My husband and I had weathered a number of storms in our 10-year marriage. We had a close and cooperative relationship. So where in the world had all of this hate and anger come from? Where had the love gone so quickly?
I'd bought an old typewriter at a yard sale. For a number of years, I found clever places to show off my special find. It had graced the floor in front of the fireplace and, for a while, held dried flowers. One day, as I returned home, my husband was heading out the door with it. I was really surprised; I didn't think he'd ever noticed it. "Where are you going with that?" I questioned. "This old thing has bothered me for years," he announced. "I'm putting it in the trash, where it belongs."
I grabbed hold of the opposite side and argued that he had no right to throw it away. He firmly stated that this was his home also, and that he had every right to get rid of what offended him. There we stood in the doorway, both holding onto the typewriter - and to our self-righteousness. I had never felt such anger between us before. It seemed as though we hated each other. It's almost inconceivable now, but the idea of incompatibility and divorce began to loom loudly in my thought during that brief confrontation. When I told him, he agreed that maybe a divorce was in order. Lots of frustration and fear poured out. There had been nothing notable leading up to this moment: no angry words, no fights, and no friction. It just suddenly happened that we were enemies.
The suddenness of these feelings without apparent history made it easier for us to get a grip on what was going on and wake up. I have usually found that hate, anger, and opposing wills build up subtly and slowly, sneaking into thought almost unnoticed, until they appear as one mass of indissoluble incompatibility. Like clouds hiding sunshine, they dim the love we naturally feel for each other as children of one Father, who is Love itself.
It's comforting to realize, though, that our loving and loved natures can never be lost. All of our love and peace remain forever intact to be reclaimed and rediscovered in any situation. They are inherent in our spiritual, Godlike nature. We simply need to see what God is seeing. We need a clearer, more spiritual view. In the chapter on marriage in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Monitor's founder, wrote, "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul" (pg. 60). Finding our happiness in God reveals a happiness that is forever and isn't dependent upon another person.
As we stood in the doorway, it occurred to us to go into the living room and pray. We prayed silently together, and I found myself thinking about the good in our relationship. I reasoned that the good is the real and lasting part of our relationship because it is from God, who is the source of all good. Good is always beyond the touch of any evil.
Many warm, comforting, and healing thoughts came in a short time. I began to feel loved and at peace. Anger and hate melted away. My husband and I felt totally in love. We embraced, apologized, and forgot all about the old typewriter. We had both won! We found what we wanted - a renewed sense of love, safe in our oneness with God.
Over 20 years later, I can gratefully say that the unity and love we found in our prayers that day have remained clear and cherished. My husband and I haven't had another hateful disagreement since. Those prayers didn't make God love us more, but they opened our hearts and minds to see and feel what can never go away or be hidden from His children - the spiritual fact that God, Love, is here all of the time, embracing us and causing us to express and feel love for each other. I kept the typewriter for a few more years and finally threw it away. But I'll always be thankful for the lesson it taught me.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor