Paper frogs and other great joys
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Someone had shown my friend Peter, a third-grader, how to fold a 3x5 card to make a frog shape. Pushing down on the back made the "frog" jump. Peter had made a whole bagful of them - he must have pulled out 25-30 frogs to show me. Some were larger the others, and he'd colored some. He was so excited about those frogs and said he was going to sell them for 25 cents apiece. I smiled in that adult way and thought, "No one will pay 25 cents for those frogs." But of course I did.
Later, in thinking about Peter, I was in awe of his joy in doing something new and in seeing such great possibilities! No doubts, no fears, no self put-downs. I was almost envious, and wondered if it was possible for adults to feel that way again. To face each new thing with joy and expectation. To love our work. To laugh more freely, to sing and whistle, and to dance instead of dragging ourselves around.
The Bible has this promise: "For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands" (Isa. 55:12). Doesn't that sound wonderful? And there are no restrictions. The promise isn't just for some people, some of the time, or only if .... The promise is from God, so it's for everyone, children and adults.
Who is this God? Father, Love, Shepherd, a mighty fortress, says the Bible. The universal Parent, caregiver, creator, protector, giver of all good. And each of us is fully embraced by God - is right in the middle of all that care and goodness and love. The Bible also makes clear that God's love and care for us are forever.
What about the pressures, fears, and worries that seep in and grind down the joy, push out the singing and laughter, and stop the dance? We can surely say that those things aren't from God. The God that Jesus showed us is all good, only good.
Have you ever considered that all of Jesus' teachings and healings show us that God's will is for everyone to be lifted up from fear and despair, and to see the abundance of good God has for everyone?
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the author, Mary Baker Eddy, shows how to gain a more consistent joy. For example, she wrote, "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts" (pg. 261).
Our thoughts affect our life. The goal isn't to think in a humanly optimistic way, but to firmly lock onto the all-powerful, good God as the creator and governor of all reality. It's to recognize that God is Spirit, and that His creation is certainly spiritual and perfect and eternal.
So a humdrum, grind-it-out mortal life isn't at all what life really is. Fixing our thoughts on the perfect Spirit and what has to be a perfect spiritual creation, everything begins to shift in our consciousness. Things that seemed so big and awful no longer seem so solid or threatening. They're not supported, or even known, in our good and eternal life in God. The more we hold our thoughts on spiritual life, the more we begin to trust Spirit's ability and willingness to care for us. The worries fade. Even what feels like thoroughly embedded sadness lifts, and new views of what it means to be one of God's cherished sons and daughters appear.
Once I went through a too-long time of not enjoying my work. Nothing was fun anymore, even though I'd been trying to hold steadfastly to the good. Finally I saw in a clear flash of inspiration that since those heavy feelings weren't from God, they weren't really part of me. Nothing could take away the joy God gives, or even make me think I'd lost it. I felt differently about my work from that point on, and enjoyed it once again.
The Bible says, "Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart" (Ps. 32:11). We can do that.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society