This summer I spent several weeks at a camp for Christian Scientists. I was part of a cool program where we get to do things like learning how to build a fire and cook meals over it in the outdoors; lashing sticks and logs together to make lean-tos, guard towers, and other structures; and working with ropes, pulleys, knives, and outdoor tools. The program is a lot of fun, and the staff always makes sure everyone stays safe!
On Monday of the second week of camp, I was working with one of the counselors on a pulley in the treehouse. I had climbed up into the treehouse and was standing on the platform above the ladder untying knots from two ropes. My counselor was helping me from the ground, untying knots from the other ends of the ropes. I leaned forward over the railing to grab the next knot, and when I stepped back, I suddenly found myself falling into the ladder hole. I hit my head on the edge of the ladder opening, and several more times on the ladder, as I fell down the hole onto the wooden platform twelve feet below.
When I hit the ground, I immediately thought about how my peers were supporting me and how I couldn’t fall out of God’s care. The counselors immediately made sure I was OK, and helped me sit up. I’ve been a Christian Scientist my whole life, so I knew I could trust prayer. Right there, I stood my ground praying and knowing that God plans every day perfectly, and that He was with me and has always been with me. My leg hurt and my face was bruised—and even though I cried, my prayers helped me feel calm inside.
There are several Christian Science nurses at camp who are available to support campers and staff. The counselors took me to see the Christian Science nurses, who got me cleaned up. I also got to talk with the Christian Science practitioner there. The practitioner and I talked together about how you can’t fall from God’s arms—and even if you were to fall, you would go nowhere because His lap would be there for you to land on. Of course, I know God doesn’t have a literal lap, but the idea that Love was surrounding me at all times, no matter what, was a helpful thought! We prayed together silently for a few moments, and the practitioner said she would keep praying for me.
My counselor then took me to see my mom, who was working in the camp kitchen. I told my mom what had happened and we talked for a while; she also brought out a snack for me, my counselor, and my friend Max, who was with me. I knew everyone there was supporting me.
After being with my mom for a little while, I went to visit with Larry, who’s one of the staff members at camp. We hung out for a while, but when my ankle started to ache again, I went to the Christian Science nurses to get it wrapped for support, so I could walk more easily. They made sure I was OK, and my counselor took me back to my cabin for some quiet time to pray and read the Christian Science Bible Lesson. I thought of the first line of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; . . .” This helped me recognize that God was with me, guiding my thoughts in the right direction.
I spent a good thirty minutes in spiritual study, and the ideas in the Lesson were really uplifting. My counselor and I went back to the Christian Science nurses, who checked on my ankle and gave me a pair of crutches to use. My mom came to visit me, and I told her my head was still hurting and that I wanted to go home and be with my dog, Lassie. My mom hugged me and told me how much she loved me, more than anything in the whole world. I felt comforted by her being there.
I just knew that no matter what, God was caring for me and loving me, and that a fall could never separate me from His protection.
I cried for a few minutes, and then my mom suggested that I name ten things I was grateful for that had happened that day. Even though at first I didn’t really like that idea, it helped me because I was able to focus on the good things that had happened that day. I was grateful that everyone was supporting me, that my mom was able to be with me and talk to me, that I had a warm bed to sleep and nap in, and that I’d been able to hang out with Larry earlier that day. I know that gratitude can be an important part of healing. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health that “gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks” (p. 3). Focusing on the good in my day helped me recognize God’s presence and care for me.
I took a nap for a few hours, and after dinner I watched the other kids play capture the flag and swim. More than anything, the idea that I could never fall out of God’s arms kept standing out to me. I just knew that no matter what, God was caring for me and loving me, and that a fall or other accident could never separate me from His protection. Those ideas stuck with me and were really helpful.
With the feeling that God was beside me the whole time, I was walking without the crutches within a day or so. Whenever the pain came up, or my head hurt, I would tell my mom or the camp practitioner and they would help me pray about it. I also went to the Christian Science nurses whenever I needed, and I spent a few nights in a room for campers who need to get rest, away from the cabin.
By the time I was packing for home my face was all healed, and even though my ankle and foot were still swollen, I was walking normally. I participated freely in a trip a few days later to a wooded area on the camp’s property. And I got to go swimming a few days after that, too! I even played a violin piece for the whole camp on the last night of the session. When I got home I continued to pray with a Christian Science practitioner, and within a week I was completely healed. There was no sign of any accident.
I am so grateful for this healing because it was so helpful in my experience. I learned that even when a situation seems really hard, prayer can solve it. It’s so comforting to know that God is always with me. Because of Christian Science, we know that we are already perfect through God.
John Monday is in junior high school. He loves playing baseball, piano, and violin, and going to summer camp and Sunday School.
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