Category Archives: Christian Science

An August Birthday

It’s Mom’s birthday today. Although her deathday was nearly ten years ago, she still bustles with aliveness to me. Parenting isn’t easy, but along with Dad, Mom managed to corral five kids into a family nice to one another. The kind of firm niceness that pretty much kept us out of trouble.

After growing up and becoming a parent myself, it felt arduous to know or capture this kind of nice.

I get peek-a-boo insights into this knowledge. Even now as a grandparent. And more often since March. Since my immediate familial members and I have been very chummy and living together steadfastly. In the same house.

In the same house where I hear just about everything.

I can tune out most sounds, except stressed, shall we say, loud speak. Eh, I mean, yelling. It happens sometimes.

For example, a few mornings ago. Parental yelling.

After which, my daughter, on the cusp of bursting tears, came to me and said, “Oh mom, it’s exhausting to yell but how do I get the kids to clean their room without whining?”

She was pretty disgusted. Probably because I stood there looking as useful as a door to a cobwebbed attic.

But, and what I’m about to type, didn’t come by means of a thought-process. I didn’t reason or recall a string of logic. I didn’t give a pep talk. I didn’t ask her, how does this make you feel, because her feelings were plain and clear. I just knew.

Nice.

Niceness exists. It’s alive and multiplying. The seed within itself.

I admitted or knew, this niceness that Mom validated when she cleaned my room and did my laundry until I left for college because she knew I’d rather be working out on the farm with Dad. It’s the niceness that thrives on the power of teamwork. It’s nice to respect one another’s uniqueness yet require expanded talents, since somewhere along my childhood, Mom did get me to clean my room and do laundry.

I even sort of learned to cook, okay minimally, in between baling hay, training fruit trees, and graveling roads on the farm. But when home, I saw Mom cooking without grumbling, teaching me it was possible.

When becoming a mother myself, I put the mental plow to the ground and tilled the soil that let me take on this heritage of niceness when doing housework.

Don’t for a second think that my plowing came painlessly. We’re talking plowing a planet here. I whined, fumed at my husband, yelled, and made myself miserable for at least ten years, but one day while standing on a mountain of dirty laundry, sorting clothes and stuffing the washing machine, the word “infinite” knocked on my mind. I opened the door and snickered. Infinite laundry was translated into the possibility of infinity. Eternity. No wonder Mom is still alive to me.

As for my daughter the other morning, my response was, “Oh for Pete’s sake, I cleaned your room until you were fourteen years old.” Her children are six and three.

We smiled at one another and chuckled. Not because her kids are younger but because, it was nice.

Adjusting Effectively

Thirty years ago, in Washington state, one week before harvesting our sweet cherries, it rained. And rained. The cherries drank in the water, causing their delicate skins to burst and crack. Open to mold. For the next three weeks, I watched our source of income rot and drop to the ground. I cried and had nightmares. Yet I didn’t want to wake up to my feelings of despair, anger, and hurt.

Positive thinking? Useless. And ineffective up against my feelings.

I wrestled with the need to adjust. Do I adjust to a new normal based on loss? Do I adjust to loss as the new normal?

Answers to those questions were blurring. So, I backed up. To find a more effective way to adjust. But maybe, it’s the very act of adjusting, that packs the punch?

Looking to history for insight, I sat down and read a bit of religious writings for input and happened upon a story about a forlorn, destitute mother who was asked by a wise guy, what do you have in your house?

The question jerked my mind. From thinking about what I lost, to thinking about what I have.

I’ll be honest here; my mind wasn’t too pliable at first. I was scared. I begrudged our downsized house and reduced buying habits. I resented having cherry trees that brought grief yet still required our care and borrowed money.

That’s all the further I got in the thought process before our young children demanded my attention. Up I got to go give it, but with my newly jerked mind, I glimpsed an adjustment had been made in mind.

Instead of answering the demands of loss, I answered the demand of family love.

We had in our house, family love, and I could hold it tight by sharing it.

After discussing it with my husband, I picked up the phone and called Social Services. We became licensed foster parents. Not for everyone but fostering for our family worked.

Three years later, the cherry crop brought in a gain. Large enough to pay off the debt and obtain a house with windows that didn’t let dirt inside (sandstorms are popular in southeastern Washington).

And guess what? The gain had as much power as the loss. Brief power.

Life makes sense when I adjust to the knowledge that gains and losses don’t define me.

But the good I have in my house does. Even if that good looks puny. And growing family love proves to be an effective adjustment.

