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TeenConnect: UpFront

Into the great unknown

From the Christian Science Sentinel - June 15, 2017

From the teen column: UpFront - June 15, 2017

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TeenConnect: Up Front

A few weeks ago, one of my friends graduated from high school. Another just finished her sophomore year. Both recently told me that while they were looking forward to the summer and beyond, life suddenly seemed full of a lot of unknowns. Summer jobs and activities in new places with new people. And in the fall, new classes, a new school, and in one friend’s case, a whole new life.

I understood how they were feeling. A few years ago, I was planning a trip to an unfamiliar part of the United States, where I’d be meeting a lot of new people. Though I’d been in situations like this before, this time, I couldn’t seem to shake the worry about all the unknowns. Would I find my way? Would I meet people I liked, and who would like me? More generally, would everything be OK?

Would everything be OK?

It seemed natural to pray about my concerns, because one thing I’ve seen over and over again from my practice of Christian Science is that it’s possible to feel secure, happy, and peaceful even before you see the outcome of a situation. That’s not because Christian Science is some kind of positive thinking in which you convince yourself to think good thoughts, while your concerns continue to bubble beneath the surface. When I’ve prayed about worries or fears in the past, what happens is that I hear God comforting me, assuring me in some way—with healing thoughts always specific to whatever situation I’m in—that because He is totally good, then everything about His creation must be totally good. So I have nothing to fear. Then I feel in a deep way, a lasting way, that everything is going to be OK—even if I don’t know exactly in what way things are going to work out.

This time when I prayed about this looming unknown, I asked God to help me see what He saw. I felt calm almost immediately as the thought came to me that nothing could be unknown to God, who is infinite, all-knowing Mind. Mary Baker Eddy captures this idea in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures when she writes, “Nothing can be novel to eternal Mind, the author of all things, who from all eternity knoweth His own ideas” (p. 519).

In that moment, I had a powerful sense of God being intimately familiar with every detail of His creation, and the goodness, beauty, and logic of that creation. And since I am the expression of Mind, I could also see how nothing about God’s creation could be unfamiliar to me. What Mind knows, I must also know.

So what does that mean, exactly? It wasn’t like I suddenly had a vision of the new area or the people I was going to meet. But I felt a steady assurance that I could experience familiarity, harmony, and peace wherever I went. These qualities of God are expressed throughout God’s creation and in each of us—“the kingdom of God” that Christ Jesus promised is both within us and “at hand,” or, always present (see Luke 17:21 and Mark 1:15).

I felt a steady assurance that I could experience familiarity, harmony, and peace wherever I went.

My trip that year was full of fun new discoveries and surprises, but also a feeling of ease and comfort that I hadn’t experienced in such a tangible way in new situations before. There were still unknowns, but I felt companioned by God’s guidance the whole way and often found myself in what seemed to be exactly the right place, with the right people, at the right time. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence, but evidence that no matter where I went, I lived and moved and had my being in God, divine Mind, as it says in the Bible (see Acts 17:28).

That’s true for each of us. For my friend going off to a summer of activities with people she doesn’t know. For my other friend, who’s preparing to go to college. For you—wherever your summer or the upcoming school year might take you. This simple prayer, which many of us have known since childhood, reminds me daily that “the great unknown” disappears in the reality of God’s presence: “Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present” (Science and Health, p. 16).

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