Midway through college, I found myself in an especially rough place. Over about a year and a half, several individuals I cared about, including a beloved college friend and my cat, had passed on. Not only was I sad and angry, but I also felt confused. A deep question surfaced from within: Why? Why all of the hurt when there was also so much good in my life? How was it possible to have both, when they felt so drastically different? This launched me on a quest for answers.
Soon I started to find them. In various books I came across ideas that gave me a larger sense of existence. I found myself talking with people from all walks of life—conversations that left us with a feeling of a bigger-than-us type of experience. I wasn’t quite able to articulate what I was learning, but I was gaining a sense that the purpose of life is grander than what I’d previously considered.
By this time, I was living and working in Northern California and felt at home with my work and community. However, an opportunity came up to move to Boston, and while I wasn’t quite ready for a change, a deep intuition told me it was the right choice.
Before long, I’d found the perfect apartment, with two housemates, in Boston. It turned out that one housemate practiced a religion I didn’t know much about: Christian Science. Naturally I was curious, because I still wanted answers to my questions, and I was also interested in learning how others understand the purpose of life. This housemate shared some of the teachings of Christian Science with me, though we didn’t really talk specifics. A few weeks later, though, a friend of his who was also a Christian Scientist came for a visit, and over dinner we got into a conversation about Christian Science. The next day he gifted me a copy of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
Over the next few days, I spent time exploring the book in the quiet refuge of our balcony, and the most wonderful thing happened. As I was reading, I felt as though my different life experiences were starting to connect and make sense. I had a clearer understanding that we’re all one universal, spiritual family—something I’d felt vaguely before, but couldn’t say confidently was an undergirding truth of our existence. As a result, I began to approach my interactions with neighbors, coworkers, and people on the street with a deeper understanding of real love and universal oneness. I understood that we have the same source—God, good—and that because of this, everyone has the innate capacity to be helpful, kind, and loving.
I also gained a new perspective on death: that it isn’t the final chapter of life. Science and Health was illuminating for me that Life is God and therefore is eternal. I was learning that the qualities my loved ones expressed and individualized are actually sourced in this divine Life, Spirit, Love. So all the amazing qualities that I’d appreciated and loved in these dear ones were still very much present, because their source, God, is ever present. With this new understanding of existence, I felt my sadness, confusion, and anger subside.
Oh, and as for the purpose of existence, that, too, became clear: to express and bear witness to Love! To live and rejoice in what Jesus called the kingdom of heaven—the consciousness of Love—where dark thoughts like depression, anger, jealousy, pain, or anything that would plague or separate us, have no place and can be proved powerless.
While initially I was mainly interested in studying Science and Health, as the “Key to the Scriptures” it naturally led me to the Bible. Though I hadn’t previously had much of a relationship with the Bible, as I explored and pondered, I started to understand scriptural stories and teachings in a whole new light. And this gave more context and meaning to what I was reading in Science and Health.
Finally, my deepest questions were indeed being answered. And I could see how God, divine Mind, had been guiding me every step of the way into a more profound understanding of the reality and beauty of eternal Life. I am so deeply grateful and blessed to have found the truth of being in Christian Science.
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