Christ’s love leads

Rose and Sam ate together silently in tangible peace. They talked together, walked together, and lived together. If Sam went on a brief outing, Rose paced perilously under the tall poplar trees that shaded their favorite meeting place, sweating profusely with impatience for Sam’s return, who seemingly brought back calm and relief. In other words, Rose was a sour pickle. Until after Ivan entered the picture as an uninvited visitor and some of that sourness went sweet.

Ivan was an orphan. Found and taken in for care by a neighbor of Rose and Sam.

On his own, Ivan soon discovered the buddies on the other side of the fence. Whether instinctively or guided, Ivan ambled, quiet as a feather to Rose and Sam, and contributed to the tangible peace.

Ivan always returned home for the night, staying safe and fed. His guardian of course, knew where he’d been during the daytime. She watched Ivan like a soldier, ready to protect and defend.

The guardian familiarized Ivan with his new household and carried him on a shoulder to introduce him to more neighbors, but soon, she had to admit that her method of watching was outdating faster than computers and she’d miss out if she didn’t transform for the better, her watching method.

Instead of watching to defend, the guardian watched to learn and organize what Ivan staged.

Ivan was indescribably respected by all, but then how could Ivan not be respected? He carried the formidable apparition of a mixture of gratitude, neutrality, worth, and forgiveness.

Counterintuitive to human nature, Ivan presumed living for life before living for himself. He approached others as if they were held in peace and purpose. In other words, Ivan didn’t approach others as if he had to give or get them peace. Ivan’s amazing approach sometimes mystified but also calmed and relieved me.

Yes, I was the guardian. Rose and Sam were horses. Ivan was a baby quail, weighing no more than a breath when found next to a dead mother quail. But Ivan took to his new home, cheeping furiously until I finally figured out the food he could eat.

He rode on my shoulder, or head, when I walked the orchard.

As for my riding, for years I’d been riding Rose in the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington state, and believe me when I say, Rose was sour, persnickety, with a nailed-in mindset that framed sweaty, precarious fear of the new, which made me afraid too since she weighed half a ton. Then I saw Ivan standing on Rose.

Do I laugh? Do I worry? Not really. I watch Ivan travel a trajectory of calm and relief. That watching inspires me to follow.

I Cor. 6, The Message, “When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs?”

Moving Our Stuff

Yesterday, I met a woman who recently moved to the Village of Florida. From Alaska. Next to my staying home, her action was avantgarde. But come to think of it, I also know of a young family who moved from New York City to Ireland. And two days ago, an acquaintance told me she’s moving to Hawaii. Well, well, a pretty much global shutdown means we can still be safe and move.

The movees have one thing in common. Downsizing. They happily left behind “stuff” to take on new adventures, new positions in life.

Twelve years ago, my husband, Doug, and I prepared to move from Washington state to New York. Exactly this time of the year. At the beginning of “garage sale” season.

“Hey, Cheryl, the neighbor is having a garage sale today. He said we could put some of our stuff on his lawn,” Doug told me, as I sat in my pjs, sipping from a coffee cup.

Doug took a few nick knacks from shelves and sauntered out the door to the neighbors. He returned for items from the kitchen, then stayed at the neighbors to help with his sale. While I finished breakfast and got dressed.

Soon, Doug dashed back into our house and said, “Wow, it’s busy at the neighbors. So many buyers. Come on, help me carry our sofa outside. We can just put it in our own lawn. The buyers will come over here.”

“Um, are you over doing it?” I asked as I reluctantly carried my end of our sofa outside. “Don’t we want a sofa in New York?”

After plopping the sofa down, I noticed the people. Garage sale lovers, galore. Wandering over the dewy lawn, searching and calculating and deliberating.

Doug and I hauled a few more things outside as requests shouted through the air, “Got some tools? How about an extra pair of boots? My kid needs a bike.” It got to the point where I just brought serious buyers into the house. One savvy lady, looked in on my unmade bed and said, “I’ll buy that bed and let you use it until the day you move before picking it up.”

Sold.

Needless to say, the three-thousand-mile move to New York occurred with a lot less burden.

In the twelve years since, we haven’t missed a thing. Except. Except, I’ve thought a few times about one picture. It was only a print but worth a lot in sentiment. It’s an image of Daniel standing serenely upright in a lion’s den. Each lion represents a character, of say, hate, fear, envy, revenge, vanity, cowardice, but all unable to move Daniel who is standing still, yet moving in a mind of a humble powerful truth of life, indescribable yet real.

That image shouldered me through a deeply troubling time of self-doubt and loneliness. I was going to bring the picture to New York.

