When I was 16 years old, I attended a summer camp in Colorado for young Christian Scientists. I had always loved to hike, and our family had hiked a lot throughout my childhood, so during camp I signed up to climb Mount Columbia, a 14,000-plus-foot peak and the most challenging hike that was offered.
There may have been a little fear in my thought, though, because I had suffered from extreme headaches throughout my childhood—not just on skiing trips, when I felt that altitude sickness played a role, but also periodically at home and at my grandparents’ house, both of which were just above sea level. These headaches were debilitating and wouldn’t go away until I slept, and even then they sometimes lingered for days. My father had suffered from the same headaches all his life, too.
Well, when we reached the summit on the trip, I became very ill with a similar headache. I didn’t sign the book at the top. I just wanted to get down, and I really didn’t know how I was going to make it. On the way up, some of my fellow climbers in the group had experienced difficulties, and we had all prayed to know that God was with us, protecting and caring for us. In spite of these reassuring prayers, I remember the fear I had looking out across the majestic, rugged Rockies. The mountains were barren for as far as I could see. I just wanted to be in bed with the lights turned off, but I had a five-hour hike down to get back to the camp. I thought there was no way I was going to make it.
I told my friends and the leaders of our group how I was feeling. They assured me of God’s love and presence right here and now. They also physically supported me, one on each side, several in front and behind me, as we started the long climb down the mountain. As they constantly reassured me of God’s love and protection, I started really feeling it. All the prayers helped me to feel calm and aware of the presence of God’s encompassing care. The fear slowly subsided, and then the pain slowly subsided as well. In the past, when I’d had altitude sickness, descending had not helped—but as everyone continued to pray with me, I felt better and better.
By the time we got back to camp it was about 8:00 in the evening and everyone else had already eaten dinner. Our group was late returning because we had hit some false peaks on the way up (peaks that looked like the summit of the mountain, but when we got there, it turned out the real summit was still higher). Everyone clapped when our group made it into the dining hall and sat down and ate. But what was so amazing to me was that I didn’t have to go straight to bed. Food had made me extremely ill in the past when I’d had headaches. This was different. I sat in the well-lit dining hall and actually ate dinner!
As it turned out, the healing was complete and permanent. I never had any of those headaches again. This healing happened over 40 years ago, and I have lived and am living a glorious life free from headaches. I’ve skied all my life since this incident—including returning to the Rockies—and never again suffered from altitude sickness either.
I am so grateful to have been raised in Christian Science. I am so grateful to God and to Jesus, who showed us the way to live a life full of health and happiness. I am also so grateful for Mary Baker Eddy’s discovery of this wonderful Science.
West Covina, California, US
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