'Tis the season for vacations
A Christian Science perspective.
Some family members and I recently returned from an eight-day road trip. Along with coordinating the needs and desires of three adults and my 20-month-old granddaughter for long periods in the car, we were staying in different homes with friends and family.
Before leaving, I turned to the eight short verses of Psalm 121 for the promises of our assured safety in all ways. The final verse sums up the psalm’s powerful message: “The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
I’ve learned to see this message as more than comforting words. To me it conveys the laws of God in such statements that can be applied as reliably as the laws of mathematics or music. When properly used, these laws correct mistaken concepts in the way that using the right formula solves an algebra problem or playing the right notes performs a song.
For example, one day we were about to start out on a hike to view ancient native American dwellings in southern Colorado. Our guide warned that we’d have very little shade along the trail during our one-to-two-hour trek, and she admonished us to take several precautions to protect ourselves from the sun on that hot day. This alerted me to protect my mental disposition from certain fears and beliefs regarding exposure to the sun. Immediately two other verses from the psalm came to mind: “The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.”
A law stood out here that helped me acknowledge that we were involved in rightful activity as spiritual ideas in harmony with all other ideas under the governance of an all-good Creator. Proceeding without a sense of imposition, not only did I not get sunburned, I was only mildly aware of the heat. Of course, wise steps to take should not be ignored. But our actions and motives can be based on a view of God’s sons and daughters as having a spiritual rather than a matter-based existence.
I was also aware of the challenges that could face a multigenerational group traveling together long distances by car and staying with friends and relatives along the way. Sound instruction in this case came from a different psalm: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (19:14). When our words, thoughts, and deeds are acceptable to God, they will be inoffensive and in accord with everyone around us. There’s no need to feel stressed over trying to please each person in every situation.
My prayer included the understanding that all children of God desire to say and do the right thing. This reasoning provided another application of divine law to help keep the human condition in conformity with the harmony that is God’s plan for us at all times, in all situations.
In planning this trip, numerous agendas were presented. Should we spend quality time with loved ones or get in as much sightseeing as possible? What about finding the needed relaxation and rejuvenation that a vacation is supposed to afford?
Rather than engineering every moment, we allowed the days to unfold. Our approach stemmed from trusting God as the divine Mind. This is one of the names for God from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the Christian Science textbook. It’s a companion to the Bible, a book I study daily with the Bible. The author, Mary Baker Eddy, described God as divine Mind in this way: “Deity, which outlines but is not outlined” (p. 591). It became obvious that each one of us was consistently listening for the right idea to present itself. Also, because we were each willing to yield to this all-wise and loving Deity to outline our plans, each day resulted in happiness and adventure. Each day felt satisfying, purposeful, and complete.
Prayer contributed much to each phase of our journey. That’s because honoring God and relying on divine intelligence aligns our experiences with the beauty and perfection that God is always expressing in His creation. It cultivates in us an expectation of only good.