But at the garage sale, I’d taken a woman into the house to show her a dresser. “Follow me, the dresser is in the back room. Sorry for the mess,” blah, blah, I blathered. Until I noticed that she had stopped in front of the picture of Daniel, hanging on the wall in the hall. I stopped. My mouth closed. I observed.

As she began deciphering the many meanings brought about through the image, her face showed a mixture of near-tears relief and recognition of a hope possibly regained after believing it lost.

“Would you sell this?” she asked solemnly.

“To you, yes, five bucks,” I said.

“I’ll pay your more,” she said.

“No. Our deal is to remember we’re not alone and we’re always loved.”

Looking Up

Blooming Dogwood trees. It’s happening around town. And for me, each tree causes a flush of memories and calm. I’m not talking about a calm that sits down with a cup of cocoa and good book to read. I’m talking about a calm that says, I know, I know, I don’t know.

The statement begins agitatedly, I KNOW. Then quieter, I know. Then in a whisper, admits, I don’t know.

I release all “my knowing,” look up and…calm. Even if for a second. It’s the calm of trusting goodness.

In Washington state, one Dogwood tree ornamented our orchard. One. One Dogwood tree on the outskirt of our forty-acre orchard. An orchard planted with about eight-thousand trees, all blooming delicate pinks and whites.

The one stood out.

While the fruit tree flowers came in bunches of nickel-sized florets, flailing every which way, the Dogwood flowers carried a look of independence. The Dogwood flowers were large, the size of saltines and they faced upward.

Each time this year, I’d walk to the one Dogwood tree and cut a few long stalks of flowers to take home, arrange in a vase, and put on top of the piano. The Dogwood flowers became my classic décor when hosting Easter dinners for family and friends and anyone else I previously bumped into in town to invite, no matter what their religious or nonreligious background.

We all had one thing in common, appreciation for, or at least getting a kick out of the dignity and uniqueness of the grandiose Dogwood bouquet.

But the next day, those flowers went to the compost pile, because they started stinking.

I know, I won’t be hosting a dinner anytime soon or bumping into people, because I hardly go into town and when I do, I avoid people.

I know, my typical way of seeing and celebrating this time of the year, full of renewal and friendship, has been contradicted and dashed.

It’s enough to make me look down and feel afraid, frustrated, weary. Apathy grabs me. But I shake it off and say, nope, I don’t know. Or rather, I admit that what I currently do know won’t last. I don’t need to hold onto what I know.

More knowledge will come. It is coming.

And every day of late, even when I’m not trying, glances of Dogwood flowers infuse me with increased knowledge of a trust in life and renewal.

I John 1:1-4
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

Something to do during COVID-19 pandemic

From the “Index” of 21st Century Science and Health, 6th edition, look up references to your choice of the following words, typed in bold font below. When reading the references, ask yourself questions.

Guidance.

How can we feel Soul guiding us through social-distancing, rather than feel the pull of emotionalism?

Angels are exalted thoughts that guide us, so what type of indestructible angels get us through chaos and vulnerability?

Divine Truth guides byspiritual rules, not human rules, therefore what human rules can we distance ourselves from? What spiritual rules can we live, move, and breath?

Environment.

How do we read human mind without fear, but with healing compassion, such as Christ Jesus did?

What other types of activities and ideas, other than “song, sermon, and Science” show trust in Spirit and spirituality and offer comfort to humanity?

How do we possess and reflect “God’s dominion to bless the environment” when using the internet?

Peace.

Staying on the side of “Science and peace” isn’t danger-free, so what errors of thought do we banish to stay protected and safe?

The “peace and order of divine Mind” doesn’t come by avoiding COVID-19, but by treating it with spiritual understanding, by respecting advanced thinkers, and what else?

Like a “dove,” how are we symbols of peace? Like “evening,” we can trust peace and rest to overpower mystification and weariness.

World events stretch Easter

Easter stretches like Silly Putty as world events yank and squash our views. And the COVID-19 pandemic has me wondering, can I get new views of Easter from divine Mind, rather than from world events?

Arguably, Easter began before Christianity, to celebrate the world event of the beginning of spring, signifying new life.

Among many other amazing world events came Jesus and his story of resurrecting, three days after being crucified. About three-hundred years of yanking and squashing, in 325 the Council of Nicaea stretched Easter and people began observing the resurrection. Basically, Easter shaped into a Christian holiday.

When reviewing the story of Jesus up against the current pandemic, I’ve noticed Easter take on a new shape: Jesus’ resurrection can be my resurrection, defined as rebirth. In other words, my goal isn’t to avoid disease or death but to live the patience, integrity, and trust in Spirit that Jesus did.

