ONE afternoon I was in a nursery when a woman came up to me with a plant in her hand. It had a tag with growing instructions in rather small print. She asked me if I would please tell her what it said because she had left her glasses at home. I did so, and she asked if I wore glasses. I said that I didn't. Then she pursued the point: ``Don't you have any glasses?'' ``No,'' I replied. ``Well!'' she said, and walked away. I was surprised at her response, and I smiled a little to myself because she couldn't have guessed that when I was a schoolgirl I was told that I had an organic defect in vision and would always have to wear glasses. I attended the Christian Science Sunday School, and my father encouraged me not to accept this verdict as irreversible, in spite of the apparent finality and authoritative tone with which it had been pronounced.
I remember that I studied the spiritual definition of the word eyes from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.1 The first paragraph reads: ``Spiritual discernment,--not material but mental.''2 I used the glasses for about a year. Then I lost them and realized to my great satisfaction that I didn't need them anymore. This was confirmed by a subsequent sight test, and the healing has been permanent.
How could my father and I be so confident in the face of such clear-cut evidence of badly impaired sight? We had learned to think of man as the Bible describes him3 and as God has actually created him --as the image of God, of perfect Spirit. We had come to realize that true identity is not what it appears to be; that man is not a defective mortal; and that his God-given faculties are spiritual, not material, not subject to deterioration. Spiritual perception is not dependent on matter, and an understanding of this helps to correct problems with vision.
The prophet Isaiah speaks of a time when ``the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.''4 Couldn't we say that the eyes of them that spiritually discern the true nature of God and man won't be dim? A deeper sense of what sight really is can improve our eyesight.
Christ Jesus' disciples proved that the power of the healing Christ, which the Master so fully demonstrated, was still available to enable them to continue the healing work. And it is still at hand now. The power of Christ, acknowledged and felt in prayer, heightens the perceptive faculties and frees them from any sense of strain, weakness, distortion, or deterioration.
In a paragraph bearing the mar ginal heading ``Permanent sensibility,'' Mrs. Eddy writes: ``Sight, hearing, all the spiritual senses of man, are eternal. They cannot be lost. Their reality and immortality are in Spirit and understanding, not in matter,--hence their permanence.'' And she says on the next page, referring to God as Mind: ``There is more Science in the perpetual exercise of the Mind-faculties than in their loss. Lost they cannot be, while Mind remains. The apprehension of this gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf centuries ago, and it will repeat the wonder.''5 The task of challenging a supposedly authoritative verdict against any aspect of our well-being may sometimes seem a formidable one. But to spiritual sense this task isn't so much a challenge as a simple question of correcting a misconception. We need to realize that man, as God made him, is complete not incomplete, strong not weak, perfect in every detail. This truth, affirmed and perceived in prayer, heals misconceptions about man and the ills they produce.
The term permanent applies to everything relating to man in God's image. Sight, as a spiritual faculty, is permanent. It is imperfection that's temporary and changing, subject to correction. Understanding this brings great encouragement to human experience--and healing.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, p. 586. 3See Genesis 1:26, 27. 4Isaiah 32:3, 4. 5Science and Health, pp. 486-487. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them. Proverbs 20:12