One day an older woman I knew asked me to come visit her. She lived in a retirement home, in a large apartment loaded with beautiful works of art, plus lovely furniture and carpeting.
As we sat together she began by telling me how disturbing it was that housekeeping staff would rearrange her pictures, move furniture, get into her desk, and even steal items when she was not at home. For several minutes she went on about her deep concern regarding her apartment and valuables.
Then she stopped and said to me, “You’re not listening to me, are you?” I knew her well enough to be blunt and said, “No, I’m not.” When she asked why, I told her I was thinking about an inspiring phrase I had read recently during some Christian Science study.
Just a few days earlier, I had come across a phrase that really caught my attention: “the springtide of Soul.” These words appear in the following sentence: “In unctuous unison with nature, mortals are hoping and working, putting off outgrown, wornout, or soiled garments — the pleasures and pains of sensation and the sackcloth of waiting — for the springtide of Soul” (Mary Baker Eddy, “Christian Science versus Pantheism,” p. 1). With reference to the change of seasons, especially spring, Mary Baker Eddy portends to the progressive development of human character and to the nature of our real spiritual being. That simple phrase, “the springtide of Soul,” brought a sense of renewal and regeneration from the beliefs of mortal, material life and age.
When I told my friend about “the springtide of Soul,” she became very interested. For the next several minutes we explored what “springtide” means: refreshment, renewal, coming back to life, regeneration. We also talked about what Soul is: incorporeality, the spiritual nature of things, the immaterial essence of life. We realized to some degree that God, divine Life, is incorporeal and divine, which means that as expressions of this Life we’re free from age, time, and limitation. We’re always expressing spiritual renewal, restoration, liveliness, and timelessness.
As we talked, it also seemed to me that my friend’s expression and conversation were suddenly decades younger. She was interested and interesting. She was engaged and inquisitive. She was plumbing her own depth of thought to come up with inspiring spiritual ideas about the nature of God, man, and creation. We talked for quite a while on this subject.
Suddenly she stopped and said to me, “I’ve been wrong about the housekeeping staff, haven’t I?” As I looked around her apartment, everything was in perfect order. Artwork was carefully placed and lined up in a lovely way. Furniture was beautifully arranged and inviting. She added, “I think I was just confused and not thinking clearly. My home looks lovely, just as I have arranged it. I feel so much better about things.” Our visit ended on such a happy and grateful note.
When Christ Jesus was confronted by a Samaritan woman who wanted to drink water from a nearby well, he lifted her thought to a higher level than materiality. He said to her, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13,14). The inspiring spiritual ideas my friend and I talked about had lifted her thought higher, and in my additional contacts with her she continued to demonstrate that high level of freshness and liveliness.
That conversation took place decades ago. But because of the continuing vitality and newness of the spiritual ideas we talked about, I still feel today the freshness of those wonderful ideas we shared together, “springing up into everlasting life.”