FOR me, traveling by elevator is a metaphor for daily life. The elevator ``family'' might stand for one's own family; or it could represent our church family or our work or school family. In a larger sense, it may refer to our community or even to all of mankind. My office is on the eleventh floor, so I do a fair amount of traveling by elevator. What I like about elevator travel is the other passengers, all those people who often don't even know each other, yet, given the opportunity or opening, are eager to embrace friendship.
The opening might be a question, a greeting, a compliment, a smile, a funny remark. I've always thought a friendly exchange is better than a half dozen pairs of eyes staring in unison at the flickering elevator lights.
But finding a common core of friendship among elevator riders is not always, or necessarily, an outward act. It may happen in the privacy of the heart as well.
I like to begin with the concept that we are a family -- not in a biological but a spiritual sense. The Bible asks, ``Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?''1
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, amplifies this Scriptural idea in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, ``With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science.''2
With one Father, ``our Father which art in heaven,''3 as my basis, the people riding with me on the elevator become part of my spiritual family. I am eager to love them in whatever way I can and must.
Cross and tired looks diminish when faced with a loving smile, especiallyif that smile is underlined by silent prayer -- prayer that acknowledges the power of the healing Christ, Truth, to brighten human consciousness with a sense of Love's presence.
I enjoy seeing the unity in all the diversity tucked in that small space. I am awed by the wealth of qualities and talents that we represent. But I'm not considering us as the group of limited, finite mortals we appear to be. Instead, I choose to see us as God's children, to discern something of man's true, spiritual individuality as the image of God, loved by His omnipotence and watched over by His omnipresence.
To hold to this line of thought enables us to love our neighbor instead of neglecting him or committing the mental insult of dismissing him as inconsequential. Loving the spiritual selfhood of another breaks the mesmerism of self-absorption and awakens a common Christian caring. It enables us to follow Christ Jesus' example.
Not everyone likes traveling by elevator. Some say they have bad dreams about it. Others won't ride at all. And I know people who have gotten stuck while riding. But there's not time to be afraid of elevator riding when one is involved with the family concept of fellow passengers. One is too busy appreciating the substance and intelligence of good expressed in God's family. The awareness of the spiritual identity of others keeps us busy in Love and enables us to prove the Bible promise ``There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.''4
Our contacts with others, wherever we are, shouldn't be thought of routinely. They all provide opportunities to fulfill our silent Christly mission of love and healing for mankind.
1Malachi 2:10. 2Science and Health,pp. 469-470. 3Matthew 6:9. 4I John 4:18.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? I John 4:20