One immigrant's path to citizenship

A Christian Science perspective.

About 11 years ago, I married a wonderful American gentleman. But I sometimes struggled to face up to the fact that I had committed to a country and culture that felt completely foreign – and this was now my permanent home.

I had traveled to and lived in different parts of the world, valuing the richness it brought to my life. But to be in a situation in which there was no turning back to the familiar was frightening at times, even though I dearly loved my husband.

I saw that in order to feel a higher sense of home and harmony, I needed a spiritual sense of them. This involved uncovering and overcoming fear, pride, and several physical challenges and limitations; purifying character; and leaving what the Bible calls "the old for the new." I had to let go of a limited sense of identity and security.

I felt guided to yield to divine Love's unfolding plan for me. Although eligible for US citizenship, I had avoided it for two years. But as I grew spiritually, I began to see myself and others from a new, spiritual dimension. My heart softened and opened up to embrace the experience.

Human will and self-justification fell away, and I began the citizenship process. It was quick and simple. But on the day of the test, I felt teary-eyed and uneasy about giving up my Indian citizenship. Just then a friend walked by, and in her comforting way, she pointed out that I was a citizen of the world – that was how she thought of me. Her comment touched me with what I now understand as the healing Christ, so powerfully proved by Christ Jesus. I felt worthy as I recalled this statement by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy: "Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 227).

This liberty is mental emancipation from the unjust bondage of pain and sorrow. I reached for a copy of Science and Health, a book whose healing truths have helped me face many challenges. Opening it randomly, I read: "Like our nation, Christian Science has its Declaration of Independence. God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love" (p. 106). Gratitude washed over me as I realized the hand of God had pointed me to this line.

I felt humbled by the mental freedom this message evoked. To me, it was a "declaration" to uphold the spiritual freedom of all humanity – to see the innocence of God's sons and daughters – one nation under God. Personal limitations, opinions, likes, dislikes, borders, possessions, finances, and all that attempts to divide us seemed so unimportant and faded away. A weight lifted, a thought resurrected, a stone rolled away. With renewed clarity and hope, I boarded the local tram, passed the test, and a few months later, was sworn in as a US citizen.

The spiritual identity of every individual is the wealth of our world – a golden thread of Love that weaves us together in a universal family. Divine Love dissolves fear; transcends divisions of background, race, religion, and culture; provides a secure atmosphere of home within each heart; and unites us all in Her transforming grace.

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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.