Inspiration during isolation
After a few weeks of required stay-at-home isolation this spring due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, I slid into a funk. There seemed to be no end in sight, as if the situation were interminable. I felt lackadaisical, uninspired, dull, and discouraged; I had joined in regurgitative groupthink, lamenting that I was eager for everything and everyone to get “back to normal.”
But then I “woke up,” startled at how I’d been drifting along mentally. Back to normal? No way! I don’t want to go back to anything, I thought. I always want to move forward and make spiritual progress with joy.
The concept of going “back” to anything began to feel ludicrous. I pictured myself trying to drive my truck from California to New York while looking only in my rearview mirror and ignoring the road ahead. It wouldn’t be long before I crashed. The feeling that good was in the past and had to be recaptured, or that I had to wait for a “better than ever” future scenario in order to be OK, seemed wrong.
I began to pray and to ask myself some important questions: What is really happening now? Many people are talking about the “new normal,” but what is God’s normal?
Then it hit me. Every statement about God and man in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy—a book that has helped the teachings and life of Christ Jesus come alive for me every day—is true every moment of every day. It also occurred to me that Science and Health never says that God will be Love at some point in the future, but instead says, “God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more?” (p. 2). Here and now. Nor does it say that man will be the image of Love at some point but is currently physical and vulnerable. Rather, it says, “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas;…” (p. 475). Again, here and now. So, the concept that God being Love is a future event or that there is any separation between God and man, the very expression of Love’s being, doesn’t mesh with the spiritual facts.
I had a “present tense” epiphany that shut up the clamor of worldly thinking that had been diverting my thoughts from Love.
Christ Jesus told people they could stop waiting for the kingdom of God: “When some of the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, he answered, saying to them, The kingdom of God does not come by observation. Neither will they say, Behold, it is here! or, behold, it is there! for behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20, 21, George M. Lamsa, Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text).
The kingdom of God—God’s supreme government of peace, goodness, love, health, joy, understanding—is within you now. Present tense. Always and in all ways. Without exception and regardless of circumstances. Christ Jesus’ declaration that the kingdom of God is within you is the declaration that you are infinitely loved by God, are safe, and can’t be terrorized by external circumstances. Praying with this understanding, and with gratitude and love, brings healing adjustment to all kinds of situations.
This “present tense” epiphany shut up the clamor of worldly thinking that had been diverting my thoughts from the steady consciousness of Love. I started to feel much better.
When I shared my insights with a friend, he said, “The present tense heals the tense present.” This made me smile and stays with me as a reminder that when I’m tempted to believe that I or anyone has reason to feel edgy or strained, my thought is being pulled away from reality, from God’s normal. We must be spiritually audacious in affirming God’s normal, especially when things get tough. Taking a bold stand for God’s government of all in the face of difficult circumstances quiets fear and establishes harmony. It also equips us to better discern the needs of others and to be creative in how to minister to those needs.
Now, instead of going into a funk during difficult times, I return to this more helpful question that can help the world: “What is happening now?” God is being God—beautiful, all-loving God; infinite good; ever-present, divine Love. God’s wondrous expression, man, is spiritual, alive in Life, free, and whole. Here and now. Taking a stand for God’s normal makes me aware of the good unfurling and of how I can help others. Pure joy!