A CHERISHED friend recently said in a casual conversation that she had learned, in her career in the foreign service of her country, never to say goodbye. She had often been reassigned, and the frequent separations from friends and co-workers had been emotionally painful.
After a few years, however, she discovered that she was always meeting old friends in her new posts. And so she had decided never to say goodbye to anyone when she or that person was moved to another station. She had simply been confident that they would meet again, and they usually did.
Her words moved me deeply, because they made me aware that over the years I had been healed of grief and anxiety for loved ones, both those in my present experience and those who had passed on. This fear for my loved ones had been with me since a tragedy in my childhood. The healing hadn't been instantaneous, but because of it my life has changed.
In my twenties I became a student of Christian Science, and I experienced many wonderful physical and other healings. I was especially grateful for a growing certainty that the universe was not one of chaos, chance, and violence but of divine law and Love.
Over the years since then, I have felt the sure presence of the Love that is, according to Scripture, God Himself. One incident occurred when my mother, who lived at a great distance, was dangerously ill. When I heard that news, I prayed and at once remembered a passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that was especially meaningful to me. In it the Discoverer of Christian Science first quotes Paul's statement in his letter to the Romans: ``Neither death, nor life, . . . nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God." She then writes in tenderly forceful terms: ``This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man--governed by God, his perf ect Principle--is sinless and eternal."
I saw that this had to be true, since God, the creator, is the only real power in His universe. God, Spirit, the All-in-all, embraced, cared for, and cherished my mother as well as me and all His children, and would do so eternally, whether or not we were physically together. The feeling of divine Love's presence was for me so strong that it was palpable. I knew Love was still there, even before I learned of my mother's recovery.
I have experienced this certainty of divine Love's presence many times since then, and with it an understanding of what my dear friend had described, that feeling that there is no need to say goodbye to a friend or loved one, whether we seem to face separation by physical distance or by death. I have come to understand that my loved ones and I, no matter how scattered we might seem, are actually where we have always been and always will be eternally: in God, in whom, we read in the Bible in the book of A cts, ``we live, and move, and have our being."
The qualities I love in members of my family and in my friends are of Spirit, of God, and they cannot be lost, absent, or separated from me. In God, eternal Life and Love, there is never any need to say goodbye. We cannot be outside of God's love because there is no other Life, no other existence.