MY father's large family relished discussion. They took strong stands and didn't back down. And quite diverse views were represented at Sunday dinners at my grandparents' farm! As I was growing up, I was sure that I didn't ``take after'' this side of the family. I loved quiet, and I dreaded heated discussion.
There came a time however, when I had to learn that there was one kind of argument I had better not flee. One morning I went outside before daylight to look for our large and loving Weimaraner dog. She came running out of the darkness to find me and we collided. I fell back across a low brick wall.
I was alone, having just seen my husband off on his daily thirty-mile drive to work. I managed to crawl back into the house and telephone a friend who was also a Christian Scientist. She readily agreed to pray for me. The confidence with which she spoke of God's love and care for me did comfort and encourage me, but the pain didn't immediately end.
I had been a student of Christian Science for several years, and I knew my friend was right when she insisted that my real, God-created being was spiritual and perfect, not material, and that I couldn't be injured. I had had many physical healings. Several of these had happened after I had prayed to understand better what the Bible means when it tells us that God created man in His own image. I continued to pray and, when I was most frightened, a thought startled me as much as if I had heard it spoken aloud: ``Pain is only the argument of error.''
The memory of those childhood Sunday dinners came flooding back. The idea of pain ``arguing,'' of it being an adversary that had only vehemence and thunderous noise to get my attention, was very meaningful to me. I could see that pain was doing all it could to convince me that I was, after all, vulnerable to injury. But I knew that neither pain nor injury was God-created--so I didn't have to believe, or listen to, their arguments.
There was no way I could run to escape pain's argument. But I didn't have to! And I didn't have to argue back by making loud, positive assertions. I could win this argument by quiet, steadfast resistance, standing my ground, and refusing to accept a lie. I couldn't run from error's intimidating ``voice'' of pain, but I could confront it.
I recalled Mary Baker Eddy's call to action in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. There the Discoverer of Christian Science urges, ``Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.'' She goes on to assure us, ``God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man'' (p. 393).
This power was mine, and belonged to me and to all the children of God, because we are created by God and reflect only the qualities of our Father's divine, pure being. These qualities are painless and indestructible.
I moved without pain. As I got to my feet, I thought of the healing in the Bible of the man lame from birth. The book of Acts records: ``Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk'' (3:6).
To this day, I poignantly feel the lame man's joy; not mere casual gratitude but thankfulness expressing itself as running, leaping, and praising God. I feel as if I were beside him, taking great free steps, and feeling the sweet sun and wind on my face, as well as glad tears.