Radical Acts and 'Radical Actors'
Since June 2012, TMC Youth has devoted a section of its website, time4thinkers.com, to “Radical Acts,” an ecumenical online community that’s following Jesus’ toughest teachings together (see time4thinkers.com/blog/the-radical-acts). Participants are challenging themselves, for example, to be childlike, forgive 70 x 7, or even multiply “loaves and fishes”—then sharing their stories online.
“Radical Acts” is for youth and youthful thinkers of all ages. A participant shares her story below:
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This past summer I had the privilege of being a “Radical Actor.” Every day I would take a few Radical Acts and tuck them into my heart. I would leave myself clues so I wouldn’t forget to live them.
One day, I chose “be childlike,” “travel without a wallet,” and “walk on water.” I drew a little footprint above a wave on my thumbnail with a Sharpie marker for that last one.
It was the last day of our daughters’ final session at camp, and a rodeo was the centerpiece of the day. Our daughters love their horses, and they love riding. They are fearless and skilled. Every camper, staff member, counselor, and visiting parent would be there to celebrate.
While entering the arena for the final event of the rodeo, our daughter Clara’s beloved and highly spirited horse bucked her forward, and then reared so that her face collided forcibly with her horse’s head.
I knew by the way she came off her horse and was holding her face that I needed to be quick in getting to her. I began to pray, gratefully knowing that God was already there.
Upon reaching her in the dust, I knew this would require a radical trust in God’s control. What had happened to Clara’s face was alarming. Clara’s mouth had been injured by her braces and there were other visible injuries. But it was her childlike love and her trust in God that took my fear away.
After I talked with Clara’s dad, it seemed right to take her to the local hospital 40 minutes away. Remembering “walk on the water,” I thought: “You are both being buoyed by the presence of God. You are not being pulled down into the dark waters of chaos, or carried away by emotion, but lifted above the waves of fear by Love.”
Clara asked for quiet so that she could pray. I called a Christian Science practitioner and I continued to pray, too. When we reached the hospital, we were both peaceful. I felt that it wasn’t me deciding to be calm. It was a divine calmness, a spiritual stillness “being” me.
Clara was admitted and seen by the Emergency Room nurses and physicians. They said Clara would need X-rays. The surgeon on call would evaluate them, then remove a piece of wire embedded in her upper lip as well as set any fractures in her nose and face and assess the need for any further treatment.
While we were waiting, I wished I had grabbed the copies of the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures I keep in my car. But I didn’t want to leave our daughter to get them. I realized that we were “traveling without a wallet.” We had all we needed—something else that had been driven home during the summer.
“O Jesus, our dear Master,
Thy works, now understood,
Reveal their full effulgence
Through love and brotherhood.
Today Christ’s precious Science
Thy healing power makes plain:
With joy may all obey thee
And cast out sin and pain.”
—Margaret G. Matters,
Christian Science Hymnal, (No. 221, © CSBD)
The small examination room seemed like a holy place. We were surrounded by love, gifted with care and heavenly inspiration, and we could expect the Christ to bear witness to our daughter’s wholeness, perfection, and loveliness at every turn.
And we felt God with us—in the kindness of the medical nurses, doctors, and during a call from Clara’s counselor. Right before my eyes, the swelling went away, Clara’s color came back, and her face returned to normal.
The surgeon joined us and did a thorough examination. Using nothing more than a cotton swab, he gently lifted the embedded wire that no one had even wanted to try to extricate moments before. They hadn’t felt they could do it.
He then said that he saw nothing out of place, noting on her chart “likely nasal fractures” and that everything was set in place and healing fine. He added that the lacerations to the insides of her lips from her braces no longer needed the care the staff originally mentioned.
Clara was calm and smiling.
The doctor did not prescribe any medication for pain or to address inflammation, or recommend that she return for a follow-up visit.
He did suggest that she would have “some pretty bad black eyes by the next day.” But when the first blush of blue started to appear, Clara refused that invitation, and the dark black eyes never developed.
That night Clara enjoyed being at the end-of-session camp banquet with all the people who’d witnessed this radical act of trusting God. And I couldn’t help but give gratitude for the invitation to be a “Radical Actor” this summer. This was just one day of many that I saw how really living and learning from Jesus’ teachings is transformative.