Earlier this year, I attended a DiscoveryBound Winter Weekend event in Buena Vista, Colorado. I was having a great time with my friends! After a while, though, my big toes started to become painful. My ski boots must not have been a good fit for my feet, because while skiing my feet kept sliding around and my toes would jam into the front. I didn’t notice at first, but after a while it actually became hard to walk. Once I realized what had happened, it probably would’ve been a good idea to start praying, but I was having so much fun with my friends that I didn’t want to pray at that moment. I was just trying to shrug it off and focus on the fun-packed weekend. Following the event, my feet felt better.
Then spring break came along, and my family and I went skiing for a couple of days. I was excited because I enjoy skiing, but at the forefront of my thought was the memory of the last trip, when my toes were in pain and I wasn’t able to walk. The first day on the slopes we were having a fantastic time! But when we were headed back to our lodging, I could feel one of my toes acting up again. It was a little painful, but I was still shrugging off praying about it because the pain wasn’t that bad and I didn’t want to take the time when I could be playing outside in the beautiful mountains instead.
The next day, we went skiing again, and during the day my foot was in pain. I found that, as on the other trip, I couldn’t walk on it that well. I had mentioned it to my parents earlier, so I knew they would support me if I needed it, but at that moment I knew that I shouldn’t shrug this off anymore and that I could pray about it. It wasn’t right that pain in my foot could be taking away the joy I was having skiing or the freedom of being able to walk correctly. I told my family I was going to go upstairs to get ready for bed.
It wasn't right that pain in my foot could be taking away the joy I was having skiing or the freedom of being able to walk correctly.
While I was up there I decided to pull out my copy of Science and Health. Lately, I had been reading Science and Health with a mentor of mine, so I went to the page where we had left off. As I read, the quote that stood out to me was in the beginning of the chapter of “Atonement and Eucharist”: “Atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love” (p. 18). The part about “man’s unity with God” made me think about how I am that “man” (a term Mary Baker Eddy uses to refer to the spiritual concept of man, meaning all men and women). I am one with God, which means that I reflect all of God’s qualities, and I am perfect, since God’s likeness cannot be in pain.
I also prayed with the word wholeness, the idea that I am complete and in one piece. Later, on the same page in Science and Health, it says: “Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man’s oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective.” This showed me that Jesus’ mission was working out the idea of oneness with God, the same thing we are striving to understand now. If Jesus worked through this and succeeded in demonstrating it so fully, that meant that I could benefit from this understanding, too.
I fell asleep with the warming thoughts of my wholeness and oneness with God. In the morning I woke up and my toe and foot were perfectly fine. There was no pain at all. I was able to spend the rest of the time skiing with my family, completely free of any discomfort. I recognized I was whole again!
Shelby Barner is a junior in high school. She loves swimming, spending time with family and friends, and going to summer camp.
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