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A family for everyone

Feel the embrace of your Father-Mother, divine Love.

From the March 22, 1999 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


NO ONE IS LEFT OUT.

In the movie When Harry met Sally, while Sally was immersed in building her career, she suddenly became aware of the importance of family and began to feel a yearning for a genuine sense of it. There was a poignancy to her remarks that struck a responsive chord in my own heart.

For many years I have lived alone as a professional woman; my work demands virtually all of my time. I haven't married, and since my parents died several years ago, I have almost no relatives anywhere. And yet, I feel embraced in family — more so with every passing year.

I have almost no relatives anywhere.

And yet, I feel embraced in family.

I have learned that I belong, first and foremost, to the family of God. My link to the creator, God, is one I share with people, animals, and every element of the universe, whether near or far. The universe created by divine Spirit is, in fact, wholly spiritual, not material, and exists to express the nature of God as Love. God knows and cherishes each of His children.

God sees me — and knows me — as the individual He made me to be, in perpetual relation to Himself and to every other element of His creation. And God gives that kind of tender attention and care to all of us. No one is left out, no one is superfluous. As the Hebrew poet-prophet declared, "He calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth" (Isa. 40:26).

Every home, no matter how small or modest, is a family dwelling place. It is possible to see the various offices in a family — the father, the mother, the siblings — in terms of the spiritual qualities they embody, qualities that are present and able to be experienced and expressed by God's children, anywhere. For example, fatherhood typically includes pro tection and strength, while motherhood involves nurturing and support. Obviously, these qualities are not the sole prerogative of any individual or office; most people express all of them in some way each day. And that is precisely the point: each one of us includes, within himself or herself, the qualities of a complete family, because each one reflects these qual ities from the same divine source.

I found these families began to embrace me in many practical ways.

None of us is truly alone; we are perpetually companioning with God. We find in this sacred oneness all the qualities we could ever want — tenderness, consideration, strength, harmony — and since these qualities are the expression of God, they can never run out, wear thin, or prove ineffective. His ever-presence guarantees that they are always present. And they always bless, since blessing is the essential nature of divine Love. Are we making these divine qualities our constant companions? Then, it follows that the more we cherish these qualities, the more we discern them around us — and the more of them we have to share with others, whether we are married or single.

I live in a community where there are many families, some of them extending to there generations. Initially, I felt pretty left out, especially at holiday time when there were festive gatherings, which I watched as I sat alone by the window. Gradually, however, I came to realize something important: a community with loving families is a blessing, not only to the families themselves, but to everyone else around them, because they lend warmth, harmony, and peace to the environment as a whole. And of course, the reverse is also true: family strife can extend far beyond four walls and affect the quality of life throughout the entire community. As I became more active in cherishing the families around me, in supporting the good they include and guarding against those elements that would tear families apart, I found these families began to embrace me in many practical ways. One day the young grandson of one of my colleagues appeared at my door with a bouquet of daffodils. Another child crafted a giraffe out of papier-mache (a pet he thought a woman who works almost around the clock could reasonably maintain!).

None of us is truly alone; we are perpetually companioning with God.

Perhaps best of all is the spirit of celebration I've learned from the families in my life. As an only child, I had usually known holidays as quiet occasions with three people around the table. I had always wondered what it would be like to have a large, festive group on hand. Well, now, at the home of a close friend, I've discovered the fun of sitting down to a holiday meal with literally dozens of people.

God is a source of strength, wisdom, and love that never fails, disappoints, or abandons us. Mary Baker Eddy writes, "With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 469-470). Identifying myself as spiritual, defined in terms of my re lation to God, in no way leaves me floating on pink clouds of hypothetical idealism. Looking at myself in this way provides a rock-solid foundation for a way of life that includes specific and practical evidences of God, divine Love, expressed throughout His creation. Identifying myself just as Love made me to be, I open myself up to reflecting God's outpouring of love. I find that, no matter where I may be, I am always in the bosom of my family because I am always in the presence of my Father-Mother, God. Friends, church and business associates, even total strangers are family, and the more I've been willing to think of them as such, the more they have responded with support and appreciation, enriching my life immeasurably.

The holy family of God is warm, rich, and expanding in our experience all the time as we increase our awareness of it. That holy family is universal; it is present when we travel north, south, east, or west. It's never too late to discover it. In God's tender embrace, there is a family for everyone.

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