My 5-year-old had harbored a fear of lightning ever since he began reading.
We would visit the beach, only to find him lagging behind to read the warning signs about lightning. They were effective; he began relating to me how to avoid the scary results pictured on the posters. He also became intensely anxious whenever there was any sign of an oncoming storm.
Recent weather events - from last December's tsunami to hurricane Katrina to the typhoon Nabi in Japan - give me a lot to think about as a mom.
As I listen to news reports, I find myself searching deeply about how to talk with my child about these events. I am conscious of not wanting the terror, devastation, and hopelessness that accompany the reports to make him afraid.
One day while driving, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a whirlwind lightning storm. All around us, bolts crashed down amidst powerful claps of thunder. I was conscious of my son's acute attention to the storm.
Earlier I had looked up what Mary Baker Eddy wrote about lightning and came across these statements: "In one sense God is identical with nature, but this nature is spiritual and is not expressed in matter," and "According to human belief, the lightning is fierce and the electric current swift, yet in Christian Science the flight of one and the blow of the other will become harmless. The more destructive matter becomes, the more its nothingness will appear, until matter reaches its mortal zenith in illusion and forever disappears" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pp. 119, 97).
The idea that the more destructive the act appears, the more it is lessening, felt like a jolt. Yet, if there is a spiritual reality that can be perceived only through the spiritual senses of intuition, hope, and faith, then, to this concept, the destructive elements of matter are simply like the mist that clears up when the sun warms it. In the midst of the valley, it's impossible to see the way out of the fog. It's only as we go up higher that we can see how the sun melts the mist, like finding the peace and calm above the lightning storm.
Absorbed in these thoughts in the car, I suddenly heard a voice from the back say, "Mommy! You know what? I'm not afraid of lightning anymore!" I looked up, and my son was smiling and totally at peace. Since then, he's been free from anxiety during storms.
How often as parents we find ourselves needing to help our kids grow without fear, yet we don't always know how best to begin. As a parent, I find that confiding in God and searching for healing naturally carries over to help my child's situations.
Praying with a conviction that spiritual reality is a tangible source of comfort in any situation, I am able to see through the mist of parental confusion and feelings of burden to the clear understanding of how I am being parented by the same divine source of Love as my child.
This tempers the striving to always know the answer for our kids by assuring us that there is an infinite wisdom that comes directly to them. And this comforts me - knowing this divine intelligence is forever present with all children, wherever they are.
Thou shalt not be afraid
for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow
that flieth by day.
Nor for the pestilence
that walketh in darkness;
nor for the destruction
that wasteth at noonday.
Psalms 91:5, 6