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.
Have you ever wished that you could erase what you wrote, delete what you said, undo what you did, or wash away what happened to you? Do you tend to go over aggravating events and wrongs in your thought, letting your yesterdays haunt your todays?
In many cases, a do-over is completely within the realm of possibility. You can bake another cake and remember to put the baking powder in this time. You can erase an unkind text message before you click the send button. But in other cases - past hurts, for example - the memories can seem indelible, unforgettable, trapped in time. What to do?
It helps to know that we have complete control over what we think. We choose to live in the past or in the present. The divine Mind that creates us, gives us dominion over evil in the past and mastery of good in the present. Mind is conscious of what is - always of what is. In the eternal now of Mind, no one is stuck. Thoughts from Mind of what is good and pure and true are available to refresh, update and renew us at every moment.
That's not to say that there is no value to considering the past. Ruminating over yesterday serves no positive purpose; but examining yesterday in the light of one's present spiritual perspective can be instructive, alterative, and even regenerating.
Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "The human history needs to be revised and the material record expunged." RETROSPECTION AND INTROSPECTION, 21
In its spiritual sense, revision involves looking at the past through the spiritual lens of ones present understanding of God and His creation, bringing the view of the past up-to-date with what we know now. This update may not change the past, but it certainly will change the present. With it we can effectively begin to expunge the material (limited, false, restrictive, incorrect, unjust) record until we blot out completely what does not serve good in our present. We can drop pain, fear, doubt, insecurity. We can forgive the misunderstanding and grow forward.
The legal definition of expunge is "to destroy; blot out; obliterate; erase; efface designedly; strike out wholly. The act of physically destroying information—including criminal records—in files, computers, or other depositories." (West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2). Human memory is another depository to be wiped clean by the spiritual process of revision and expunging.
A period of my life was so clouded by emotional pain that I avoided looking at any photos from that time. That's not to say that I didn't revisit it in other ways. I was a ruminator. Most any slight or hurt would trigger a bad trip down memory lane. At the same time, I was spending a lot of time in prayer and study of Scripture for my general spiritual growth. And I was learning and growing and changing. I was sure of it - so sure, in fact, that at 3am one night, some months into my study, I awakened with the thought that everything that the divine Mind is revealing to me now of the omnipresence of good, the power of Love, and the purity and goodness of Mind's creation, was as true in my past as it is right now.
I was impelled to hop right out of bed and go to my photo albums. As I looked through them, I started to cry, but not tears of sadness or pain. Of pure joy. I could see nothing but genuine happiness in the photos. It was so healing. That was the end of the ruminating thoughts. My past was redeemed from that miserable pain.
We can exchange a limited material sense of yesterday for a clearer sense of the spiritual facts today - the very truth which existed then and there, even if it seemed hidden from view. Spiritual revision doesn't involve ignoring bad acts. It wrests control from the "bad," thereby expunging it from our record, and it gives full power to the present good.
We can leave behind the incidents and events that misrepresent us and bind us to pain. Man, as the reflection of the divine Mind that is Spirit, is spiritual. Our spirituality includes dominion over evil and the pure mastery of all that is good.
Mere historic incidents and personal events are frivolous and of no moment, unless they illustrate the ethics of Truth. To this end, but only to this end, such narrations may be admissible and advisable; but if spiritual conclusions are separated from their premises, the nexus is lost, and the argument, with its rightful conclusions, becomes correspondingly obscure. The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged.
For I have known the thoughts that I am thinking towards you -- an affirmation of Jehovah; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give to you posterity and hope. JEREMIAH 29
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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