'Nothing's missing'

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

That is what i said to myself as I searched in vain for my wallet in the busy Manhattan cafe where I was having lunch.

Those may strike you as completely the wrong words under the circumstances. But I've learned that things are not always what they seem. And I knew this was one of those times.

A conventional premise of existence is that something is always missing - time, money, opportunity, success, the solution to a problem, peace of mind, companionship, courage, wisdom, beauty, health. Potentially, even life itself. If it's not one thing, it's another - isn't it?

But there's a less conventional premise of existence that's quite different. It's based on the completeness of a wholly spiritual existence. And, as far-off as it may sound, this spiritual existence is the only existence - the only life - we really have.

"We all must learn that Life is God," wrote the founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pg. 496). And in the same book is this: "When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness" (pg. 264).

Despite what the situation in the cafe was telling me, I knew that from a spiritual perspective it was impossible for God's child - the very manifestation of divine Life - to lose anything good. It would be as impossible as it would to lose the number 7. If you were to cut off a piece of the 7 you see printed on this page, would anything suddenly be missing from the actual number? Of course not, because that number isn't physical. It's an idea. It can't be altered. It's always fully present and complete.

The same is true about everything real in our being. We aren't physical. We are ideas. God's ideas - brilliantly crafted by divine Mind, unfailingly upheld by divine Principle, tenderly maintained by divine Love. (Mind, Principle and Love are, like Life and Spirit, interchangeable terms for God.) Our real identity is Godlike. It is good. Eternal. Unalterable. Always complete. Missing nothing.

Now, I did the normal things you do when you can't find your wallet. I searched repeatedly in the obvious places - in my pockets and my belongings, under the table and chairs. It flashed through my mind where I might have left it, how it might have been stolen, how much money I might have lost, and how much work it would be to replace my driver's license, IDs, and credit cards.

But I did not allow alarm and dismay to set in. I mentally insisted that I was God's son, and was not made careless; and that none of God's other sons or daughters were dishonest. To every negative thought, I declared silently, emphatically: "I don't accept that. Those are not my thoughts." I was trying to do what the Apostle Paul said to do: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5).

I stopped searching and sat quietly, undisturbed. I had not yet found my wallet, but I had found something worth far more - spiritual serenity in the face of mortal adversity. I thanked God for this. I knew that it was not only the basis for reclaiming my wallet but also good practice for facing bigger challenges.

I left the table to go to the restroom. As I did, the idea that "nothing's missing" hit me in a new way.

"Good is a magnet," I thought. "All the forces of God, Spirit, are drawing every good thing, holding all that is good in the right place - actively maintaining every part of my identity, without interruption."

Well, sure enough, I found my wallet. As I headed back to the table, I saw it plain as day from 10 feet away, on the white tile floor. Had it been there all along without my seeing it? Or did it get there some other way? I don't know. I do know that it had been kept safe while I was away from the table. One way or another, I felt that God had proved something to me.

Everybody is entitled to see proof that, right where it appears otherwise, life is complete - nothing's missing.

You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist: www.tfccs.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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