It wasn't until some hours after my wife had left the park that she realized she'd left her coin purse there - with her driver's license and credit cards inside.
She went back, only to discover that the bag, with the purse and everything else she had taken to the park, was gone. I called the credit card companies immediately to cancel our cards, but we still felt vulnerable. We knew we had to do more.
I was impelled to pray - to think more about our lives as spiritual. I've found that this approach has had a profound effect in many instances.
By striving to be more conscious of the original, spiritual condition - the order and perfection that God has established - I experience more of this divine order. It's a matter of recognizing the presence and control of the divine intelligence over all of life. Everything in my life and in the lives of those around me falls in place to reveal more of the goodness, honesty, and integrity that God establishes.
I prayed specifically to understand better the good identity that God has given everyone. It was only this record that could remain. I thought of myself as accepting the Bible's invitation to "come and see the works of God" (Ps. 66:5).
The next day at the park, a man approached my wife and kids. He had found the bag and recognized my wife from the picture on her license. Everything was returned to her just as she had left it. And nothing more came of the incident.
We were both relieved. But even more significant to us was having understood a little more how the good identity that God has given us is the only identity that each of us really has. And through whatever experiences, it is protected.
The identity we have with God, the divine Mind, cannot be truly hidden or altered. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, "The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 70).
I'm convinced that anyone can become more conscious of this fact - feel and experience the truth of it. And consequently, those around an individual who experiences it can also see this identity more. This means resolution to problems and restoration of what is ours, even if we've been wronged and the problem seems to be out of our hands. It can also mean actual protection from identity theft.
If we judge from physical appearances alone, we may feel as if there are many minds and lives competing with and confronting one another. But the one divine source is communicating with everyone and expressing itself through everyone. Deriving our identity from this same source, we all share in the same life.
With this perspective, we can become conscious of how the one source or Mind is directing everyone, causing all to work together. As a result, we experience the harmony that God has established for His creation - our freedom from theft or any kind of personal interference.
This is another statement from Science and Health that I've found helpful - and a bit arresting: "The world believes in many persons; but if God is personal, there is but one person, because there is but one God" (p. 517).
God is the only entity. He is the substance or basis for all identities, expressing Himself in infinite ways. And life, when appreciated from the standpoint of being one entity, precludes identity theft; realizing this fact more fully will reveal that in reality, there aren't multiple entities or persons to steal from one another.
Creating this awareness for ourselves thwarts jealous or deceptive competition, and literally safeguards us from identity theft.