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To heal a longing heart

An empty feeling isn't truly satisfied until we discover God's care and love.

From the August 12, 1991 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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Like a lot of people, when I used to fall in love, I would fall head over heels! When the affection was not returned in the way that I had hoped, the result was a deep disappointment and emptiness. Sometimes, when the affection was returned, my longing heart was still not satisfied! What a dilemma! What was the solution?

As a Christian Scientist, I was certain there was a spiritual solution to the turmoil and confusion I felt. I turned to the Bible and to Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy. Over the years, many people have turned to these two books for comfort, for inspiration, for understanding. I turned to them for all these reasons; and, like others, I also turned to them because I wanted truth. Despite the fact that sometimes it seemed no progress was being made, I also knew that at some point I would understand God better and that this would bring the fulfillment I was seeking.

I had a number of questions to resolve: Does God make me—or anyone—with an inherent feeling of dissatisfaction? Does He create men and women so that each may eventually find an amiable partner and thus become complete? What happens if this partner is never found? What is it about God and man that we need to understand in order to feel loved, complete, and satisfied?

Searching for truth in the realm of Spirit is not so much an exercise of the intellect as it is a matter of the heart. It involves the most genuine and unselfish honesty possible, and a desire and willingness to allow God to change us. It involves a willingness to give up thoughts, feelings, and conclusions which no longer fit in with the spiritual view of reality that God is showing us.

I began reading whatever I could find in the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings relating to man, woman, bride, bridegroom, marriage, completeness, unity. What a great deal about God I learned, and what a change of heart I had!

As I studied, I began to get a clear certainty of God's love. Surely, I reasoned, it does not make sense to say (or feel) that divine Love, God, would—or even could—create spiritual man with any incompleteness or dissatisfaction. The first chapter of Genesis describes God as creating man in His own image, and it focuses on the goodness of the entire spiritual creation. Later we read that "the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." There is no indication of anything—or anyone—that lacks any good or is incomplete. In fact, quite the opposite! God, the unchanging Father, creates man complete, satisfied, and very good.

In my own case, although I had certainly heard and thought about all of this before, it was clear that I felt and acted to the contrary. But I suddenly noticed that Genesis states, "... male and female created he them." The word and stood out to me. I saw that God didn't make males and females. He created a unity of male and female called "man." Paul puts it very boldly in his letter to the Galatians: "There is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." The Christ, or true idea of being that Jesus so completely expressed, shows us our oneness with God, Christian Science teaches. The male and female of God's, Spirit's, creating isn't physical at all, but is essentially spiritual. Spiritual man—"male and female"—complete! Hasn't that been you and I all along?

Spiritual man—and there is no other—is not half a being who needs to find a partner to feel happy, relaxed, and satisfied. Instead, he is the image of his Father-Mother God. Christ Jesus knew and practiced this wholeness in his daily life. He showed both strength and compassion, wisdom and love, determination and patience. What a relief it is for us to know that God made and maintains man complete in His image. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health, "Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God." Seen in this light, our individual completeness right now, and throughout what we call the past, is as obvious as God's eternal existence.

Prayer is the best way of finding our oneness with God. Prayer can take many forms. It is as individual, as spontaneous, as non-word-processed, as we are. Sometimes all we may feel capable of is the most basic and heartfelt petition, "God help me." At other times we need to reason from the basis of God's allness, in order to align thought with Truth. In doing so we cut down thoughts and feelings of anxiety and fear and highlight what we already know about God and His expression, man. This is what Jesus did when he was tempted by devilish thoughts of pride and personal power. Finally, like Jesus, we can be so filled with the consciousness of God's ever-presence that our very being becomes a living prayer.

Regardless of the form it takes, our prayer enables us to see more of our present perfection as God's child. Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health, "Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it."

When the healing presence of Christ is felt, there is a great stillness. I will never forget the moment when I knew for certain that I no longer needed to fret nor search, because I knew and felt the answers to my questions, not in my head but in my heart. It was as though an Australian bush walker's pack had been removed from my back. What freedom! What joy! Intensity and anxiety had been replaced by an appreciation of everything that God had been doing all along. I had never been neglected—half of a whole! I had always been the spiritual, complete reflection of my Father-Mother God. The surprising thing was that I was not surprised, soon afterward, to meet and marry a lovely young woman who was on the same spiritual path that I had been exploring.

What if we look backward and feel an emptiness about past circumstances and missed opportunities? A realization of our Father-Mother's ever-presence—for you, for me, for everyone, for all time—restores what the Bible describes as "the years that the locust hath eaten," because we realize that even while we were in the depths of despair, God had not deserted us. Think of Jesus, who during his crucifixion cried out, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" Yet, not only was this awful scene replaced by the glory of his resurrection, but his words and example continue to teach, to comfort, and to spread the good news of God's unfailing love today. This shows that, even in this extreme human situation, God hadn't stopped being Love, that His authoritative control hadn't wavered, and that He was still caring for all, including His loved Son, Jesus.

Despite the different, particular details of our human circumstances, we can always feel our Father-Mother's love. We can realize that we are the reflection of God. We are able to recognize everyone's completeness right now—including our own.

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