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The 12-mile drive

From the Christian Science Sentinel - April 29, 2013


It was one of those grey, glowering winter days with an attitude. I was making the 12-mile drive to a small canal town near my home, intending to head to the library to return books and check my e-mail.

This is a rural area. You can drive half an hour without meeting a car. And that day, the winter was unforgiving in its monotony—just rolling white fields with the stubble of a fall harvest sticking through, and the occasional farmhouse and barn with a solitary horse and a few muddy cows grazing through the snow. This was the last loop on the way to lonely. The sense of isolation on the drive was suffocating. It was strange how the open space seemed so claustrophobic.

When I arrived at the library and checked my e-mail, I recognized one from a dear friend who is a Christian Science practitioner. Her message was so filled with hope—so joyful, upbeat, and affirming—that it lightened and lifted my thought to a whole new level of unlimited possibilities. No more sense of suffocation, no more enclosures.

The familiar scene began to unfold in reverse, but with a radiance I had completely missed before.

The shift in thought was immediate. The moment I let go of the dark outlook, it let go of me because it no longer had anything to hold on to. The practitioner hadn’t even known about the depression I was feeling that day, but her uplifting message acted as a neutralizer even to unknown and unresolved issues. I was immediately reminded of Mary Baker Eddy’s words: “Christian Science acts as an alterative, neutralizing error with Truth” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 162). We do not always realize the impact that Truth is having, but we can be sure that it extends far beyond the borders of any problem. I can say from experience that this living presence of divine Love adjusts circumstances and conditions in tangible ways that are seen and felt by each of us.

As I settled into my 12-mile return trip, the peace and comfort that I felt in the library became more tangible and complete. The familiar scene of just an hour ago began to unfold in reverse, but with a radiance I had completely missed before. The sense of being loved by God enveloped everything. The houses now had a warm, inviting hominess. Even that solitary horse and those muddy cows had a certain aura. The whole scene for the full 12 miles was transposed, like a musical score, from a minor to a lyrical major key. I felt the inner reassurance that all was well. I had come home.

So what had happened? The geography and the season had not changed, but the thinking that interpreted what and how I was seeing had. Gratitude for my friend’s unselfish love had regenerated my thinking. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light” (Science and Health, p. 516)—and gratitude had become the light switch for me. This new, correct view was established by the understanding that there is really only one point of view … one out from, and not up to, God. This God-centered consciousness is the foundation on which conviction—the deep down, divinely inspired certainty of God’s presence—is built. 

In this case, a simple drive on a long country road was transformed from a scene of depression to one of inspiration by a single “aha moment” from a friend’s e-mail, which uplifted the human experience with a glimpse of the divine completeness. These words by Mary Baker Eddy come naturally to mind: “Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,—neither in nor of matter,—and the body will then utter no complaints. … Sorrow is turned into joy when the body is controlled by spiritual Life, Truth, and Love” (Science and Health, p. 14).


Doug Brown lives in Waterloo, New York.

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