A deeper understanding
When I was 16, I had a couple of different healings that deepened my understanding of Christian Science. The first happened toward the end of my junior spring, during softball season.
One day while we were doing a throwing drill, I turned away from the field to listen to one of my coaches. A teammate had thrown the ball to me, a hard line from first base to left field. She shouted at me, and I turned around just in time to “catch” the ball with my face.
It had been a hard, fast throw, and my team rushed over, worried that I had been hurt. I asked if I could go to the locker room. I appreciated the team’s concern, but I knew that I didn’t want to let their fear affect me. So I wanted to get my thoughts in order.
I wasn’t in significant pain, but I could still feel where the ball had hit me. As I walked to the locker room, I remembered part of this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:“When an accident happens, you think or exclaim, ‘I am hurt!’ Your thought is more powerful than your words, more powerful than the accident itself, to make the injury real.
“Now reverse the process. Declare that you are not hurt and understand the reason why, and you will find the ensuing good effects to be in exact proportion to your disbelief in physics, and your fidelity to divine metaphysics, confidence in God as All, which the Scriptures declare Him to be” (p. 397). I silently declared that I was not hurt, but cared for and loved by God, as His perfect spiritual expression.
I remembered another time I’d been hit with a softball, and the laces had left marks on my leg for days. I was afraid that this instance would leave a mark, but I also almost wanted a “battle scar” to show off at a play rehearsal that night to prove it had happened. Neither of those thoughts came from God, though, and I knew I didn’t actually want to give in to any part of the suggestion that I could have been hurt. I discarded them and reaffirmed that God’s children could never be impressed or affected by mortal mind’s false claims, because God’s children express God, the only Mind. And I knew that the spiritual truths I’d been praying applied both to my teammates and to me.
When I reached the locker room, the pain had evaporated. I joined my team, and they checked on me politely, but without their previous worry. One of them commented that she was surprised that there was no mark, not even redness, despite the fact that it had been only a few minutes since I’d been hit.
The next healing occurred that summer at a Christian Science summer camp. I was in the rafting program, and I loved the challenge and opportunity to try things outside my comfort zone, knowing that I was surrounded by God’s loving protection.
In the middle of a long day of rafting, my stomach began hurting. I told my counselors that I wasn’t feeling well, and they had me sit in the middle of the raft so I didn’t have to paddle (sometimes called “sitting princess”). We weren’t near a good place in the river to stop, so I did my best to pray as the boat continued down the river. I tried to be calm and listen to God, but it was hard to focus on praying as we navigated rapids.
We stopped at a place called Jump Rock, where we could pull the rafts out of the water and have a snack. It was also where we could climb up a large rock that stuck out over the river and jump into the water, which I loved doing each time we rafted this section of the river. I felt disappointed that I wasn’t feeling well enough to join in.
Most of the counselors were making sure that the rafts were secure or taking up lifeguard duty. One of my friends, a counselor-in-training at the time, came over to where I was sitting. He assured me that “all will be well” (Mary Peters, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 350). He stepped away, then turned back to correct himself: “All is well.”
He went on his way to help lifeguard, but I started mulling over the difference between his two statements. It wasn’t that the first one was wrong. It was true that all would be well—God’s government wasn’t going to dry up and blow away like leaves at summer’s end. It was permanent. But the statement implied a present exclusion of good—that while now wasn’t so great, the future would be. That was why my friend had turned back to correct himself.
I considered how my Sunday School classes had talked about God as infinite, without beginning or end. God always is, no matter how we describe our relationship to Him in terms of time. All of God’s goodness had to be true right then, had been true when it first felt as if something was wrong, and would continue to be true in all future “nows.” It was impossible for me ever to be separate from God, good.
Immediately, the stomach pain evaporated, and I felt lively, active, and grateful. I was able to join my fellow campers on Jump Rock, and I’m pretty sure I hollered, “All is well!” as I leapt into the river.