It had been a pretty busy time. We moved with our six children from the North to the South, and were living in a large apartment complex until the sale of our former house was completed. Try that with six children and a dog! Yup. It was busy. But it was also an adventure.
The apartment complex was new and attractive and living there was kind of like living in a college dorm. Even better, our patio doors overlooked the swimming pool and, now that we were in the South, we had a lot of opportunity to swim.
As busy as I was with moving and family, I was also beginning to take calls from people seeking help through prayer to solve their problems. Until I could find a downtown office, I put a desk in the corner of my bedroom for a quiet place to study and pray. The Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, were my textbooks for healing prayer.
One idea from Science and Health was a great support during the move and the settling in. “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” (p.4). With so many children coming and going, and with so many new neighbors added to the mix, I particularly reached for patience many times!
A case in point was our up-stairs neighbor. Woody was a friendly, congenial kind of guy. However, he did like his music. He liked it L-O-U-D! Sometimes it interfered with our sleep. Something had to be done, so I prayed.
In general, my prayers followed the Golden Rule, which I interpret this way: “Think unto others as you would have them think unto you.” I endeavored to identify Woody and all our neighbors the way I was sure God identified them: as the image and likeness of God who is Life, and therefore altogether good even when things didn’t look or sound that way. I knew that a spiritual viewpoint mattered and that it would carry over into my actions.
I went back to that passage about patience, meekness, love and good deeds, from Science and Health. I wondered what good deed I might do that could help me reach out to Woody. Listening for an answer, I thought: “Take him a plate of cookies.”
So that’s what I did. I took him cookies, along with a patient smile and lots of affection. I told him how much we enjoyed him as a neighbor. He was so pleased! Then I asked very gently if, please, he could he turn down the music a bit.
Of course, he did. We had no more noise trouble. We were now friends.
Another day, some time after the noise issue was resolved, Woody’s girlfriend pounded frantically on our door, calling out for help. “Woody is on the floor, unconscious!” she cried.
I ran up the stairs with her into the apartment. He was, indeed, lying on the floor unconscious. She reminded me that Woody was diabetic and that this was serious. She cried, “Don’t let him die!”
I held to one thought, the spiritual viewpoint that had come to me before. I clung to the spiritual fact that God is Life, and that Woody is His image and likeness. Kneeling on the floor, I spoke very firmly, saying, “God is your Life”.
His friend kept crying, saying, “Please don’t let him die.” I assured her he wouldn’t. I was as certain of that as I was of God’s presence. I focused on the spiritual facts, convinced that God, Life, had my back and Woody's back. I felt God’s spiritual power and authority behind the words.
I repeated, “God is your Life,” and Woody began to move a bit, eyelids fluttering. I told him to repeat, “God is my Life”. At first he couldn’t. But again, I said, “Say it. Say, God is my Life.” Quickly, he was able to speak and he repeated the words.
When he began to sit up, his friend grabbed my hand and said: “We have to go outside – he can get violent after an episode.” At first I followed her out, but after a few seconds, I thought: “This is nuts! I’m not afraid. And, I’m certainly not afraid of Woody!” We opened the door and saw him sitting on the couch, smiling. He was completely well.
Many years later, after we had moved from the apartment into a big, old house, Woody stopped by to see me. It had been a long time. He said, “You know, you saved my life that day”.
Well, I spoke the words. But the spiritual viewpoint that saved him was all God’s.
Kay Olson, CSB, is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in Pennsyvannia. She may be contacted directly 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