I didn’t have time for, or interest in, religion. I was working at an ad agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and my life was full of the good stuff: Money. Travel. Nice clothes and the perfect vacation home.
After New York, I moved to Los Angeles to work in Hollywood. There was nothing I didn’t have—or so I thought, until one night when some friends came over. We were sitting around eating, drinking wine, and having a good time, when the meaning of life came up. Questions like, Why are we here? And, What’s life all about?
Somehow, amid the haze of the wine and the intellectual (but not very deep) answers to these questions, a little light went on for me, and a thought popped into my head. You know why you’re here, it said. You learned why in Sunday School.
I guess you could say I was busy living my life, and what I believed about Christian Science at the time didn’t really fit into that. I’d attended the Christian Science Sunday School through the end of high school, but when I left home, Christian Science became something that was only there in the background. I never fully left Christian Science. But up until my late twenties, I never fully embraced it, either. My mother was a Christian Science practitioner, helping others find healing through prayer, and even when I went to college and got wrapped up in other things, I’d still ask her to pray for me when I needed help. And I had healings. But God, church, and everything to do with my own practice of Christian Science couldn’t have been further from my mind.
Christian Science became something that was only there in the background.
But I couldn’t ignore the thought that had come to me that night, and actually, I didn’t want to. I did know why we are here. So after my friends left, I dug out my Bible and my copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy—which literally had dust on them because I hadn’t looked at them in so long. That’s when the second thought popped into my head. I remembered the way Mary Baker Eddy would often open the Bible at random and let God speak to her through a passage, as she prayed with the ideas and found inspiration and guidance in their meaning. I thought, I’m going to do that. I’m going to open my Bible and let God talk to me.
When I did, my eyes landed on Proverbs 16:3, which says, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” A feeling of freedom came over me. All those years I’d had everything I wanted—except spirituality. But suddenly I realized how spiritually starved I’d been—how much I was craving spirituality, craving something deeper and more meaningful than these superficial markers of success and happiness.
Everything happened quickly after that. I got a copy of the Christian Science Quarterly so I could start reading the weekly Bible Lesson again. I wanted to be able to pray more effectively about the situations I encountered, as well as for the people in my life, so I went back to church, where I could be surrounded by a community of individuals who were dedicated to praying for each other and the world. A few months later, I also took Christian Science class instruction: a 12-day course on spiritual healing. I became a Christian Science chaplain and worked in the Los Angeles County jails for a dozen years. Why? Because when I really embraced Christian Science, I finally got it: What Christian Science explains about existence—as created by God and tenderly cared for by God, which is so different than what we see on the surface—can touch the life of anyone, anywhere, through healing. And I saw that Christian Science had given me the tools to be part of sharing that with others.
Suddenly I realized how spiritually starved I’d been—how much I was craving spirituality, craving something deeper and more meaningful than superficial markers of success and happiness.
My turning point with Christian Science was realizing that it wasn’t about a religion I’d been raised in, or a religious culture, or anyone else’s version of Christian Science. It was about my own authentic practice of it, based on my own commitment, prayers, and desire to help others. And I saw that my practice of Christian Science went beyond my own life, and even beyond the walls of my church. Everyone deserves to know the reality of God’s embracing, healing, and saving love, and I realized that my life could be about that: living what I knew to be true about God and about each of us as God’s loved children in every situation.
What I learned all those years ago in Sunday School is that as we understand more about all that God is and how this understanding has practical, healing effects, we can better serve and love others, just as Christ Jesus did. Thanks to Christian Science, I’m now equipped to do that—and I’ve discovered a life that’s full of meaning.