At this time of year, when Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, thoughts of love and romance are prevalent. This can be a good thing if one is in love, but what if one is alone and longing for companionship?
Years ago I remember sitting alone on Valentine’s Day, feeling depressed and lonely. I had just broken up with a boyfriend. All my friends were married, and I wondered what was wrong with me. I’d had some wonderful relationships, but not the lifelong partnership I longed for.
I sat on my couch and cried. Finally I turned to God in prayer. I had found prayer very helpful when facing other challenges in my life. “What is love?” I asked. The answer that came to me was that God is Love (see I John 4:8). Not just that He is a loving God, but that He is Love – the source of all love.
I had learned in Christian Science that we all have an unbroken relationship to God, being made in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). So I reasoned that I could not help but be loved. Mary Baker Eddy writes in “No and Yes”: “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection” (p. 39). I realized that feeling loved is in knowing our completeness as God’s creation, and in giving unselfishly. Love comes to us in many forms, but it all comes from God.
As I continued praying to understand more of God as Love, the longing left me, and I felt truly complete and happy. I began focusing not on marriage, but on how I could give. I was no longer looking for someone to make me feel complete. I simply prayed for God to show me how to love more. That became my daily prayer.
Several months later my parents, with whom I had not traveled in years, asked me to go on an ocean cruise with them. I went, and it was fun being with them. One night my dad came back from a shore excursion marlin fishing. He told me there was a man on the boat who had missed his family’s early seating for dinner, and since we had a later seating and an empty place at our table, Dad had invited him to join us.
Then there was a power failure on the ship, so we ate by candlelight. Afterward, we all went out on the deck. As this man and I talked, we found that we were reading the same book. My parents left at some point, but my new friend and I kept talking. We spent the night out on the deck, talking and looking at the beautiful moonlight.
At the end of the cruise a day or two later, he kissed me goodbye, and I knew I loved him. But I could hardly believe what had happened. Other than on TV, how often do people meet that special someone on a cruise ship?
We lived only fifty miles apart, so we were able to continue seeing each other, and our relationship was very comfortable. When my friend proposed marriage to me, it was so clear that this was right for us, and I accepted. And, yes, we did live happily ever after. Our marriage blessed us abundantly and allowed both of us to develop in wonderfully satisfying ways. It broadened our sense of love and family and promoted our spiritual growth. Nevertheless, over our thirty years of marriage, it was always clear to us that our sense of completeness came from our relationship to God – a relationship every one of us has.
Mrs. Eddy writes in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds” (p. 1). God did indeed fulfill my Valentine wish, but He molded my desires first, leading me to a deeper understanding of our spiritual completeness as the image of Him, infinite Love. My cup, and my heart, runneth over (see Psalms 23:5)!
This article was adapted from a Christian Science Sentinel article published on the Web on Feb. 9.