, my mom decided to jump in her car and head a mile away to where there’s a long, winding road that takes you to a neighborhood behind our property. She drove up and down the road in the dark, looking for Rusty. After she searched the entire length of road, the thought came to her to backtrack and look again in one particular area. This time, though, the guidance came to roll down her window and call to Rusty. At the time, this seemed silly because it was dark, pouring rain, and it was unlikely that her calls could even be heard. But she followed the leading. After she called to Rusty several times, the door of a nearby house opened and a man appeared through the rain on his front step. He pointed across the street and said that he thought the house across the street had our dog. Then he quickly disappeared back into his house.
My mom wasn’t sure she had heard him correctly, but she trusted that as Mind’s idea, Rusty was safe in God’s tender, loving care. And so she followed the man’s instructions, pulling up in front of the house he had pointed to. Trusting God as Mind and the only intelligence, my mom went up to the front door and knocked. The door opened, and my mom told the gentleman who answered the door that she was looking for our golden retriever. He smiled and said that Rusty was in their garage!
Rusty had been wrapped in a blanket and was sound asleep on a cushion on the floor. He had been given food and water, and the man told my mom that his kids had sat with Rusty for a while to calm him. Rusty had lost his name tag with our number on it. But Love not only directed him to safety, but Love also led us to him.
My mom loaded Rusty in the car and headed home. We were all so happy to have our dear boy back.
How comforting to know that Rusty, as God’s idea, had never been lost, because God’s love embraces all His creatures. I am so grateful for God’s love and care for all His ideas.
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