For the single person desiring satisfying companionship or eventual marriage, a big question is how to find the right person. Loneliness often looms as a frightening obstacle to happiness and fulfillment. In a world full of people, can we be sure we'll find a companion to love and trust? And how will we know this special individual from our other friends?
A logical beginning is to understand better our own true identity and our relationship to God. Man, the full and complete expression of God, divine Love, includes the right idea of companionship. However, we're apt to think of ourselves as incomplete, and this mistaken self-concept is a primary cause of loneliness.
We forfeit our God-given right to the peace and satisfaction of fulfillment and completeness when we falsely identify ourselves as unloved, deficient. And we really can't expect to be treasured as someone else's companion when we don't even treasure ourselves.
Through prayer we can discover our true identity as God's perfect idea, and so find fulfillment. As understood in Christian Science, prayer concerning companionship, to be effective, calls for far more than petitioning God to give us a person who will comfort us. Prayer includes recognizing and affirming man's completeness as the full reflection of God, our loving Father-Mother. It denies that anyone is half an entity—that man is a biological organism divided into sexes.
As God's idea, man is a unit. He doesn't become complete; he already is. Knowing ourselves to be the flawless offspring of the perfect creator eliminates any sense of inadequacy and prepares us to feel God's ever-present love in a tangible way.
It's best to think of companionship in terms of the ideas or qualities we want our lives to include more fully. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Kindred tastes, motives, and aspirations are necessary to the formation of a happy and permanent companionship." Science and Health, p. 60; If we want a joyous, gentle, unselfish, honest, and affectionate companion, we must express these same qualities.
Actually, each of us already includes and expresses every good quality, but we often think of ourselves as missing something, as incomplete or unwanted. Better thinking is required. We must persistently argue for our completeness, consistently denying claims to the contrary, until we feel a genuine realization of God's love.
In addition to this prayerful acknowledgment of our own identity, it's essential that we recognize Godlike qualities in others. Since we're basically dealing with ideas, we must look beyond the physical to the spiritual—see beyond height and weight and dress to man's spiritual statistics. A truly beautiful human being expresses many Godlike qualities, such as love, purity, understanding. It's good to remind ourselves that qualities of thought, not beautiful matter, provide real satisfaction.
Our ability to recognize the good in others is weakened by impure thinking. Mrs. Eddy writes, "A sensual thought, like an atom of dust thrown into the face of spiritual immensity, is dense blindness instead of a scientific eternal consciousness of creation." p. 263; And Christ Jesus said, "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matt. 5:28;
An experience I had shows the importance of keeping a clear sense of what constitutes true manhood.
One summer I worked for a firm that had hired many more young women my age than men. Materialism argued that here was a great chance to assert my manhood. I found myself thinking that manhood was dependent on popularity with the opposite sex.
About midsummer I saw the fallacy of this concept of manhood. I found I'd been regarding myself not as the compound idea of God, including and expressing His ideas, but as a material male in a temporary Garden of Eden. I now realized my manhood was an established fact, dependent only on my inseparable relationship with God.
With this truer concept of myself and of my relationship to God, I was able to see these friends in a different light. Now a girl I had dated all summer with only a casual regard took on a different appearance. Her physical appearance hadn't changed, but suddenly she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I recognized in her all the qualities I had always valued in a companion, and a deep sense of peace and satisfaction accompanied this revelation. Three months later we were engaged to be married.
Christ Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." v. 8; So, too, are we blessed as we purify our thoughts—our concepts of ourselves and others. When we stop believing that we're limited, incomplete material organisms, we find our lives are full and complete, joyous expressions of God's infinite, eternal love. Fullness of life is never realized while we believe life lacks something for us. Tearfully pleading for God to add to His creation is not the solution. Effective prayer is the consistent acknowledgment of our present completeness.
To the degree that we express, acknowledge, and value the Christ —the true idea of man—in every situation, we see that God, Love, abundantly supplies our every human need. And we glimpse what Mrs. Eddy means when she writes: "As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible. When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness." Science and Health, p. 264.
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