It is often said that one can be lonely in the midst of a family or on a busy street corner. If this is so, it is not our proximity to people that fills the void; it is learning what love really is and where it comes from. The Bible says , ''Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.'' n1
n1 I John 4:7, 8.
Christ Jesus, whose singular mission separated him from closer personal relationships, knew the source of love as his Father, God - divine Love itself. Through his teachings he brought this understanding of love to his fellowman, and he demonstrated it in the most practical way, healing sin and disease. The multitudes thronged him.
Because, according to the Scriptures, God is Love and man is His image, man expresses the fullness of Love. Our actual nature, then, is loving and lovable. This is what we need to realize when situations tempt us to believe that we are unloved.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, counsels, ''Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil.'' n2 Knowing our likeness to God, we'll find that we actually manifest His goodness, loveliness, and joy. We'll see that we can express these qualities and feel their tangible presence.
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 571.
Jesus said, ''I and my Father are one.'' n3 He proved that man is always one with the Father, Love, and therefore one with all the qualities that emanate from Him - gentleness, loving-kindness, tenderness, and so on. These qualities are attractive. They brought the multitudes to Jesus.
n3 John 10:30.
Spiritually interpreting the passage in the Lord's Prayer ''And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,'' Mrs. Eddy says, ''And Love is reflected in love.'' n4 If we want to be loved, we need to begin loving by acknowledging our God-given completeness and casting out thoughts of emptiness, self-pity, fear, and self-centeredness. They are not attractive; they repel and do not draw friends or family to us.
n4 Science and Health, p. 17.
A young man I know, who graduated from college and went back home to begin his career, was lonely and wanted a real companion. He came to see me one Sunday afternoon, and as the conversation unfolded, he glimpsed the complete nature of God's man as male and female, as expressing the completeness of the divine nature. He saw that he included such spiritual qualities of womanhood as purity, lovingkindness, loveliness, and joy, as well as such pure qualities of manhood as strength, intelligence, and creativity. The qualities of manhood and womanhood, reflecting the fatherhood and motherhood of God, are inherent in each individual, and they are inseparable.
The young man went home and pondered these truths. The following week his mother was talking to a woman she knew, though not well. It came out in the conversation that this woman had a lovely daughter who needed a companion and a right relationship. The conversation was related to my friend, and he called the girl for a date. This was the answer to his newfound understanding, for they were married in a few months.
Several years later he told me that he had discerned his complete, spiritual nature before he met his wife; that whether or not he had found a companion, he knew he was complete. He also said he had been able to help many others with this understanding.
The love within each of us that characterizes womanhood is supported by the courage and strength of our manhood. And the strength of manhood is supported by the love and purity of our womanhood. As Mrs. Eddy points out, ''Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness.'' n5
n5 Ibid., p. 57.
Recognizing the qualities of manhood and womanhood as an integral part of our real being, we can demonstrate that we have what we need, whether it be friends, family, employment. We come to see with joy and understanding that we truly are inseparable from our creator, unchanging Love. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalms 23:1