AS I was approaching retirement from work, I found myself reluctant to tell people of this forthcoming change in my life. After a while I realized this was because I did not want them to know I had arrived at a milepost that would tell them my age. I saw that pride was restraining me from disclosing my age. Everyone's true selfhood, according to Christian Science, is ageless because it is the outcome of God, who is eternal Life. Divine Life cannot include death, nor can man as God's offspring. In the words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, ``Immortal man was and is God's image or idea, even the infinite expression of infinite Mind, and immortal man is coexistent and coeternal with that Mind.'' 1 Man's being, which has no beginning and no end, cannot therefore reach and pass mileposts; these would presume the division of eternity, which is impossible.
The mileposts we pass in human experience, such as graduation or retirement, can certainly be times of joy and gratitude for past accomplishments. But looking more deeply into ultimate, spiritual reality, we begin to see that the transition times in human experience are unrelated to our true history, which is ageless. Aging belongs to the false concept of existence suggested by the carnal or fleshly mind, the mythical opposite of the divine Mind, God. Christ Jesus explained to his disciples: ``It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.'' 2 What the carnal mind would tell us about our nature and prospects is lifeless. Understanding this enables us to put in proper perspective the stages of human experience and not be overproud, for example, of baby's first tooth or ashamed of the first gray hairs. Man's true life is infinitely beyond the fleeting phases of mortality.
I saw that my reluctance to talk about my retirement had to be overcome through a deeper understanding of my true, ageless existence as the offspring of divine Life. Man coexists with God and is controlled by the laws of Life, not by regulations that would sectionalize his life. Retirement does not mark the beginning or ending of a span of man's life. And the elapsing of a certain period cannot deprive man of, nor increase, the well-being that God, divine Love, bestows on him.
Christ Jesus had a wonderful understanding of God's continuous love for man and of the blessings for each one in the kingdom of heaven, blessings unaffected by circumstance or time. In a parable, he tells of certain laborers who were hired early one morning to work in a householder's vineyard. They agreed to work for a certain wage. At later times in the day the householder took on other unemployed laborers. He even hired some as late as the eleventh hour. When the time came for all to be paid, each received the same compensation as the others, regardless of how many hours he had worked. Those who had worked all day thought it unfair that those who had worked only one hour should receive the same pay as they did. But the householder asked them, ``Is thine eye evil, because I am good?'' 3 Were they offended by his care of all the laborers, which took no account of passing time? The kingdom of heaven is open to all who are receptive to the message of Christ and who are willing to live in harmony with it.
I realized that my real selfhood could not be affected by the milepost of retirement age. I saw to a greater extent the separateness of my true existence from the passing stages of human experience that claim to constitute my life. I knew that I still had much, very much, spiritual understanding to gain before I could demonstrate the agelessness of man and the unfluctuating good that goes with it. But I was freed from my inhibition about having reached retirement age, understanding more clearly Mrs. Eddy's statement, ``Eternity is God's measurement of Soul-filled years.'' 4
1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 336. 2 John 6:63. 3 Matthew 20:15. 4 Science and Health, p. 599. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23