`The joy of paths untrod'
LIFE would be dull indeed if we thought we had learned all there was to learn, and done all there was to do. But there is no excuse for such a thought. Life is a continuous adventure. Imagine yourself climbing a lovely mountain. Every time the path bends around a contour, a new vista opens up, a new view of the valley spreading out below. You develop a lively anticipation of each turn ahead. The whole climb becomes a joy, each step you take a new fulfillment, each level you reach a new triumph. It's the same in the world of thought. Every day--sometimes every hour--we're faced with new challenges, new mental paths, and if the summit we're headed for is really worthwhile, the mental climb can be joyful, too, full of a happy sort of anticipation. One of the fringe benefits that can come with this is a feeling that we're not alone. Everyone has similar things to learn, comparable feelings of limitation to conquer, and victories to achieve! Though we may not realize it, we're all seeking God, the divine Life that can make everything new and better for us. This struck me forcibly during the singing of a hymn that includes these lines: From heart to heart the bright hope glows, The seekers of the Light are one: ..... One in the joy of paths untrod, ..... One in the larger thought of God.1 Many are the intervals when I have felt at a dead end--sometimes with simply a complacent lack of zest for going forward, sometimes with a sense that there was nothing particularly satisfying to look forward to, and sometimes with a fear of what might be around the next corner. But even in the dark moments, some basic truths of Christian Science have stayed with me: (1) that God exists; (2) that He is everywhere; (3) that He is utterly intelligent, harmonious, loving; (4) that the love from God which I felt for all mankind was evidence of my real being as His expression, His reflection, spiritual and harmonious, not material and discordant. As such truths have lightened my thinking, the mental clouds have always dissipated. The ``paths untrod'' that lay ahead of me, the new lessons that needed to be learned, have brought great blessings. Every time more of the baggage of self-centeredness has been dropped, more compassion learned, a more effective understanding of God and prayer gained, a spiritual joy has welled up that grows. Truly, when we put ourselves--with honest, seeking hearts--in the Father's care, the paths before us will always turn out to be safe and beautiful, leading to more dominion and health. God is our Life, the source and Principle of all true and eternal reality. He is infinite divine Mind, Spirit, the loving ever-presence that enfolds us all. He is Truth! From Him comes the Christ-power by which Jesus did his glorious healing works. The same divine power is ours to reflect in our prayers today. How? Through realizing the truths of spiritual being and following the example of the Way-shower, Christ Jesus, in all that he said and stood for. An Old Testament prophet represents God as saying, ``I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.'' 2 And the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, offers this assurance: ``Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance.'' 3 Yes, the ``paths untrod'' can be joyful for us! 1 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 218. 2 Isaiah 42:16. 3 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 149-150.