WHOOSH! I had done it again! There I was stretched out, clinging desperately to the rear of the stuck car with my gloved hands, supported precariously a few inches above the ice by the toes of my boots.
Like many people this past winter, I had a lot of practice at helping to push cars out of icy driveways. It didn't take many experiences of having my feet go out from under me for me to realize that I was of little use to anyone unless I myself was on a solid footing. Having a solid footing is essential in other areas of our lives, too, whether we are reaching out to help others or striving to overcome our own problems. The truths Christ Jesus taught and proved provide a solid footing that anyone can rely on.
I've seen this many times in my life. Not long ago, for example, I had been struggling with a very painful tension and stiffness in my neck and shoulders. I asked a friend, who is a Christian Scientist, as I am, to pray for me. As I prayed myself, my thoughts kept returning to an unresolved conflict with someone I spent a lot of time with. I knew that in order to correct the situation I needed to be more loving. But now I began to realize that simply ignoring the conflict was not being loving.
It was about this time that I was helping to push someone's car from the snow. After almost landing flat on my face, I saw a parallel with what I was trying to do in my prayer. I saw that even as I needed a firm footing from which to push the car, I needed a solid foundation-a spiritual foundation-from which to love. When I mentioned this insight to the friend who was praying for me, he pointed out that God is the source of all love. So we can only be truly loving as we know what God knows of each of His children and love that. I began to pray to reflect God's love. I felt more secure, on firmer ground, because I was on the solid ground of spiritual reality. I began to see that all we can ever do is express God's love.
God is the only power and creator, so we cannot be responsible for creating love ourselves. When Jesus answered his accusers "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30), it was at once a statement both of humility, and, thereby, of absolute power because it identified God as the source of all Jesus did. If we believe that we are separate from God and must struggle against the odds to be more Godlike, more loving, we are stuck. Once we are willing to recognize, however, that all that we do and are has its source in God, we realize that we actually don't have a choice about whether to be loving or not. To the extent that our efforts to love follow from our understanding of what God is doing, our love becomes unconditional and universal. As we stand on this spiritual base, we have the solid footing we need.
At the same time, God does not love a sinning mortal, and neither must we. Jesus was not asking the impossible when he told his followers to love their enemies. What we are being asked to love is God's pure, spiritual child, the only real identity of anyone. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, points out: "In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry" (p. 63). To be sure that our love has its source in God, we should check that we are consciously seeing man's wholly spiritual nature, which is totally lovable, containing nothing unlike God, good. Then nothing can knock us over!
Praying this way gave me the spiritual perspective I needed about the conflict I'd been experiencing. And I saw that it was more important to me to demonstrate my inherent ability to see this individual (and myself) spiritually than it was to be healed of the physical pain. I was on a solid footing. Within a couple of days nearly all the symptoms had disappeared, and I felt a wonderful freedom to be more loving. I was soon totally healed, and there has been no recurrence. When we plant ourselves firmly on Truth, on the spiritual fact that God is the source of all being and doing, our efforts are rewarded.