Love clears the way
For two years I worked as a mentor for high school students from under-served backgrounds. The job required long hours of work as well as travel to see students from rural areas. Near the end of their final year, students began receiving college financial aid packages, but few of the packages looked promising.
After one particularly long trip, I came home feeling exhausted and a little defeated. So many of my students’ options seemed limited by finances, when the whole point was to expand them. One student I’d worked closely with said that even though she had been accepted to her dream school, she wouldn’t be able to attend for financial reasons. After tirelessly editing students’ scholarship essays, meeting after school to help fill out applications, and making countless phone calls to talk through options, I felt things were out of my control, and I was unsure how to help further.
Debriefing my week with a coworker, I found myself experiencing a severe headache and congestion. My coworker drove me home as I drifted in and out of anxious and uncomfortable sleep.
I knew I needed to take care of both my physical state and this work predicament, so at home that night, I prayed. My thought was clouded with the physical discomfort, the fear of the outcome for my students, and a sense of personal responsibility for their choices. I was having difficulty reading, so instead I closed my eyes and thought of a hymn I knew well:
From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me,
From mist and shadow into Truth’s clear day;
The dawn of all things real is breaking o’er me,
My heart is singing: I have found the way.
(Violet Hay, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 64, © CSBD)
I quietly considered the idea that our path becomes clear as we turn from a material sense of our circumstances to Soul, which is another name for God, the spiritual substance of our experience. It was OK if I didn’t know the next step right now for my student who couldn’t afford her dream school, and it was OK if I was unsure how to help. My job wasn’t to fix my student’s situation or figure out a way to make my body feel better; my job was to yield to the “dawn of all things real,” or in other words, to the understanding that God, Spirit, is our true foundation.
When I woke up the next day, although the symptoms hadn’t fully faded, I felt more peaceful, and I held on to the idea that divine Love, God, gives us clarity. Even if I hadn’t yet seen the way forward, I knew I could rejoice in Love. Seeking a little more inspiration, I reached out to a friend. She spoke of another hymn, “Nearer, my God, to Thee” (Hymnal, No. 192), and I immediately felt from that one phrase that nothing could come between God and me. Even before the outcome was clear, I felt a great sense of peace.
It can sometimes seem difficult to feel the closeness of God when circumstances arise that appear out of our control. Even if we feel far away from God, lost, or unclear, healing comes when we see that in reality, there is never any distance at all. I realized nothing could be closer to me than God—not symptoms, fear, nor finances. In every moment, divine Love is the closest thing to us.
When I got to the office that day, I saw a message from my student’s financial advisor telling her, “Don’t be discouraged; we will work through this together.”
A calm washed over me. In what seemed like a moment, my outlook shifted, and any remaining heaviness lifted from my shoulders. The tension left my head, and the congestion cleared. I felt the intimate closeness of divine Love all around and was freed from stress and discomfort.
It wasn’t long before we learned that this student would be able to attend her top-choice school on another scholarship. She felt wholly supported by this institution, not only financially, but also because they believed in her and her dreams. We celebrated both her ability to attend and her confidence that she belonged there.
I have come to see that the greatest gift was feeling divine Love’s presence right with me, removing all fear. Now I can lean on this experience whenever I feel unclear; divine light cannot help but break through to show the way.
The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, “Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious—as Life eternally is—can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 495).
I am ever grateful for this experience showing the healing effect of calm trust in God. We can expect this as a natural result of our alignment with and recognition of God’s all-encompassing goodness. If you are ever feeling distant from God, good, or if a circumstance seems to be clouding your sense of peace, cling to the fact that your clarity and closeness to God can never be disrupted. Surely the clouds will part and your heart will sing, “I have found the way”!