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Healing on a hike

From the January 12, 2015 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Emily
— COURTESY PHOTO

It was a spontaneous idea. My mom and I decided to go for a hike. We knew wherever we stopped, we were going to express endurance, patience, courage, and qualities from God, divine Soul, such as joy and harmony. 

My mom and I drove four hours to the mountains to go on a backpacking trip with our dogs. We packed very light—the majority of the weight was our food. When we got to the trailhead, we suited up the dogs with their own little packs to carry and started off.

We trekked through meadows and climbed over the remains of avalanches. We passed through bushes and forests to reach the top of the mountain, where the union of two mountain ranges was visible to us. It took us half a day to get up to our campsite—ultimately, we climbed up 3,000 feet.

Once we reached the top, we had to find a spot to spend the night. The mountain air cooled us down and made the leaves on the trees flutter and billow. After passing several campsites, we settled on one. It was located next to a small creek with trees enclosing us from all directions. 

We clipped each of my dogs to a separate tree, then started unpacking our supplies. All of a sudden we heard one of the dogs whimpering and the repetitious sound of his snapping jaw. We quickly turned our heads to find a swarm of wasps around both of the dogs. They were unable to defend themselves because they were tied to the trees. I was sympathetic toward both of my dogs’ helplessness. So I decided to run in and unhook the one closer to me, pushing down my rolled-up pant legs and pulling up my socks to shield myself. I ran in determined to get the leash off the tree. 

As I was running, I felt a sharp pain in my left leg, and then my right, and I became infuriated at the wasps’ aggressiveness. But then the thought came to me that they were just trying to protect themselves from what they perceived as danger. I decided to change my perception of the wasps. I thought about their persistence and protection over their vespiary, their nest.

I got my dog away from the tree, and we were soon able to free the other dog as well. My legs were in pain, but I did not want to accept the false thought that pain was inevitable. I knew that God was always protecting me. I kept thinking how all of God’s creations have to live in harmony. If we accept that we live under the government of one divine Mind, then none of Mind’s ideas can be in conflict. 

I kept thinking how all of God’s creations have to live in harmony.

My mom, seeing me struggling with the pain, proposed the idea of going back down the mountain that moment. But I felt that going back down wouldn’t accomplish anything. Instead, I went and sat down by the creek and started to pray out loud a quote that I have had memorized since I was very young, a quote that provides me with the understanding of my true strength and security: “the scientific statement of being” from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. My mom joined in as I repeated it: 

“There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual” (p. 468). 

I realized how helpful it can be to have quotes memorized for when you are away from home, online resources, and books and periodicals. When in need, you have your favorite memorized hymns, passages, or verses to pray with. 

After repeating that quote, I started to feel forgiveness. When we forgive someone or something for hurting us, we are freed from carrying around that anger, that frustration, that burden of disliking or fearing that person or, in my case … wasps! I watched as my dogs, who had both been in the thicket of wasps just ten minutes ago, danced around me joyfully. My thought became at peace, and I stopped focusing so much on pushing the thought of pain away. I understood more about how pain is a false belief and doesn’t have actual substance or reality. I then stood up and started to collect wood for the fire without discomfort, and I was able to continue the trip with ease.

It has become much clearer to me how false the pain was, and that it never was a part of me. It could never have been true, since I am a child of God. What was true, and is always true and real, is God’s permanent goodness.


Emily De Wulf is a senior in high school in Seattle. She is a part of the DiscoveryBound National Leadership Council, likes playing many sports, and enjoys hiking and backpacking.

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