Several of my fellow counselors had come down with what seemed to be the flu. They were given time off from their duties, and the rest of us pitched in to help.
I knew that the biggest help I could be wasn’t just covering for them during our various daily camp activities. As a Christian Scientist, I could pray. I knew these counselors were also praying for themselves, and I joined in by supporting everyone at camp in my own prayers. Through studying the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, I’d learned that healing was about a change in thought—understanding the reality and goodness of God so clearly that any sense of evil or disease no longer appears compelling or threatening and instead simply vanishes from consciousness, and from the body.
Love’s allness protects us.
During staff training at the beginning of the summer, the counselors had discussed the idea of being a good watchman. Mary Baker Eddy addresses this subject in Science and Health: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears. Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them” (p. 392).
This was now my task. I saw that one way I could pray effectively was to mentally watch out for any suggestions of contagion that came knocking at the door of my thought. For example, the belief that physical proximity to my fellow staff members meant I also had to come down with the flu. Instead of entertaining these suggestions, I tried to acknowledge God’s, Spirit’s, supremacy, which meant that my existence, as well as everyone else’s, was only and absolutely spiritual—untouched by the beliefs of contagion or disease.
When I started manifesting the same symptoms, however, I was discouraged and felt like I wasn’t being a very good watchman. I talked to a Christian Science practitioner and asked what I could have done to be a better “porter.” Calmly and firmly she assured me I was not an inadequate watchman. My ability to identify and reject whatever is ungodlike actually comes from God. I could know this capacity was within me and lean on it.
To help me along, the practitioner suggested this approach: try thinking about the suggestion of contagion like being in a room with a radio blaring away. The tuner on the radio is between stations, so what is coming out is loud, noisy static. I could sit in the room helplessly, listening to and being bothered by the racket, or I could get up and turn the radio off.
As we prayed together with this idea, I began to realize that we all have the power to “get up and turn off the noise” simply by knowing that God, divine Love, did not put us into a noisy atmosphere in the first place to disturb and upset us—to make us ill. Love’s allness makes even the suggestion of illness absolutely impossible. And this allness protects us, and is the voice we should listen to.
I experienced the peace and harmony of God’s calming, all-presence.
The camp director gave me the night off, and I went to work to “turn off the noise.” At first it seemed a struggle, but gradually, as I turned off the noise, I found a wonderful station to “tune in to”: God’s station of pure love, which allowed me to experience the peace and harmony of God’s calming, all-presence. Slowly but surely, the aches, congestion, and weakness faded away like a dream from which you wake up. I found in those hours in my cabin that, by mentally insisting “that harmony is the fact, and that sickness is a temporal dream” (Science and Health, p. 412), not only could I “turn off the noise,” but also that it was replaced with the harmony and peace of God’s, divine Love’s, calming presence.
I fell asleep. In the morning, I woke up at my usual time of 5:30 with none of the symptoms. Alert and refreshed, I prepared myself for the start of the day. I am happy to report that I was not bothered by any noisy suggestions of contagion or illness the rest of the summer. Additionally, the other counselors who had also shown symptoms of the flu were back to their regular duties in a day or two. From what I know, that was the end of the issue. I found this to be further evidence of the power of prayer and its far-reaching healing effects—for me and for everyone.
I am exceedingly grateful for the spiritual insights I gained about our inherent ability to “turn off” the noisy suggestions of contagion. To me, this healing was an affirmation that all of us are children of God—subject only to His laws of harmony and peace.