Oh, deer

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Recently I went on what you might call a "serendipitous spiritual thought-journey."

It started when I saw a family of deer from the kitchen window. It's unusual for deer to venture onto the front lawns around here. But there they were, out in the open, unafraid, the doe keeping her eyes peeled for any potential danger as her two babies grazed.

I found myself exclaiming at the sight of the little fawns, white-tailed and speckled, in the protective shadow of their vigilant mom.

"Wow, look at them!" I said to my mom. "They're so beautiful. Such pure innocence."

From that point on, for several days, I was inspired to think about two things that may sound unrelated - innocence and intelligence.

I suddenly realized that God was exclaiming the same way over me! That God was seeing me (and everyone else) the same way I was seeing those deer - as beautiful, as the very essence of unequivocal innocence. I'd seen, in a strike of mental "lightening," the same observation that the book of Job has made for thousands of years: "I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me" (33:9).

The Bible shows that God sees us the way He made us in the first place: perfect, awesome, innocent. In His image and likeness. Purely spiritual. And we have a right to see ourselves the same way as God sees us - to feel the cleansing power of God, which is able to wash away sadness and materialism. This power is able to proclaim (to our consciousness) that we have an innate innocence at every moment. We have the right to feel released from the weight of guilt and shame - of any negative self-image.

That's exactly what I felt as I watched those deer. I felt the peace and wholeness that acknowledging innate spiritual innocence naturally brings.

Jump ahead to two nights later: I was driving along a familiar but hazardous stretch of dark country road. It was thick with deer grazing along the embankment, their eyes like fireflies, suddenly and syncopatedly glinting in the headlights.

As usual at a time like this, I prayed. This time I prayed by remembering those deer's innocence. And mine. I realized that neither the deer nor I could possibly lose our innocence, which is from God, and suddenly become harmful. God, who is divine Love, would never let that happen. And surely God was the only presence and power right there with us. I felt that we were all safe.

I thought about intelligence. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, gives seven synonyms for God. One of them that describes an all-powerful divine intelligence is Mind (the others are Principle, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love). It also says God can be called "all substance" and "intelligence."

I reasoned that if God is the one intelligence, then intelligence is the only power, the only cause. "There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause ..." (Science and Health, pg. 207). I felt confident that the divine Mind was impelling the deer's decisions and movements, no less than my own. Therefore, the only activity that could possibly result must be in sync with this Mind.

A dear friend (no pun intended) once reassured me that "there is no collision of God's ideas." That's another way of saying that divine intelligence is governing all activity.

Passing safely through the deer zone and nearing home, I continued to think about the idea of God as intelligence. It took the form of a prayer that I later wrote down:

"Intelligence, God, the only presence and power in the universe, is actively shaping my life. Giving it form and meaning. Purpose and direction. Coherence and clarity. God, the intelligent Principle of existence, Love, is bringing to light in my life the infinite spectrum of spiritual reality, including excellence, perfection, originality, achievement, wisdom, beauty, happiness, unselfishness, contentment, security, health, harmlessness, usefulness ... and innocence."

Amazing what deer can teach you.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.