Recently our family said goodbye to two of our beloved pets – a dog and a cat – on the same day. They had both been with us for over a decade and had brought many years of affection and delight. In the days immediately following their passing, I struggled mightily with grief and loss. They had been a constant, loving presence in our home for so long that it seemed normal and natural to miss them.
But as a lifelong student of Christian Science, I knew that there was more to these pets than their physical presence. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of this healing system, writes that Christian Science “reverses the false testimony of the physical senses, and by this reversal mortals arrive at the fundamental facts of being” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 120). Later on that page she states that this Science “shows it to be impossible for ought but Mind to testify truly or to exhibit the real status of man.”
I immediately knew that this statement about the “real status of man” also related to the status of our family pets as God’s creation, and that it was important to listen to what Mind, God, was saying about their true being. I understood that an all-knowing God holds all creation in the consciousness of love and in right relationship for all time. In this supreme and perpetually good consciousness there is no separation, no basis for lack or for missing anything that has been given to us.
The idea of continuity became an important anchor in my thought and a concept supported by the teaching, preaching, and healing works of Christ Jesus described in the Bible. On numerous occasions Jesus masterfully reversed the obvious appearances of disease and death. Three of the four Gospels relate a healing of a synagogue ruler’s daughter (see Matthew 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8). While everyone else in the house mourned her death, Jesus declared that the young girl was not dead but asleep. This statement contradicted the physical evidence so boldly that those present laughed at the idea. Undeterred by both the outward appearances of the girl and the mourning and general atmosphere in the house, Jesus went on to raise the young woman to life. He must have had a clear understanding of her inseparability from God, the basis of her continued life and activity.
In our own home I mentally strove to reverse any sense of loss or that something was missing with an affirmation of the continuity of our dear pets. Our other dog continues to contribute to the joy in our home, and we all feel held in loving relation to one another. We’ve had opportunities to witness this continuity, each time a helpful reminder of God’s presence and perpetual, enduring love.