Family matters

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

There had been a longtime rift between my sister and me.

For years I wondered about it, wrote notes to her, and tried to arrange meetings. I even prayed about it off and on, but nothing really brought us together. After considering this problem for years, I realized one day that most people I know have a similar story with a member of their family.

One evening I was sitting in church waiting for the service to begin when this problem came to mind. I began to pray. I made a kind of covenant with God. I promised that I would never criticize this family member again, mentally or orally. I promised that I would never again take part in a conversation that mocked her.

A wonderful sense of peace came to me unlike the many other times I had prayed about the rift when desiring a reconciliation of my own design, and I stopped thinking about it.

About a month later, our large family came together for a wedding, and as I walked into the room I declared that I would no longer play the role of "wounded sister" longing for a harmonious relationship. I realized that I did not have to participate in that kind of thinking or behavior for another moment. I walked over and hugged my sister. Our relating was still slightly awkward, as it had been for years, but it didn't affect me or hurt me as it had in the past. I had more dominion, and I attributed this dominion directly to the love of God I'd felt weeks before sitting in church.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "It is the animal instinct in mortals, which would impel them to devour each other..." (pp. 563-564). I felt that this animal instinct was not my tendency as an immortal and loved child of God, nor was it my sister's tendency. We were placed together in a family to express God's familial love for all His children, and it was our right and privilege to live in harmony.

Over the course of the weekend, we laughed and chatted as though nothing had ever happened between us. And to me, this was the sweetest part of the experience. All those years of prayer and hopefulness did have their result.

It was nothing like the reconciliation I'd orchestrated in my imagination, with tears of forgiveness and a list of regrets. It was a sweet and natural yielding to what is spiritually true, and what is known to God, Love, as ever true of His family. God's sense of us never changes. To God, a rift never occurs, though He is ever present to bring us out of such man-made scenarios.

And that is what was most meaningful to me in seeing this relationship healed. I realized that for many years I believed there had been some mysterious misunderstanding between two people.

What became clear to me was that it was a misunderstanding, but not between two people. It was a mis-understanding about the nature of God who is all Love. I had learned something about God as I sat in that pew at church. I had promised to be more like Him, more loving. This had a direct result on my life, and cleared away a place where I thought love was missing, but was in fact there all along to be recognized.

In the Bible, the book of First John says, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God ... for God is love" (I John 4:7, 8). And Mrs. Eddy commented that this Scripture is "the most simple and profound counsel of the inspired writer" (Science and Health, p. 572). How freeing it is to realize that we are made to do just this, and nothing can prevent it.

I will restore
to you the years
that the locust hath eaten.
Joel 2:25

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