A Christian Science perspective.

Courtesy of Ellen White
Viewing this photo of Fightingtown Creek in Cherry Log, Ga., the author writes, "I could almost hear a voice in the bubbling murmur that the creek was sharing ... a voice telling me that life flows on, over rocks and obstacles ... gently singing its sweet song of life and harmony."

Recently I read a striking quotation from Edith Sitwell, an English poet born in 1887. She said, “I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty... But I am too busy thinking about myself.”

I’m not sure if she was serious or if this was just a clever comment. But it did prod me to think about self, and its children: selfishness, self-justification, self-love, self-condemnation, self-centeredness, and on and on. How vulnerable we can become, that old love of self blocking out the concerns of others and the good we could be doing. Like blinders on an old plow horse, selfishness can limit us to a constant focus on our own lives, so important to us, granted, but still just a part of an endless universe of divine Mind.

My favorite author, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote a wonderful description of a worthy life goal, love and affection free from self: “As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door; the little feet tripping along the sidewalk; the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 250).

I recently saw a picture that a friend had shared on her Facebook page, a picture of a gentle creek, flowing naturally and calmly through her property. 

I could almost hear a voice in the bubbling murmur that the creek was sharing ... a voice telling me that life flows on, over rocks and obstacles.... And wends its way along its course without fear, or rancor, or strife ... gently singing its sweet song of life and harmony, effortlessly carrying along a fallen leaf on its surface, nurturing the little fish swimming in its comforting boundaries, sharing its beauty generously, selflessly ... with all.

The thought of the constant, effortless flow of the stream, unmindful of itself, reminded me of this Hindu saying:

Nothing in the nature lives for itself
Rivers don’t drink their own water
Trees don’t eat their own fruit
Sun doesn’t give heat for itself
Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves
Living for others is the rule of nature

Important as each one of us is, as precious as we are to our Father, the Creator, that infinite source of love and intelligence, our own lives are made meaningful by loving and caring for others.

Adapted from the author’s blog.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.