We read in Matthew that before Jesus prayed alone in Gethsemane, he told a few of his disciples, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” Well, the disciples didn’t “watch” but that’s another story. “And going a little farther [Jesus] fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’”

Jesus was sorrowful, sad, a sadness that would lead to death, however Jesus didn’t go to death because he ultimately did the will of God, Life, and lived.

Rather than be obsessed with COVID-19, I can prayerfully contemplate divine Mind and thoughts.

Unseen ungodlike thoughts can be dangerous and they do die, whether it’s a virus or human vanity, however, I can not be sad and I can do the will of God with my heart, soul, and body by rebirthing patience, integrity, and a trust in divine Spirit. I can see and feel Easter being stretched into clearer views of a life worth living.

“The resurrection advances individual and collective consciousness, it moves thought out of spiritual dullness and blind belief into the perception of infinite possibilities.”—21st Century Science and Health

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HAPPY LISTENING

 

Overwatered houseplants

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped driving into town five days a week, to work at our shop.

My new routine embraces a lot more home time.

My old routine allowed me time with the public. Lots of people. We talked. We laughed. We shared ideas. The job confirmed that many of us, no matter what language we use, understand the meaning and healing power of love and life.

When busy in the shop, I spent fewer hours at home and would forget to water our four plants. The ivy and spider plants would soon look dry and thirsty, reminding me, water please.

They also promptly forgave me after I gave them a drink.

Before the COVID-19 containment mandates went into effect, we closed our shop and began staying home. Now, the ivy and spider plants tell me, no more water please, you gave us a drink two days ago. Enough already.

I smile.

World history requires routine changes. Humans adjust. It is the very adjustments and changes that confirm an understanding of love and life. If human routines don’t change or improve, we succumb into the worst characters and harden into hate and death.

It may be the death of people, businesses, churches, or communities. But love and life survive.

The reason we closed our shop relates to the reason our state governor eventually mandated non-essential employees to stay home. To contain COVID-19. And I believe it must be done with love and life rather than with fear and selfishness.

We stay home to allow space for people who supply food and healthcare. They deserve my respect and intelligence.

Although I’m not sick, I hear this counsel from the modern version of Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Science and Health:

“Selfishness pushes the weight of human existence toward the side of error, not toward Truth. Denial of the oneness of Mind causes our energy to veer into the gutter of mortality, rather than stay on track with Spirit, good.

“In divine Science, we are well even if the physical senses say we are sick, however, this doesn’t discount our responsibility to tell others we are sick or contagious while yet proving in Science that health is normal and disease is abnormal.

“Continue to recognize the nothingness of illusions—stay on the path Science is walking—and the ingrained illusions of human beings will be replaced with reality.”

The counsel isn’t new. It goes way back. In Bible language, I read about following the path of love and life, and not veering to the right or left unless led to by God.

Moses wrapped up his speech regarding the Ten Commandments by saying, “You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.”—Deut. 5:32-33

From II Chronicles:

“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images.”

In this time of contagious disease, there’s evidence of an ever-growing understanding of love and life as all-in-all. My goal isn’t to not get sick. My goal is to follow love and life. It’s happened for thousands of years and people are doing so today even if it’s scary.

From the Gospel Mark:

“And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.”

I can’t let human routines decide anything. I want to follow and tend to love and life. Because it is love and life that make the last call.

Faith in contagious good

Coronavirus-2019 shows me the bottom line isn’t financial but spiritual. It shows me the value of faith.

While distancing myself physically from others, I also strive to remain in touch with behaviors that support cleanliness and health. I can spread wisdom rather than disease. And I think wisdom involves respect for one another as mentioned in Romans 12: 4-12.

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

As expressions of the one God, we each have different gifts and together those gifts express purpose, health, and love. It’s not a gift to point fingers and blame. It’s not a gift to pretend to be an arm and tell the leg how to act. It’s not a gift to pretend to be an arm when we’re really a leg.

But we can be our self and respect others, because behaving as one, has throughout history, served humanity better.

While I understand more each day about this virus and how to behave with respect, patience, and zeal in society, I don’t want to forget faith. I don’t want to struggle to understand more and more about this world-problem, since an obsessed mind isn’t mindful.

I can take time to cherish faith, my faith in God, the one Mind, and in divine Science teaching me, as read in 21st Century Science and Health, “Nothing except divine power is capable of doing more for human beings than we do for ourselves.”

I don’t fully understand divine power, but I believe it resounds goodness, not for a few, but for the whole.

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