"Your sister wants to see you." My high school tech teacher pointed toward the classroom door. I met my younger sister, Kathy, in the hall. She was trembling with fear.
"I just came from P.E.," she said. "Ms. M. saw my leg and said that I have blood poisoning and that I'd better do something about it right away."
Several days before, a friend had given Kathy a motorcycle ride. As she climbed on behind him, one of her bare legs had touched the hot exhaust pipe. The burn had turned into a condition that alarmed the P.E. teacher. She knew our family were Christian Scientists and relied on spiritual healing. She respected that decision.
Right away, I assured Kathy she didn't need to be afraid. We'd had so many healings through prayer in our family. God could heal this, too. We sat down and talked about what was wrong with this picture. It didn't match up with what the first chapter of the Bible tells us: "So God created man in his own image... and God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:27, 31). A diseased condition, being no part of a very good God, could not be a part of His very good creation, either.
My sister stopped trembling and calmed down. My mother came quickly to pick her up and take her home. During the next day or two, my mother prayed with Kathy, and they called a Christian Science practitioner for help. The practitioner talked a lot about divine Love. She helped Kathy see how much God loved her and how important it was to fill her thoughts with love all the time. As Kathy began to do this, she saw that she had an opportunity for healing not only her leg, but a problem at school as well.
Kathy had not been getting along with her P.E. teacher, Ms. M. At one point, it got so bad the teacher had asked for a conference with our parents. It hadn't helped much.
The teacher was also Kathy's field hockey coach, and Kathy felt Ms. M. was treating her unfairly - making her spend a lot more time on the bench than the other players. Kathy had been resenting - even hating - her coach, and now she realized that attitude was like poison. She told the practitioner a little bit about this, and took to heart the practitioner's emphasis on Love as the healing power.
There was a soccer game at school that afternoon, and Kathy went to it with her best friend, Starr. She told Starr about how she was really working on loving Mrs. M. instead of thinking hateful thoughts about her. Starr thought that was great.
That night, before going to sleep, Kathy read about the struggle that Jesus had in the garden of Gethsemane the night before he was to be crucified. His struggle was so intense he asked his disciples to pray with him. Instead, they fell asleep. The article Kathy read included Mary Baker Eddy's definition of "Gethsemane" in the glossary of her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." It starts, "Patient woe; the human yielding to the divine." But here's the part that really struck Kathy: "love meeting no response, but still remaining love" (page 586).
The feelings of hate evaporated. Kathy turned everything over to God and had a great feeling of peace. She told me about it later. It was a feeling of surrender to God, she said.
That night she had a good, peaceful sleep. When she woke up, she couldn't believe it. There wasn't a trace of the problem on her leg. She couldn't wait to show Starr.
Starr thought that healing was great, and she wasn't the only one. Soon there was a field hockey game. Ms. M. let Kathy play a lot. As Kathy chased the ball down the field, Starr sat on the bench and overheard Ms. M. say something to another teacher.
"Look at her," Ms. M. said, referring to Kathy's healing. "Isn't that beautiful? Wow." That was the best part of the healing - Kathy and Ms. M. got along much better after that.
When something goes wrong with our bodies, it might seem as if the problem is physical. But there's always some thought that needs healing. It's not that we are to blame for these unhealthy thoughts. They didn't come from us and aren't really part of us. In a garden, the soil isn't to blame because a weed seed blew into it. But the weeds need to be pulled up in order for the garden to bring forth something beautiful. Knowing that we're actually God's very good likeness brings to the surface of thought whatever is unlike good. Then Love can gently remove it and heal two things at once.