Several years ago, I had planned to fly cross-country to visit a friend, but on the day of the flight, I awoke with a number of disturbing symptoms, including intense pain and mental confusion. I couldn’t see how I could make the trip.
I called a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful treatment, and she gave me specific instructions to read a long passage in Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The passage was the answer to the question “What is man?” on pages 475–477. The practitioner encouraged me to read slowly and to think of the passage as describing my true selfhood. With gratitude for the prayerful support, I began to do that and felt better while I was in bed reading.
A part of the passage that stood out each time I read it was: “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; ….” As I read slowly, I considered some of those right ideas, such as strength, capability, clarity.
However, when I got up from the bed to continue preparing for the trip, I still felt weak and mentally disoriented, and I couldn’t seem to function well enough to do what was needed. Still there was a desire to do what I could, and it came to me that I could call a neighbor, who is a Christian Science nurse, to see if she could assist me. She could be with me for only a short amount of time, but her presence and assistance made a big difference, and I was soon ready to leave for the airport. Another neighbor was able to take me to the airport, as it didn’t seem that I’d be able to take the public transportation I had originally planned. God was meeting every need.
Just before I left home, I called the practitioner again and mentioned my continuing need for prayerful work. She shared wonderful, uplifting thoughts. I don’t recall her exact words, but I do remember that I felt the love of God as I listened. I felt an increasing sense of confidence in my ability to follow through with the trip.
As I think back on it now, a verse from the Bible describes what was happening: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). It was really Christ, Truth, speaking in a way that I could hear, and it felt as if my strength was being renewed.
At the airport, there was a very long line for security check-in, and as I stood in line, I rejoiced in gratitude for the peace and confidence that I was feeling as I contemplated a citation I remembered from Science and Health: “God, the divine Principle of man, and man in God’s likeness are inseparable, harmonious, and eternal” (p. 336). I felt a sense of unity with all my fellow travelers and appreciated the order and peace of the check-in process.
At some point, while I was waiting for the boarding time to be announced, I noticed that not only was I completely free of pain, weakness, and confusion, but I also felt spiritually renewed, vibrant, and free to realize more of the joy of true being, of Life divine, as Mrs. Eddy wrote about in Science and Health: “Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man’s dominion over the whole earth. This understanding casts out error and heals the sick, and with it you can speak ‘as one having authority’ ” (p. 14).
As I waited for the flight, which was delayed, I had the opportunity to visit with a fellow traveler who was very interested in hearing more about Christian Science when I mentioned my study and practice of it. I happily answered many of her questions and shared with her the healing that had allowed me to be traveling that day.
The week I spent with my friend was full of joyful activity and much appreciation for the vibrancy and freedom I experienced as a result of my recognition of my true identity as the image and likeness of God. I am so grateful for my continued freedom and on-going growth in Christian Science.
Elaine (Ela) Barrett
San Diego, California, US