My path, once dark, is filled with light
Two years after college, my life felt empty and meaningless. I searched for spiritual understanding by attending many different church denominations, but none felt satisfying. Then I turned to hallucinogenic drugs for inspiration and soon became dependent on them.
Because of the drugs and my general state of thought, I couldn’t function in any workplace. It seemed I’d reached a dead end. I felt trapped.
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Looking back, I’d say my search for Spirit was floundering because of my material viewpoint. I had no idea of the infinitude of what I was seeking. However, my ignorance did not discredit my desire or diminish my sincerity. Though life seemed dark, and I didn’t know much about what I wanted, I had a deep longing to understand God, and that desire was a prayer moving me toward Truth.
In the middle of one restless night, I opened my eyes and found my room filled with light. I felt a sense of purity embracing me. Renewed and at peace, I fell asleep. The following morning, I knew I needed to change course. I had not worked in months, but that day I had a sense of direction. It was clear I should find a job.
My home was out in the country, far from businesses, and I did not have a car, so my prospects for finding work nearby seemed dim. But in the regional newspaper’s “help wanted” section, there was a job listing within walking distance. It was a girls’ camp preparing for its summer season, and I was hired as a carpenter. It turned out to be engaging work for some lovely people.
I became friends with the grandmotherly owner of the camp, who was a Christian Scientist. As I got to know her whole family, I thought they were exceptional. When I asked what was different about them, they suggested it was their religion. So, I asked if I could go to church with them. They invited me to a Wednesday evening testimony meeting at their branch Church of Christ, Scientist.
I did not follow all the readings that night (passages selected from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy), but as I listened to the testimonies of healing and thoughts on Christian Science from the congregation, everything made sense. I heard someone say that we are all the perfect children of God. That resonated with what I had always felt to be true.
I was stunned to find a church like this and wondered, “Are they for real?” But as I got acquainted with the members, I was relieved and pleased to see that they lived what they believed.
I continued attending the church and began reading The Christian Science Journal and Sentinel. I also began studying the weekly Bible Lesson found in the Christian Science Quarterly. Through many hours of study each day, I found answers to the challenges confronting me. My life was being transformed. People remarked that I looked better. They said my expression had changed from sour and cynical to pleasant and friendly. As I grew closer to divine Mind, God, the desire for drugs evaporated.
I began a deep study of Science and Health. I read the first chapter, “Prayer,” and then reread and reread it because it explained so much I wanted to know about my relation to God—how to listen, how to pray, how prayer heals. I had come from a background where the clergy prescribed prayers, and it was inspiring to find that I could commune directly with God.
This chapter introduced me to seven synonyms for God that the textbook emphasizes—Love, Mind, Spirit, Principle, Truth, Life, Soul—and that describe God’s nature and character. I learned that we do not pray to try to get God’s attention or to remind God to be God. Instead we exchange limited beliefs about Deity for the understanding of God as infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent good.
One of the things that most appealed to me about Christian Science was its view of Christ Jesus as God’s Way-shower for humanity. Science and Health explains: “Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration, that we may understand how this divine Principle heals the sick, casts out error, and triumphs over death. Jesus presented the ideal of God better than could any man whose origin was less spiritual” (p. 25).
I had questioned the so-called miracles attributed to Jesus and didn’t see their relevance to our age. But through my study of Christian Science, I came to see that they were not instances of God intervening to change the “natural” order of things, but of Jesus understanding and demonstrating what was already spiritually and permanently true. Science and Health points out: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy” (pp. 476–477).
The fact that Jesus told his followers to do as he did gave me the hope that I could practice these truths myself. When I began investigating Christian Science, I thought it would be another stop for me along the road of many beliefs. But instead it became my home—the anchor for all of my thinking and actions.
Although I didn’t take up the study until after college, you could say that I grew up in Christian Science. As I grew conscious of my true identity as a spiritual child of God, I matured and experienced a complete character reformation. And the harmony of Mind continues to be expressed in my life to this day—in good health, a loving marriage and family, and meaningful businesses.
As Science and Health states on page 423: “The Christian Scientist, understanding scientifically that all is Mind, commences with mental causation, the truth of being, to destroy the error. This corrective is an alterative, reaching to every part of the human system. According to Scripture, it searches ‘the joints and marrow,’ and it restores the harmony of man.”
God, divine Love, led me from struggling in the darkness to thriving in the light. For this, I am very grateful.