Conversation these days sometimes includes the expression "I have good news and bad news." Recently I received some good news that brought with it an egoboosting pride of accomplishment; and, on the same day, some bad news that had quite a sting. Later that night I felt agitated. Thoughts of pleasure and disappointment alternately darted into my thinking.
Then I recalled two lines of a poem: "So, when day grows dark and cold,/Tear or triumph harms . . . ." They are from "'Feed My Sheep'" n1 by Mary Baker Eddy. n2 Clearly, I was on an emotional roller coaster ride, carried away by my tears and my triumph. I thought about the lines that include the poem. They might be called a series of petitions to God, the Shepherd: Lead Thy lambkins to the fold, Take them in Thine arms; Feed the hungry, heal the heart, Till the mornings's beam; White as wool, ere they depart, Shepherd, wash them clean.
n1 Poems,m p. 14.
n2 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
Then I saw that I had a part to play. I had to be willing to be led by God; willing to be taken in His arms; willing to be fed spiritually, to have the heart healed, to be washed clean. Washed clean of what? Of all the mortal traits named by the negative "self" words, such as self-righteousness and self-condemnation. (A worthwhile goal, I decided, would be to replace each negative "self" trait with a positive one, such as self-sacrifice, self-knowledge, self-forgetfulness.)
Soon i was at peace, and I slept soundly. The next day was happy and productive. I had found a new appreciation of Christ Jesus' promise to his disciples (and to us): "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." n3
n3 John 14:27.
An understanding of God can keep us on an even keel when waves of either good or bad news come rolling in. It can hold us steady when praise or criticism has been carried too far. This knowledge of the divine nature is not something to salve onto problems like an ointment. Rather, it enables us to see through the problem, be it physical or emotional, and to perceive the truth of being: that man is perfect because God is perfect.
God, who is divine Soul, alone gives peace, and man cannot wander beyond that peace. Emotional storms must be unknown in God's kingdom, for what God created cannot degenerate into imperfection.
Knowing such truths is practical, because an understanding of man's original and permanent perfection frees and heals. The student facing exams, the secretary nagged by a deadline, can gain spiritual strength through perceiving man's faultless, complete identity.
The actions and reactions of the human mind are chimerical. God, divine Mind , knows no excessive zeal, no depression, no malfunction, no retarded or hyperactive behavior. Mrs. Eddy writes: "Eternal harmony, perpetuity, and perfection, constitute the phenomena of being, governed by the immutable laws of God; whereas matter and human will, intellect, desire, and fear, are not the creators, controllers, nor destroyers of life or its harmonies. Man has an immortal Soul, a divine Principle, and an eternal being." n4
n4 No and Yes,m pp. 10-11.
Our task is to prove our perfect self; to be true to it. This requires persistence because we grasp the facts of real existence one by one. Yet it's right to expect perfection. We can yield our clouded view of ourselves to the knowledge that man coexists with his creator in undisturged harmony and order. We can bring our thinking into accord with what divine Mind knows. and what Mind knows is the best news we can ever receive. DAILY BIBLE VERSE YEt a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of th ehands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. Proverbs 24:33, 34