MY mother grew up in Germany during World War II. She was part of a large family of sisters who found themselves as refugees at the end of the war in 1945. They became separated--some ended up in what became West Germany (my mother was one of them), and some in East Germany.
Since my mother was free, she decided to emigrate to the United States. She said goodbye to her mother and what was left of her family, and boarded a large passenger ship on its way across the Atlantic. Her family had always been quite religious. Now she was about to start on an adventure of discovery that went beyond exploring a new country. It was one of learning something about spiritual reality.
Not long after she married my father, my mother began to read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the main work of the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. She began to understand more and more about the Bible, about God, and even about herself and her family. Recently, in talking about the situation in Germany she'd come from, she told me, ``Best of all, I learned that life can be joyful. It's natural to be happy. This, combined with the fact that God actually loves me, was wonderful news.'' Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, ``Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love'' (p. 57). This statement goes hand in hand with Christ Jesus' words ``Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full'' (John 16:24).
My father had been studying Science and Health for a short time before my mother learned of it. I remember sitting in the back seat of our car, listening to them discuss spiritual concepts and ask each other questions for what seemed hours on end. This book and the Bible were transforming their lives and feeding their hunger for spiritual truth. Even though I was quite young, something about their eagerness affected me. They never talked about any other books this way.
Not long after this I was given my own copies of the Bible and of Science and Health. I also began to benefit from their message of God's allness and of my perfection as His creation. Where we lived there were large nests of ants. I had been playing near one of these nests with some of my friends one afternoon and was bitten many times. When I got home I was crying loudly.
My father had learned that he could look to Science and Health for healing ideas, so he opened the book and read to me. What he read was something I was familiar with: ``the scientific statement of being.'' Part of it reads: ``Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal'' (p. 468). Even though I was in much pain, those words took on meaning for me. I saw in a simple way that ant bites are material, and because of that they are actually unreal. What is real is Spirit, God. God's presence is real; His ideas are real.
The truth of those statements affected me as I accepted them. I stopped crying. By dinner time there was no sign of the ant bites and no more pain. As my mother had, now I was feeling the power of spiritual joy. That healing made a deep impression on me. It was one of the first of many Christian Science healings I had while I was growing up.
Recently my mother was reunited with a girlhood friend--and found she was serving as a soloist in a Christian Science church. Science and Health is transforming her life too.