My grandson and I have a routine on Sunday mornings. We're the first ones awake, so we get dressed and go out to get donuts for the family. We've been doing it since he was a newborn. He comes to spend Saturday nights with Apo (his version of Opa) and Grammy, and the Sunday morning ritual is a given since he's been doing it for two and a half years now.
Last week, on the way home in the car, he ate two whole donuts, and I turned to him and said, "You are a monster donut-eater!" (Monster, as in monster-trucks that he loves to play with.) He paused thoughtfully and then declared with emphasis, "I AM A MONSTER DONUT EATER." He sounded so convinced this was true that his whole being resonated with identification.
I would love to be this quick and confident to identify myself with statements about me that have the ring of truth. Especially with the thoughts that come to me from God that identify me as His child, as God's likeness. Thoughts like, "I am good." "I am happy." "I am at peace." I know in my heart of hearts that this is what's true about me and everyone else, because we are all God's children.
So then, what makes us forget who we are? The Bible puts it this way: "The man who simply hears and does nothing about it is like a man catching the reflection of his natural face in a mirror. He sees himself, it is true, but he goes off without the slightest recollection of what sort of person he saw in the mirror. But the man who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and makes a habit of so doing, is not the man who hears and forgets. He puts that law into practice and he wins true happiness" (James 1:23-25). In other words, we catch glimpses of our actual, spiritual nature when we look to God, Spirit, for how He knows us.
But then we go on with our day and everything around us says that we're anything but Godlike. Instead, we're just imperfect, sometimes helpless, humans. This image is thrust on us as persistently as a hypnotist repeatedly urging his or her subject to sleep. Before we know it, we've forgotten who we belong to - God. How can we keep this from happening?
Here's one way to look at it. Suppose a mole was digging around one day and popped his head above ground, only to find himself within huge cement walls with no cracks or holes in them for escape. For a moment, he's afraid of being trapped and forgets what he's capable of doing because of who and what he is. In that frightened moment, he might think, How will I live in here? Will there be enough food? Will I be able to find a mate? Will I be stuck here forever? But of course the mole isn't trapped. He lives and moves underground, and a wall above ground has no effect on his life. All he has to do is remember who and what he is, and then he's free to move on.
In a sense, the same can be said for us. We belong to God and actually are the image, or idea, of God, so we aren't confined or limited by material limits. The more we understand this fact, the less likely we'll be "trapped" by identifying ourselves in a limited way. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor and a pioneer in discovering the spiritual nature of life, put it this way: "Detach sense from the body, or matter, which is only a form of human belief, and you may learn the meaning of God, or good, and the nature of the immutable and immortal.... Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will rise to the spiritual consciousness of being, even as the bird which has burst from the egg and preens its wings for a skyward flight" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 261).
My grandson's voice still echoes in my ears. It prompts me to turn to God to get a truer sense of who I am. And recently, when I've been hearing from God about the goodness and spirituality that are mine, I am agreeing wholeheartedly. Listen for just a moment to hear what God is saying to you, and remember that you can agree without reservation.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory
of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
II Corinthians 3:18
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor