My neighbor told me recently how he'd lost an antique collection. At the time, he said, he felt like his heart had been taken from him.
But he explained that he was "rebuilding" - this time working on a collection of restored cars.
"What if he loses that collection?" was my immediate thought.
I sympathized with my neighbor. I remember the time that I lost my Jeep. It had been the one possession that was really important to me. When I learned that my demolished Jeep could not be salvaged, it really made me think. I longed for something dependable. For a joy, a contentment, that could never be taken away.
Later that evening, I thought a lot about a statement by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper. She asks, "Who that has felt the loss of human peace has not gained stronger desires for spiritual joy?" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 265).
Loss of peace and contentment is often followed by a keener feeling that things shouldn't be that way. "It's not fair! It's not right that I have such a loss." It's at this point that we're faced with the decision of what to do with the feelings of emptiness or despair.
Jesus said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal" (Matt. 6:19, 20).
This instruction isn't a heartless command. It's really evidence of God's great love for us, a love that Jesus perceived so naturally and expressed to everyone. Jesus wanted to save people from heartache. He taught that understanding our permanent connection with God would provide more complete contentment in human lives, today and tomorrow.
Finding spiritual treasure prevents us from dreading loss; it enables us to see that our real happiness is actually independent of changing human circumstances or perishable material possessions.
Actually, the true nature of all men and women is spiritual, instead of merely material. As the image and likeness of God, divine Spirit, we naturally include the permanent, spiritual qualities of peace, harmony, and joy. Prayer provides access to a joy we can rely on, by taking our focus off a given material object and showing God to be the source of good, even of the good qualities an object represents. When we're sure of our access to God, we have to feel the presence of good in our lives and discover more ways to experience it.
Prayer brings a change in thought. This, in turn, brings a very real, positive, outward change to every aspect of human life. It improves health, home, job, relationships, and all their related activities. With your thought focused on God, appreciating the good, enduring, spiritual qualities in something becomes the source of satisfaction. I'm finding that the fun I had with my Jeep can show up in new ways all the time.
Each day - today! - God is providing ways for you to feel a joy that is not vulnerable. God is true Soul, the source of all the good qualities we perceive in a person or a place or a thing. Because Soul is infinite, it never runs out of ways to satisfy the heart.
This spiritual approach can even repair the heartache following the loss of loved ones. I found this out after my grandparents passed away. I discovered that the qualities of God that they expressed to me - and the joys that I felt when I was with them - were still with me because God was their source. Furthermore, I realized that my grandparents will always be the likeness of divine Life, as we all are - real and living because God is forever real and living.
Joy and satisfaction are always available to people who persistently seek the understanding of spiritual life that God gives. We don't have to live with heartache.
For where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society