When we were offered a country house on a vast strip of land between Provence and the Côte d'Azur, in which to spend our summer holidays this year, we didn't hesitate one second. A few weeks later we packed our car, filling it with all the ingredients for two happy, sunny weeks.
From our home in Germany, the trip took many hours, but they were happy hours. Each member of our family took turns reading to one another.
When we finally arrived, the huge iron gate swung open majestically. We drove up the stony country road skirted by plane and pine trees, past the large garden surrounded by a sturdy medieval wall, to the house with its tile roof, a shimmering brick red.
We settled in for a two-week stay, and if there is such a thing as living "the good life," this was it.
Right away I fell in love with a chapel on the grounds, built around AD 1100 by Carthusian monks. It got me to thinking about all that it took to build such a structure in those days. The degree of dedication and persistence moved me.
As I thought of the leisurely days ahead, I realized that the monks' dedication and sacrifice for the sake of worship involved a higher level of living the good life. Yes, it was a good life, not relaxing like our summer days, but meaningful.
The truly good life depends on meaning, and it has divine goodness at its core.
One morning when I woke up, the first thought that came to me was this: There is only the law of God. Nothing else matters. I was wide awake immediately, and I let this idea expand and settle.
To me it meant that God, as the Supreme Ruler of the universe, an infinite entity, the eternal being and supreme Creator, is all that matters, and that only goodness is important. It meant that I had a right to expect only good in my life.
It's easy to ponder the goodness of God in such friendly surroundings, but the goodness of God is essential to living the truly good life. The thought I'd had that morning - that nothing other than the law of God matters - carried me throughout the day and beyond. I thought about the Bible characters that testify to the reality and presence of this law: Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Joseph, David, Ruth, Hezekiah, Job. And didn't Christ Jesus with his healing work, his immortal sayings, everything he did and thought and lived, testify to the unlimited applicability of this law? That only good was law and that nothing else really mattered?
St. Paul, having survived with divine help a terrible sea storm and a poisonous snakebite, continued his peaceful work for all. You can see the law of good prevailing, helping, sustaining, and healing.
I remembered a healing my husband had had during another visit to southern France, when he, too, proved that the law of good prevails. He had severely cut his hand, and, right from the start, we prayed and relied on the goodness of God for healing. A poem by Mary Baker Eddy was our beacon, our guide, as we yearned to see this law of good in action. It speaks of the ultimate rule of love. The third verse was especially meaningful:
Aye, darkling sense, arise, go hence!
Our God is good.
False fears are foes - truth tatters those,
("Poems," page 79)
This idea sustained my husband and helped me deal with my fears. It encouraged us to understand that God is indeed good. The bleeding stopped, and the pain stopped the very same night. A few days later, I saw my husband jumping through the huge waves of the sea, with the bandage unwinding. He'd had a complete healing.
We'll always remember this for its glory and for the goodness it showed us. We both caught a glimpse that only the law of good matters - and that there is no other law.
My husband's healing also taught us about the good life. An essential part of that summer years ago was the insight we gained into the goodness of God. And it is the same truth that makes me so happy today.