For a number of years I worked with a fine group on a worthy project. Then, when one member of the group left, his replacement appeared to be a total mismatch. As a result, the atmosphere became tense, and although our project continued to go forward, every step seemed labored and difficult. This went on for about six months.
During a spring recess from the work, I was thinking the situation over while doing some gardening. I was actually turning over new earth when it occurred to me that I could do the same with the work situation. Instead of just going over the same ground – namely, what this individual lacked and what was needed – I realized that what was truly needed was a complete and radical change in my thinking.
I resolved to pray during this break to see and understand more of God's spiritual concept of His work and of His creation. I had to stop hoping that this individual would change or be replaced. I began to change my own concept. I didn't need to wait until we met again to see if the individual had changed.
Each day I prayed for the humility to grasp God's view of this child of His. I began to appreciate her poise under fire, her understanding of the project, and as I started with these, the list of things to appreciate grew. Instead of seeing what she wasn't, I began to see, from a much better vantage point – a spiritual one – what she was.
I also prayed to see each member of the group as inclusive, tender, and loving, simply because each was the image of God, who is perfect Love. And I included myself as able to receive fresh views from God, as well as able to give up false impressions, self-righteousness, and condemnation. This prayer made me so happy that I completely let go of hoping to see an improvement when I returned to work. The improvement was already apparent, and it was in me!
Christianity teaches that one can't authentically worship God while despising another. In Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he stated, "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift" (Matt. 5:23, 24).
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote of Jesus, "First in the list of Christian duties, he taught his followers the healing power of Truth and Love" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 31).
Naturally, as I dropped the thoughts that were unloving, those that made me feel distant from God, I felt nearer to divine Love and more like my true self. A huge weight lifted from me, and when I returned to work, it was clear that everyone felt a radical shift in the atmosphere. Genuine love pervaded the workplace, and remained.
What a lesson this was. Love is constant, ever present, always there according to our need.
O Life that maketh all things new,
The blooming earth, the thoughts of men;
Our pilgrim feet, wet with Thy dew,
In gladness hither turn again.
From hand to hand the greeting flows,
From eye to eye the signals run,
From heart to heart the bright hope glows,
The seekers of the Light are one:
One in the freedom of the truth,
One in the joy of paths untrod,
One in the heart's perennial youth,
One in the larger thought of God....
Samuel Longfellow, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 218