WHEN we're traveling, we look for landmarks to tell us if we're going in the right direction. Similarly landmark experiences can change the direction and patterns of our lives, can turn us to new thoughts and new activities.
But have you ever considered that the landmarks in our lives are either true or false depending on whether they help us progress or hold us back? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear,--this disposition helps to precipitate the u ltimate harmony.
Thinking about this, I realized how false landmarks can trap us. Instead of correcting a mistake, we continue to suffer over it, even allowing it to limit our future. On the other hand, a true landmark is a time of rejoicing. It strengthens us to progress more confidently. And when we look back on these events, we see God's hand in them. These true landmarks are from God, the Giver of all good, who has created man to reflect Him.
When we are willing to turn to God with the childlike trust Mrs. Eddy speaks of, we are able to leave those false landmarks behind, to banish them as unreal. We can progress beyond them and never look back! I learned recently that a true landmark experience automatically banishes a false one.
Several times over the years things I valued had been lost or stolen. But nothing had ever been found or restored to me. I had accepted the losses as a false landmark--that time in the department store, that time in the concert hall, that time on the bus.
Recently my purse was stolen. Though it contained only a little cash, there were treasured things in the purse. Snapshots, needed books, keys. Deeply troubled, I called a friend who is a Christian Scientist to pray for me. She showed me that I needed to realize, once and for all, that God made man--made me--whole and complete, and that, in Spirit, not one iota of good could ever be taken from me. She told me to expect restoration!
As I prayed, I remembered Christ Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth. Instead, he urges, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. So I prayed to acknowledge my spiritual selfhood, which could never be robbed of any God-bestowed joy. Suddenly I felt so free! And I did expect restoration.
A day or so later I remembered that my postman had told me that postal carriers often found purses along their routes and turned them in to the post office lost and found. I called the main post office to ask if a brown handbag had been found. Yes, one had been turned in. Everything I described was there! I walked over and reclaimed my bag. That false landmark--the belief in loss--was left behind for the joyful realization that all my spiritual good is forever intact.
I continue to rejoice in this wonderful spiritual truth about God and man. Looking at my good brown bag, I see a wonderful symbol not only of a restoration but of Truth's power to banish a false landmark I so needed to be rid of. And I've gained a new dimension in understanding the twenty-third Psalm, especially the lines that assure us "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. . . . He restoreth my soul.
That's why this whole episode has been a true landmark experience for me!