Out of the depths of depression
In middle school, I began to suffer with symptoms of depression, though at the time I didn’t know what was wrong. A gnawing sadness and loneliness characterized my thoughts. In high school, things got so bad that I tried to end my life—unsuccessfully, as you can guess.
As my interior misery grew, I began to drink with school friends on the weekends, the chief goal being to get drunk as quickly as possible. During my senior year, I even started cutting classes and spent my days sitting in the cafeteria.
I developed a conviction that God did not exist.
I had grown up attending the Christian Science Sunday School, and though I respected and appreciated the men and women in our branch Church of Christ, Scientist, I nevertheless developed a conviction that God did not exist. Sunday School taught me that God was good and only good, but it felt as though the power of the universe had nothing better to do than crush me completely, without mercy. Still, God was all I had learned of as help in the world, and I didn’t know of any other power that could rescue me from the tragedy of a ruined existence. So with whatever faith I did have, I was continually asking, begging, God to please help me.
At some point I felt impelled to read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy and went through it cover to cover at least a dozen times. The book is permeated with a compelling, irresistible sense of hope on every page. And the effects I was feeling from reading it—pinpricks of light in the darkness—were explained by this passage: “Truth has a healing effect, even when not fully understood” (p. 152). I also started reading articles in the Christian Science periodicals, along with the weekly Bible Lesson. I sent away for information about the early Christian Science workers, and they became the heroes I looked up to and admired above all else. I loved their straightforward lives of devotion to the Cause of Christian Science, and their ability to practice Christian healing.
One night, as I lay in bed marveling at the unusual quietness of the evening, I began to consider some of the things I’d recently read that were gaining traction in my thought. Two that stood out were this beautiful verse from the Psalms, “When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” (Psalms 61:2), and a line from Science and Health: “The three great verities of Spirit, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience,—Spirit possessing all power, filling all space, constituting all Science,—contradict forever the belief that matter can be actual” (pp. 109–110).
After a few minutes of pondering these ideas in the darkness, my thought suddenly became startlingly clear—“clear as crystal,” as the book of Revelation says (22:1). It was as though, without realizing it, I had been held under water for a very long time, when all of a sudden I was unexpectedly released and shot to the surface. For two weeks after, all my waking moments were suffused with an awareness of the infinite reality of God’s presence. I felt genuine, boundless joy for the first time in years.
This was my first glimpse of the reality of God and His goodness, and through God’s continuing grace, it was not my last. All my troubles didn’t vanish instantly, but from that moment on I have never doubted God’s existence and power. And since then, I’ve devoted myself to discovering “more of the divine presence” that “is always at hand,” as it says in Science and Health (p. 12).
Now I can’t imagine a life without the knowledge and awareness of God, of Truth and Love.
Christian Science has become precious to me, and I’ve come to see it as the greatest benefit to humanity. The Bible has become a treasure, and I have learned to love the life and example of Christ Jesus and Mrs. Eddy’s selfless contribution to mankind’s salvation from every claim of sin, sickness, and death. Where once I believed God couldn’t possibly exist, now I can’t imagine a life without the knowledge and awareness of God, of Truth and Love.
Christian Science raised me up above the drowning wave and set me on a course of usefulness and spiritual discovery. It healed me of the crippling depression and gave me a reason to live. I have learned that, when the need is great, the answer in Christian Science is always greater.