I didn’t want to do it
I didn’t want to be the leader of a girls’ organization and have to plan social activities, fundraisers, and community service projects. There was nothing wrong with the organization; I just didn’t enjoy the culture of it. I had been brought in because I could play the piano, then had been elected to a post that culminated in this top position my senior year in high school. By that time, “I didn’t want to do it” was putting it mildly.
When I talked the whole thing over with Mom, she left it up to me to decide whether or not to quit. Once I decided to go ahead with it, she was always ready to support me when needed.
At first, I felt I’d made the right decision, because quitting would have been difficult for the morale of the organization—especially the younger girls. But then I discovered that it was the scheduled year for an inspection by an official of the parent organization, which I would have to handle along with my regular duties.
Up to that point, I’d been mostly fretting and just trying to cope. I hadn’t really prayed about my decision or the way I was feeling. I knew from attending Christian Science Sunday School that prayer always helps, but I hadn’t turned to God or listened for His direction. Making things even more difficult, I was also struggling with a sore on the bottom of my foot that hurt and made me limp. I knew I needed more than human advice or reasoning.
I’d been mostly fretting and just trying to cope.
So then I did turn to God, with the help of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I was familiar with these books from Sunday School and from their use in our family. I had been healed and seen my family healed by the understanding of God and His perfect creation that we find in them.
I don’t remember now what I read at that time, but I do remember how clear it became that I needed to love—and that the kind of love that was needed wasn’t just about me being a role model or willing to run meetings. The need was to love in a much deeper way girls who seemed very different from me—to love them as God’s children. That meant seeing them as God made them—each one as the individual expression of God. I also needed to see the inspector and everyone else involved in the organization in the same way.
I began to realize that this deeper love couldn’t be reserved just for those who shared my interests. The love that Christ Jesus showed us is universal; it reflects the allness of God, divine Love. Science and Health puts it like this: “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals” (p. 13).
The night of the inspection, which began with a dinner, I was still limping. But something had changed. In this new light of Love, everyone was lovable. Loving them wasn’t putting on an act, but felt honest. I felt divine Love shining in my heart. And it was obvious that the guests and the other girls felt loved, too.
The gift of self-forgetfulness brought relief from my deep discontent.
There was also something I hadn’t expected. It was the gift of self-forgetfulness that brought relief from my deep discontent. Love had given me a truer, more spiritual view of others—and of myself. The sore closed up that night, and in a very short time my foot was back to normal.
I needed to keep learning about this unselfed love as I completed my obligation that year—and it turns out that this was a very clear introduction to what Jesus identified as the two “great commandments” for our lives: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37–39).
I’m still finding that the heart’s commitment to God and all our neighbors lifts us out of narrow expectations for our activities. It’s our allegiance to divine Love that brings a healing purpose to everything we do.