We all face forks in the road at which we must choose a course of action – sometimes with life-changing results. Such was the case for me a number of years ago, when I first encountered Christian Science.
I went to medical school for about six years, and then began work as a therapist at a drug treatment center for terminally ill patients. One day, shortly before my graduation, while traveling to New York for special training, I stopped in Boston, where I spotted an impressive domed building with a huge reflecting pool. I didn’t know it then as The Mother Church, the headquarters of the Christian Science Church, but out of curiosity I checked it out. The two women who greeted me in the church building made an indelible impression – I felt there was something unique about them. At that time I was not interested in their religion, but their kindness resonated with me.
Soon afterward, I met a woman who had been raised as a Christian Scientist, who shared her religious beliefs with me. Despite my years of medical training, these new ideas about health and healing made sense; in fact, I felt I had finally found what I had been searching for. For years I’d felt there must be more to life and to God than I’d learned in my childhood church, a mainline Christian denomination. In pursuit of answers I’d dropped out of college twice (before entering medical school), become a vegetarian, taken on a meditation guru, and had all but given up on religion. But now I finally felt I was finding satisfying answers to my questions.
I discovered that there was a Christian Science nursing facility located in my city, and that there the atmosphere was peaceful, patients experienced healing, and freely prayed. This was so different from the particular medical center where I worked, where the atmosphere held little hope, the medication caused side effects, and there were no outright expressions of faith. I preferred the Christian Science method.
The more I learned about Christian Science nurses, the more I was drawn to how they embodied the statement: “[B]lessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (Mary Baker Eddy, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 518). I thought it would be a blessing to work in that atmosphere of Love – to care for patients and to serve and openly praise God, too.
I began to think I should leave behind my medical career to pursue a job at the Christian Science nursing facility. This idea was met with disappointment by my parents, however, who could not understand why, after years of study and expense, I would leave a promising career. I loved my parents very much and wanted their approval.
I turned to the Bible for guidance and read Jesus’ words to his parents: “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). It was clear that I needed to be about my heavenly Father’s business, too, so I lovingly reassured my parents and was certain that someday they would understand. Eventually they did, and today our family is as close as ever.
After I’d studied Christian Science for about three years, it felt right to pursue employment at the Christian Science nursing facility. Because of my medical training, the administrator there wanted to be sure I had a clear understanding of metaphysics before I worked directly with the guests, so she offered me a housekeeping position. This meant a drop from what I’d been used to in terms of salary and status.
Again I turned to the Bible and read, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psalms 84:10). Now, I certainly didn’t think the treatment center where I’d worked was “wicked,” but the message was clear: I would rather work humbly in what I felt was my right place, than work in a place where I no longer believed in its method of treatment. So I willingly accepted the position and was the best housekeeper I could possibly be. Soon I was trained as a Christian Science nurse’s aide and worked at that facility for more than three years, every day witnessing the healing results of Christian Science. Later, I was an organist at a Christian Science branch church, was a full-time mom, and served as a Christian Science chaplain.
This experience taught me the truth in Mrs. Eddy’s words: “When mortals learn to love aright; when they learn that man’s highest happiness, that which has most of heaven in it, is in blessing others, and self-immolation – they will obey both the old and the new commandment, and receive the reward of obedience” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1902,” p. 17). This reward was a life of spiritual unfoldment. In the years since, I have been blessed in countless ways. My needs have always been met, and I have never regretted leaving my medical career.
From the Christian Science Sentinel.