A “Portrait of Dorian Gray” moment? I don’t think so. My husband just didn’t see himself as an aging mortal. He didn’t live like one. So, we didn’t see him that way either. I only remember him as strong, handsome, vibrant and active. The photo may have captured the world’s belief in aging mortals, but he never looked like that.
Some time later, I learned of a woman whose child had drowned at eighteen months. It was in the newspapers and became a very public event. She received letters from parents who had lost their children years earlier and hadn’t stopped grieving. She didn’t want that to be her experience.
She was new to the study of Christian Science but was learning that God could help with anything she had to face. So one night she prayed, “Please Father, lift this grief from me so that I can be a useful, cheerful presence in the world.” Later, she woke from sleep in the middle in the night and was free. She knew she would never grieve for her daughter again. It has been more than 30 years and she never has.
Now this is what is interesting. After the healing, her sense of her daughter changed. Whenever she thought or spoke of her, a mental image would come of her, not as a baby, but as a grown and smiling young woman. The mother felt she was glimpsing the eternal expression of divine Life, reflected by her daughter – beautiful, healthy, and living fully her eternal life. Her life was not cut short.
"[W]hen our friends pass from our sight and we lament, that lamentation is needless and causeless. We shall perceive this to be true when we grow into the understanding of Life, and know that there is no death." Science and Health, 386
As a manifestation of the divine Life, we are complete, beautiful, essential and unique in our expression of infinite good. I am not talking about a human perspective of life that is looking up to or leaning towards God. I am talking about immortal being, the perfect Life perspective, - God’s perfect perspective of us.
Christ Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection shows us that man can drop the mortal belief in death, and live on. Resurrection from the belief that we have died, or that we must die, is essential to human progress. Every time we drop the fear and embrace God’s perspective of life, we resurrect in some degree. But Jesus’ ascension shows the next and even purer lesson of Life, or God - that real life is 100 percent spiritual and that God’s view of us is the only reality of life. With ascension, the material sense of us falls away entirely. We need no matter, see no matter, and are limited by no matter, in our expression of endless, perfect life.
"In his resurrection and ascension, Jesus showed that a mortal man is not the real essence of manhood, and that this unreal material mortality disappears in presence of the reality." Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, MARY BAKER EDDY, 291
In fact, we all only have one true state of existence as the spiritual, mature, magnificent reflection of the divine, unending Life who is God. The Psalmist said of God, “You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life.” (16:10,11) Mrs. Eddy wrote, "The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun." (246)
If manhood (including womanhood) is the eternal noon of virtue and truth, and if this is the “path of divine Life” that God makes known to us, could it be that babyhood, adolescence, middle age and old age are simply mortal, limited views of spiritual being that only ever truly exists at its highest and most beautiful?
After my husband passed on, I dreamed of him one night. In the dream, he was preparing to work on the roof. In a brief conversation we said how much we loved each other. Then he climbed the ladder and disappeared. In this dream he looked exactly as I always knew him – active, healthy, brimming with purpose. I didn’t see an age or stage. I saw him as ageless.
I am no dream interpreter. But pulling these pieces together in thinking about true being gives me a whole new sense of “eternal noon”. God’s man is not, and never has been, an immature mental, emotional or physical being. We are neither underdeveloped (babies), overdeveloped (aged), nor under a state of development (uncomfortable, agitated adolescents or crisis-stricken mid-agers). We each have perfect spiritual being right now. And this perspective is discernible through prayer and presently demonstrable. That is how God, as Mind, creates and sees each one of us, and we can see it, too.
Understanding that we are undimmed by decline, and that we never need to grow brighter to reach our best, we are open right now to experience real life without interruption – true spiritual being, reflecting the divine Life that is God - and we shine. WE SHINE!
"Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended." ISAIAH 60:20
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