Outward bound

The process of selecting a college and a major was a huge concern to me in my late teens. Growing up, I had loved the Christian Science Sunday School, and turning to God in prayer always brought peace and solutions to my problems. But I entered college riddled with doubt and fear. I felt conflicted about a career, worried about homework and grades, and fretful about new relationships. To top it off, I was periodically locked out of my dorm room for hours when my roommate’s boyfriend visited from another town.

Unsure of the “right” direction, I took the advice of my admissions counselor, who had suggested I register for several classes from each potential major to “try them out.” This left me incredibly over-scheduled, and soon I began waking up in the middle of the night filled with fear and crippled by excruciating leg cramps.

It was in the middle of this swirl of problems that I got a call from another student. Did I want an appointment to talk to a representative from The Mother Church, who was visiting our Christian Science Organization (CSO) on campus? I wasn’t sure what it was all about, but I made and kept the appointment anyway.

I was eager to look for opportunities to bless others, instead of being consumed by my own fears and problems. 

That meeting was a turning point in my life. We chatted briefly, and then he asked me how I felt about spirituality. To my surprise, he offered no advice, judgment, expectations, or human opinions. Instead, all I felt was a sweet sense of breaking bread—of uniting together and sharing God’s word. The presence of divine Love, God, was tangible and real. Jesus’ words in the book of Matthew sum it up best: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (18:20). For the first time, I was awakened to how much Sunday School had impacted my life and how precious the healing mission of Christian Science was to me.

Though I don’t remember much more about our conversation, I do remember this: I left with a completely different perspective. My thought had been turned outward. I was eager to look for opportunities to bless others, instead of being consumed by my own fears and problems.

My subsequent membership in our lively CSO and my participation in its activities on campus gave me plenty of opportunities to serve others. And my college experience changed completely. My career path dilemma was solved as I identified and followed my natural talents, whose source was God, rather than caving to financial pressures. The academic insecurity evaporated. The painful leg cramps were quickly healed as the paralyzing fear dissolved. And my roommate even apologized! In fact, after that, we talked for hours many nights, sharing our love of Christ Jesus’ teachings and praying for each other. 

When I graduated from Sunday School, I was blessed to take Primary class instruction from a dedicated Christian Science teacher, which enabled me to grow in my understanding of how to pray more effectively for myself and the world. 

Though I’ve faced many challenges since college, that meeting has remained pivotal in my experience. Awakened to my innate desire to help and bless others through Christian Science, I have never been the same.

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