I drove past the apartment where, as a new bride, I put up my first Christmas tree and where our daughter was born. Such happy memories.
Then the car seemed to drive itself past the house where we celebrated baby's first Christmas. This house was the first place we had ever tried to buy. In the end, the deal didn't work out and, as I sat in my car across the street and admired their Christmas decorations, I remembered how heartsick I was to lose that house. Not such happy memories.
For some, returning home for the holidays brings up the best reminiscences. For others, it stirs up regret as long forgotten experiences surface. A few avoid going home altogether. Many brace themselves and push ahead. But there is a way to go home that can be healing, progressive and leave you in a better place afterward.
_In Mary Baker Eddy's autobiography, that recounts her life and spiritual journey including both happy and difficult memories of her own childhood and marriages, she described the material, human history "as a tale that is told," and "as the shadow when it declineth." (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 21)
At Christmastime, we may find ourselves chasing after those shadows, or running away from them, unless we take to heart the spiritual lessons to be learned from our personal experiences, and move on in the light and fullness of the present good of God.
Eddy explained, "The heavenly intent of earth's shadows is to chasten the affections, to rebuke human consciousness and turn it gladly from a material, false sense of life and happiness, to spiritual joy and true estimate of being."
But the question naturally arises, how do we do it? How can we effectively let a material, false sense go and reclaim for ourselves spiritual joy and a true estimate of our lives?
_Here is a short list of tips that may offer help.
It isn't always easy to go home, but it can be healing, to the extent that we are open to the spiritual lessons of divine Love waiting for us. Eddy wrote, understanding the difficulties, "The awakening from a false sense of life, substance, and mind in matter, is as yet imperfect; but for those lucid and enduring lessons of Love which tend to this result, I bless God." (ibid.)
Any experience can be a push off point to renew our love and love more - to experience afresh God's love. As John said, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear." (I John 4:18)
Let God's love lead you home this Christmas and take care of you while you are there.
Faith Bass Darling is a fascinating main character in a recent novel that I read (Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, Lynda Rutledge, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2012). She is a very wealthy woman who becomes convinced that God has told her that "her time has come". She decides to have a huge yard sale selling everything she owns, in order to be ready. Everything! Without a single bit of regret.
Imagine emptying your house of long-cherished belongings. Recently, I did just that. Not because I believed my "time has come." I don’t share Mrs. Darling's belief that God, who is Life, has anything to do with death. But the time had definitely come to accept my daughter’s invitation to live with her.
My husband had passed. She and my other children, were eager for me to make the move. So I did. I sold my house, but I didn’t have a yard sale. Instead, I had a happy time giving away loved possessions to my children and grandchildren, without a single regret.
You might think that getting rid of absolutely everything would have been stressful. But it really wasn’t. Why? Because I wasn't trying to figure out my next steps by myself. I was convinced that I would know what to do and when to do it as I went along. I understood that God, in whom I live and move and have my being, is the divine Principle of divine good, unfolding good for me. God always knows the next step and when to take it in His revelation of good.
This was a lesson I learned from a youngster named Morrie. Unlike the fictional Faith Bass Darling, he was a real little boy who lived in Colorado in the 1890s. Morrie trusted God's perfect timing. He had lost his mother's coal shovel, and he knew she would need it the next morning. It couldn't be found anywhere. Later in the day his mother found him in his room, unusually quiet, and asked him what he was doing. He replied, "I'm praying.”
She asked: "How are you praying?"
"You said I must find that shovel so I'm praying for understanding," he replied.
"Will you pray out loud so I can hear it?" she asked.
This was his prayer: "God is my understanding. He knows all things, and whenever I quit trying to know for myself, then I will know, because God knows".
After his prayer, Morrie went outside to play. Later, his mother asked if he had found the shovel. He was surprised and said, "Why mama, you must wait till the time comes, and not try to know for yourself.”
Early the next morning he came running in to his mother, saying, "The time has come; here it is." He presented her with her the shovel. (Christian Science Journal, Jan. 1890)
I think Morrie’s story shows that he must have felt something of his life inseparable from divine Life, God. Christian Science teaches that God imparts His understanding to us at all times. Morrie expected to know what to do to find the shovel, and he waited for it to be made known. No stress or fuss or fear. And the shovel reappeared right on time for his mother to use it.
God is omniactive Life. His understanding, knowing. expressing, reflecting, manifesting, revealing of good – of all the good that God is – is present in the details of our daily lives.
The emptying of my house and sharing of its contents happened without a hitch in just a few short days. I learned in the process that ridding oneself of things and moving to another State does not imply an end of good. God's goodness continues to provide all that I need in just the right way for my present circumstances. My sense of home – and of being at home – is full and complete.
Best of all, I know that at any point as my journey continues, I can quietly pray for understanding and, like Morrie, I can "try not to know" for myself. God is a caring guide, leading us all into a fuller sense of divine Life and of all the good that life includes.
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no