`I REALIZE now my life has been wasted,'' a friend tearfully told me. A sudden illness had brought him face to face with mortality, and looking back over his life, he realized he'd barely lived. Although he didn't realize it, he was in a profound state of grief -- grief over the life he'd never lived, the life that might have been. He grieved that he'd spent his whole life accumulating money, instead of pursuing a genuine talent he had in art. He grieved over never having had children and over a marriage that was mostly an armed truce. He grieved over a life that had few friends and fewer joys. And now, facing the twilight of his life, he despaired.
I took my friend's hand and tried to comfort him. Maybe this act of reaching out did more than anything I said that day. He brightened a bit and thanked me for listening. He said he would endure, somehow.
Later, when I was thinking about my friend, my heart ached for him. Actually it ached for all of us -- for all of us in our dark moments of loneliness and despair. So many people live desperate lives, without any real light or hope. What I wanted to tell my friend, but didn't feel he was ready to hear at the time, was that life doesn't have to be a dark path leading to obliteration. Life can be, is, something so much more, if we only know it.
What I wanted to tell him about was spiritual life. I don't mean the rarely attained life of a religious ascetic or saint. Nor do I mean the trendy ``pop spirituality'' that is the latest fad. I mean a profound, deeply satisfying spiritual life that ordinary men and women can discover and experience, here and now.
The key to finding this truly fulfilling, meaningful life is discovering something about God and about our relationship to Him, which we now may have only the faintest conception of. The fact is, whether we've recognized it or not, God has always been present in our lives, the primal source of any real good. So if we wish to increase this good and establish its permanence in our life, we have to learn more about our relationship to Him and find out who we really are.
This is what mankind's great friend, Christ Jesus, sought to show us. He saw man's spiritual potential, saw man not as a miserable, sinning race of mortals but as the children of God. He called God ``our Father,'' an infinitely tender and good God, who loves each one of us as the spiritual image of His being. We may recognize this sonship only faintly now, but it's nonetheless ours to claim and prove as the reality.
There's a beautiful Bible passage that describes this. It says: ``Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.... Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.''1
Whether we're eight or eighty, whether our life has been humanly successful or a disaster, the demonstrable fact stands: ``now are we the sons of God.'' The problem is, of course, that ``it doth not yet appear what we shall be.'' We have now only a faint glimpse of the reality and reflected glory of God's image and likeness, the real man, who is wholly spiritual and undying. But to start life anew, we have to start somewhere. And this acceptance of Christ, of our spiritual sonship and relationship to God, is the point of departure for renewing and redeeming our life.
The woman who founded the newspaper you're reading saw deeply into this truth. She discovered what she saw as the Science -- and its divine Principle -- which lay behind Jesus' healings and sayings. Her name was Mary Baker Eddy, and she founded Christian Science on the same basis of healing that Christ Jesus taught -- on the power of God, Spirit. She writes: ``The admission to one's self that man is God's own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea. This conviction shuts the door on death, and opens it wide towards immortality. The understanding and recognition of Spirit must finally come, and we may as well improve our time in solving the mysteries of being through an apprehension of divine Principle. At present we know not what man is, but we certainly shall know this when man reflects God.''2
In an article of this length, one can barely introduce this infinite subject. To find out more about these life-transforming ideas, one should investigate Mrs. Eddy's major work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Thousands who have done so, for over a century now, have found healing of every sort of disease and human woe.
Do you feel that your life is basically over or that it has been a waste so far? Today a new life can begin for anyone willing to discover who he or she really is. What have you got to lose but the sorrow and misery that material life gives? And what have you got to gain but the joy and goodness that are rightfully yours as a child of God?
1I John 3:1, 2. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 90.
BIBLE VERSE God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; ...for the former things are passed away. ...Behold, I make all things new. Revelation 21:4, 5