Facing change without fear
A Christian Science perspective.
No matter how well prepared you may feel, it's difficult to be ready for the unexpected – a terrorist attack, falling economy, job loss, devastating storm, whatever. Through my study of Christian Science, however, I've learned that harmony is a law of God, no matter what. The more we gain a spiritual understanding of life, the more ready we are for the unexpected.
My husband and I are diplomats, moving every few years to a new country. After each move, we have to find new friends and a new sense of self-worth. After a year of settling in one country, I began to reflect on how wonderful our lives were. We had great jobs, great friends and co-workers, good schools for our children. The food, the culture, and the people were amazing. I looked forward to two more years there. Then, all of a sudden, we needed to leave the country in 48 hours because of a security threat on my husband's life.
When we landed back in Washington, D.C., I still wondered how this could have happened. Of course I was grateful that my husband was safe. But would I ever find another place so wonderful?
All my life I had relied on what I'd learned of God's guidance, through my study of Christian Science, in finding balance, stability, and happiness. In the past I'd been able to prepare myself before departing for each new country because we knew ahead of time how long we were going to stay. But this time I wasn't prepared. Life didn't seem fair.
My first step in finding peace was to be grateful for our safety. Within the 48 hours, we'd had time to prepare our belongings, say good-bye to our friends, and do what was needed in order to leave in a safe and orderly way.
Next, I made the effort not to long for the past. I kept trying to stay in touch with my friends whom I'd left. But they soon moved on with their lives, and I felt unloved and alone, even though I knew they still cared for me. Then I remembered that in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy said that if there were a time when you were without friends, divine Love would already fill the gap (see p. 266).
I soon began to feel that my best friend – God – was always with me. I realized that life didn't consist of only a job, friends, and a home; God alone was my Life and could not be taken from me. Looking for a more spiritual sense of home, I worked with ideas from the Bible, such as, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever" (Ps. 23:6). "The house of the Lord" consists of love and comfort. No one could take away my sense of that home.
The Bible records the experience of Lot's wife. When she didn't want to leave her home, she turned to look back and she became a pillar of salt (see Gen. 19:26). I realized that I needed to reject thoughts of "poor me" and to stop looking for happiness in the past. These lines from a hymn in the "Christian Science Hymnal" (No. 238) really helped me: "For all of good the past hath had/ Remains to make our own times glad" (John Greenleaf Whittier). I saw that the law of harmony was operating and that nothing could take my joy away, because joy is God-given. It cannot be turned into sorrow (see Science and Health, p. 304). As a result of this study, I began to watch my thoughts and to expect only goodness.
I got over feeling hurt, but each day was still a challenge. There were many unanswered questions about the future. These were stressful times, but I was so grateful to know our lives were secure in God's hands. It was God who was in charge. But I had to be patient. We didn't need to rush God. He had the perfect plan.
Jesus instructed, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). I had to realize that I was not a victim of terrorism or unforeseen events. In thinking about the kingdom of God being always present, I considered what the kingdom of God includes, as Science and Health states: "unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love." The sentence continues that these qualities "reign within us" (p. 248). I'd never thought about justice as part of the kingdom of God. Even when it seems that rules and regulations are in the way, God's will is done. I could let go of frustration. Jesus and his disciples went up against some unjust laws, but they didn't let them get in the way of their mission. God's will was done. At times when it seemed no one was helping us, I remembered God was our helper.
Eventually, we were posted in Uruguay. We'd been in this region before, and we were very happy to go back. I knew that we would be placed in a country that would be a blessing not only to us, but where we could be a blessing to others. After two years, there have been many mutual blessings.
Happiness is spiritual, and we can take that truth with us wherever we go, no matter what trials lie ahead. Our lives are in God's hands.