The way Life is
A Christian Science perspective.
“Welcome to Maine: The Way Life Should Be” reads the sign as you cross the border from New Hampshire into Maine on I-95. As someone who loves the pristine waters of Maine’s lakes, its glorious rocky coast, the simplicity of waking up to pull on a pair of well-worn jeans, and the smell of pine needles as I walk through an evergreen forest, it might seem logical that I would agree with that sign. But I always correct that sentiment when I read it. I’ve learned through my study of Christian Science that any good that I see in Maine or anywhere in the world is just a hint of the way Life, God, really is. Life is not conditional on anything but God since God is Life. God is where we truly “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).Skip to next paragraph
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So no matter where we are, and no matter what our circumstances, we are free to discern the way Life really is. We are free to look out into the infinite and to discern that divine Life is perpetually and universally good. It is beautiful, harmonious, simple, pure, invigorating, joyous, loving, and inspiring, because it is infinite Mind infinitely manifesting itself within its own self-completeness. And when we discern even a little of divine Life shining into our human situation, it enlightens and transforms our circumstances, pulling back any limited sense of supply, health, or well-being.
It is our thoughts, then, about our environment and situation that either see life through God’s lens of infinite goodness or filter it through the lens of the personal mind’s finite limitation. The key, I’m finding, is to keep thought in constant relation with the Divine and to perpetually ask God to reveal His presence in every detail of our day. New England spiritual reformer Mary Baker Eddy stated, “To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Miscellany,” p. 160).
I remind myself often of this beatitude from Christ Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). In other words, the purity of seeing as God sees reveals that the kingdom of heaven is always at hand. It is never far off, but always within consciousness. And if a challenge of inharmony comes up, the need is not to fix the phenomenon that thought is projecting, but to be sure that our lens of thought is the divine Mind.
Recently, I had a simple but meaningful illustration of the power of seeing more clearly the way Life is right here in Maine. A handyman was helping me do some repair work on my little cottage. Suddenly some ground gave way, just enough to reveal that the cover on the septic system had rusted out. The handyman informed me that this was a serious problem, as the local authorities would require me to redo my septic system in order to bring it up to present-day standards.
In his concern for the expense that this might be for me, he suggested we put a temporary cover over it and wait a while before telling the authorities. At first this seemed like it might buy me some time to figure out the best solution; but upon taking some time to pray, I knew this was a limited and fearful approach to life, and not the way I know Life to be. It seemed clear that honesty and forthrightness would express my trust in Life as whole, complete, and harmonious, so I decided to go on the offensive with the situation.
I asked the handyman if he would contact the authorities and see what my options were. After all, Mind is infinite; and there just had to be an honest, joyous, and abundant solution to this need. He was happy to do that, even relieved, as he said, “This is the right way to handle things.” On the way to his appointment with the man in charge of code enforcement, he and his wife dropped by with a basket of canned pickles and relishes for me. As I looked at this beautiful basket of home-canned garden produce, I couldn’t help feeling God’s love and assurance. How loved and supported I felt by these Mainers. No matter what the authorities said, I felt sure there would be a gracious way to see my need met.
Within a couple of hours, they came back with bashful Maine-smiles on their faces. (Folks in Maine tend to be subtle in their joy, but I’ve gotten to the place where I can spot it easily and enjoy it all the more for its quiet twinkling behind the eyes.) They reported that all I needed was to have a soil engineer draw up a plan, get a permit, and then I had as many years as I needed to complete the project. I just had to show that I was making progress. And this is the way Life is, I thought. Life is full of the possible, full of tender care, full of adventure, full of solutions, full of harmony, and baskets full of blessings.
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