What can you do when someone's unfair, unkind remarks cling to your thinking like a spider's web? Sticking like glue, unkind words can mess up one's peace of mind. Worse, they tend to give rise to indignant, defensive, self-righteous mental responses. They can keep us busy ruminating, making us miserable, solving nothing.
I spent some days just like that. I had all kinds of mental conversations with someone who had hurled hurtful remarks at me. I mentally told her off, making it clear that I was right and she was wrong. It didn't help. I was simply feeding the hurt feelings.
One day, while looking out my bedroom window, I noticed a dead leaf stuck to a spider web on one of the clapboards of my neighbor's house. Every time I passed by the window, I found myself checking to see if the heavy rain or strong wind had managed to dislodge that sad looking leaf. Nope. The strength of a single thread of spider web held it captive. Spider silk is widely regarded as the strongest natural fabric on earth, at least half as strong as a steel thread of the same thickness, and much more elastic. So it looked like, once caught in the web, that old dead leaf was really stuck. And so it would prove to be for a couple of months.
I likened my situation to that stuck dead leaf. Glued to hurt by a gossamer thread of unkind words, I was caught and getting nowhere. But as one who practices Christian Science, I eventually realized I could do something about this. I didn't need to stay stuck. I remembered the message Jesus gave to his disciples at the crucifixion: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do". (Luke 23:34) As I prayed about Jesus' words, I considered that this dear one possibly had no idea that her words had so disturbed me. And even if she did know, there was no real power in the sticky thread of the hurtful words.
Christian Science teaches that the Christ, or God's spiritual influence, is the only true communicator. The real connection between God's children is through Christ-love. Nothing else sticks. It occurred to me that simply knowing this would allow me to forgive. And that is just what I did. I could then see the whole dispute was a sham. God's children aren't really in conflict. We were both innocent, loved, and loving in God's eyes. We are His own creation under His control.
The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote of error as "deprived of its imaginary powers by Truth [God], which sweeps away the gossamer web of illusion" Science and Health, 403. That is what I had been suffering from - the sticky false belief, or error, that my friend and I could have anything but love pass between us.
That gossamer web of illusion was swept right out of my thinking. I was free. And the next time I looked, the leaf was gone. The spider web on the clapboard, too, had lost its hold.
Kay Olson is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in the US. She welcomes your comments on her post below. If you would like to be in touch with her privately, she is happy to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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