At age twenty-seven, I was going nowhere fast. I had no job, no close family, and no discernible path forward. My attempts at forging a future had failed, and I didn’t know how to fix myself.
I had been raised in Christian Science but had left home as a teenager to go my own way, without feeling a sense of God’s loving ever-presence. Spiritual inclination was lacking, joys were fleeting, sorrows harsh. And that’s the way it went for the next ten years until I wound up in a “far country,” not unlike the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable (see Luke 15:11–32).
One day I found myself standing in front of a Christian Science Reading Room on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, contemplating giving God another chance to help me. A negative mental voice was telling me: “Don’t go in. You can’t understand God.” But looking at the familiar books in the window—the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy—I had a fresh thought. Even if I didn’t understand God, maybe He understood me. This brought some hope, so I took a deep breath and went in.
The librarian was kind. I didn’t feel judged, just loved. I read for several hours that day and returned repeatedly. Self-will and self-justification abated as I awakened to the truth of God’s unwavering love for me. When I needed a specific healing thought, the “Daily Prayer” in the Church Manual by Mary Baker Eddy (see p. 41) never failed to bring joy and confidence, melting resistance from the so-called carnal mind.
In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, “Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea” (pp. 323–324). I began daily study of this extraordinary book, along with the Bible. Learning more about God as infinite Mind and man as His perfect spiritual idea, I began to abandon old beliefs of guilt, anger, separation from God, and deep disappointment in myself and others. Confusion and self-condemnation gradually dissolved.
As fear and distrust yielded to the authority and comfort of the Christ, healings followed, including the immediate healing of a severely broken finger. Other progress included a restored relationship and a new job. Later, I was led to establish a professional career that would last several decades.
It has been nearly fifty years since that day at the Reading Room, but I feel as if I’m discovering the Science of the Christ anew all the time. My life continues to be divinely guided and blessed more than ever. I have a wonderful, loving family, and I have served in a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, in many capacities, including Sunday School teacher, church board member, and First Reader.
Also, I am increasingly grateful for the daily sacrifices my parents made for me as I was growing up, and their earnest devotion to Christian Science.
Looking back, I can see it was a spiritual hunger that led me to the Reading Room. Like the prodigal son who had tired of the unsatisfying husks of materialism, I was yearning for the nourishing truths of God and man. And as spiritual sense replaced personal sense in my thinking, I was able to express more of the Christly consciousness that is man’s real selfhood.
The prophet Habakkuk declares, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me” (Habakkuk 2:1). Like the prophet, I enjoy standing on my mental watchtower to hear what God will say to me. And that receptivity helps me get past the resistance that says, “Don’t go in,” whenever I’m on the threshold of new growth in Christian Science.
The Apostle Paul instructs us to have the Mind of Christ. This means a profound surrender of the mortal or carnal mind to the ever-present, all-powerful, and all-loving divine Mind. No matter where we seem to be in our human experience, we are always at the starting point of a spiritual adventure. We just need a receptive heart and a willingness to take that forward step toward God.
Changes of character brought about by a progressive love for God and man are inevitable. In Philippians, Paul assures us with this guarantee: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (1:6). We will grow in our understanding of God and come to know ourselves as God knows us.