"Things weren't this way," she said, "when we were still at school together."
It was a line that made my heart ache. A close friend from college was feeling very much alone. The year before, we'd been there for each other through thick and thin.
But now there were 300-some miles between us, and while I, the college grad, had found my niche in my new home and job, my friend wasn't faring so well back at school. She'd become increasingly isolated and miserable as the year progressed.
Things came to a head when my friend came to visit for a long weekend. She was moody and silent as we made our way to my apartment. What disturbed me most was the feeling that while the weekend would allow me to provide the love and friendliness she longed for, there seemed nothing I could do once she returned to school.
I felt helpless.
So, standing there on the subway, separated from my friend by the sea of rush-hour commuters, I did the only thing I believed could help: I began to pray.
What, I asked God, is my role in all of this? How can I help her feel loved? And then my biggest worry of all came tumbling out: What can I possibly do to help?
There was a moment of mental silence, and then I was surprised to hear words from a favorite prayer: " 'Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me ..." was the gentle response ("Manual of The Mother Church," pg. 41). There was an emphasis on the "me."
These lines, written by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy, were familiar. But they glowed with new promise on this wintry afternoon. "... be established in me," I thought again. "... in me."
I recognized that this prayer was articulating my role in the situation. Here was the first thing it said to me: that I could help. And here was the second: that no matter where I was, I could help by bearing witness to God's unchanging love for everyone, particularly my friend.
It's not insignificant that the line that petitions to see God's kingdom "come," or, as I like to think of it, "present," is followed by a prayer to personally experience the reality of God's governing goodness. In order to feel God's presence, I realized, in order to be so sure that there are no voids, no darkness, no lack, I needed to accept the truth of "Thy kingdom come" in my own thought.
I saw that replacing a false view of my friend as hopeless and lonely with a correct view of her as the forever-cared-for child of God was essential. Mrs. Eddy affirmed the beneficial effects of such an approach when she wrote, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pgs. 476-477).
Jesus must have been so conscious of the uninterruptible reality of Life, Truth, and Love that he simply couldn't be fooled by the problems he confronted day to day. And this consciousness of the immediacy of God's kingdom couldn't fail to bring healing to the people who needed it most.
Here was my opportunity to do the same. Accepting the power of Life, Truth, and Love, I felt my fear for my friend's future happiness and satisfaction ebb. Instead, my awareness of God's love for her left me with a certainty that all was well.
And it was. My friend's moodiness was replaced by good cheer for the rest of the weekend. But better yet, within a few weeks of returning to school, she stumbled upon a new and wonderful friendship. She was no longer alone.
Rather than feel helpless when situations seem out of reach, we can rest in the knowledge that a change in our own consciousness is what's necessary. This is God's promise to each of us: that His kingdom is established, firm, secure. And seeing the reality of this sublime fact allows us to feel empowered instead of powerless, sure of the healing presence of Love for everyone, always.