On a bus bound for Mazatlan . . .
I love to run. Ever since the middle of college, when I spent a summer working in the Colorado Rockies at a Christian Science summer camp, I’ve been enthralled by the sport. For me, running is such a pure way to demonstrate God’s qualities. I relish the time every morning to reflect God-given qualities such as freedom, persistence, tirelessness, joy, and self-discipline every time I lace up my running shoes.
Any sense of being shaken by the accident had completely given way to a feeling of peace.
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Recently, I lived in Mexico for two years and was able to compete in numerous marathons and half-marathons all over the country. Last December, I eagerly boarded a bus bound for Mazatlan, looking forward to an exciting weekend. My friend Miguel and I would make the overnight bus trip Friday night, spend a wonderful weekend in the city, then cap the trip off with the 26.2 mile marathon race on Sunday morning. After boarding the bus and chatting with Miguel for an hour or two, I drifted off to sleep for several hours.
I was suddenly jolted awake by the sound of screeching brakes and in less than a second found myself thrown several feet into the emergency exit railing in front of my seat, as the bus fell down into a small ravine off the side of the highway. The bus had crashed with an oncoming pickup truck, and the atmosphere was chaotic. The passengers and bus drivers gathered together to help everyone get out of the bus through the shattered front windshield—the only accessible exit.
Once everyone was outside on solid ground, I walked a short distance away from the bus, noticing bruises on my legs and blood on my hands, which had broken the fall. More than the pain, I felt mentally shaken by what had happened. Since being abruptly awakened, I felt like a thick fog of fear and panic had invaded my thought.
In Christian Science we know that desire is prayer (see Science and Health, p. 1). I desired at that moment to feel God’s comfort. I knew that I needed to pray to address the claim that accidents and chaos are a real power that could make me—or anyone—feel shaken or alone. I knew I needed to calm my thought in order to address the claims of physical pain and mental distress.
As I prayed to reach a sense of peace, I began talking out loud to reassure myself of God’s allness and to drown out mortal mind’s attempts to paralyze my thinking with fear. I started: “God never stopped! He is constantly my protector. I cannot be tricked into believing a picture of loss. God never sleeps!” I trusted that Truth would be the victor, and that my prayers would be helpful by lessening the atmosphere of fear, both for me and my fellow passengers. The confidence gained from past healings had taught me that fear could and would dissolve when one persists in admitting only the facts of God’s unbroken care for man.
I continued walking and verbally declaring the fact that an all-good God was and always had been in control. I practically shouted: “God is Life. Man is an idea that cannot be hurt. Man is created and sustained by God! All healing occurs in thought, and I cannot be convinced that an idea can be hurt!”
After walking and voicing the truth for a good while, I began to feel the fog of fear dissipating and a sense of calm moving in on my thought. Just then I looked up to see police cars, an ambulance, and another large bus arriving. All of my fellow passengers and I were told we could board the new bus, which we did with a great deal of calm. We were notified that no one from the bus had been seriously injured. As we got on the new bus, I silently continued to affirm that God had never left His children. After a short while, I drifted off to sleep again.
The bus driver’s announcement, “Estamos llegando a Mazatlan” (“We are now arriving at Mazatlan”), woke me up several hours later. I remembered what had occurred in our first bus, yet the thought of the accident seemed so unreal. I thought to myself, The lie that God is not in control is simply a human dream. When I woke up, I immediately saw that the picture of an accident could only affect me if I gave it permission to control my thinking. When only good is admitted into thought, healing is imminent because we rob the material dream of its seeming power.
In Mazatlan I continued to pray, hoping to compete in Sunday’s marathon. I focused on the idea that man’s thought directly determines what happens in his experience. I felt the need to continue affirming that I had never been touched by the picture of fear, and that it could not have any lingering affect on me if the lie had been erased from thought.
I awoke early Sunday morning and went for a warm-up jog near our hotel. Physically, I felt fine. The bruising had nearly disappeared, and the cuts on my arms were closing up quickly and naturally. Later that day, as I lined up at the starting line for the race, it was clear that any sense of having been shaken by the accident had completely given way to a feeling of peace and dominion.
The marathon went beautifully, and I found myself running with more freedom than ever before. As I ran, I gave thanks to God for the powerful transformation of thought that had occurred. We don’t need to go through life with mental baggage. God is Mind, and man reflects Mind, which gives us all the ability to govern our thought rightly. I felt unburdened and untouched. I went on to run my fastest time of the 23 marathons I’ve completed.
I still relish the excitement of plotting another marathon on the calendar. Every morning as I lace up my running shoes and head out the door, I give thanks for the peace, joy, and dominion that are inherently ours as children of God.