Planning to travel? Plan to bless.

A Christian Science perspective: On discerning and acting on opportunities to express God-derived love, wherever we may be.

At this time of year, many people are planning to travel. One thing is sure – wherever we’re going and whatever we’re going to be doing, we can also plan to bless.

Christ Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14, New King James Version). The Bible tells us that God is Love (see I John 4:16), and that we are made in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26, 27). This means that it is our nature to love, and we show our true nature as we express qualities derived from divine Love: courtesy, patience, strength, compassion, understanding, respect, generosity, thoughtfulness. The list goes on and on.

I find it useful to remind myself often that because our true identity is the spiritual reflection of God, Love, we are here to bless, to express God’s love. So we each have something to give and can nurture a love for helping others. Every day is filled with opportunities to bless if we are looking, even praying, for them.

I can think of very few places we could go where the people we meet wouldn’t appreciate a light heart, a kind word, or a helpful gesture, or even ask for healing prayer. And when our thoughts are engaged with looking for and acting on some of these opportunities to bless, it tends to make our own path lighter, too.

A perfect prayer along these lines is found in a verse of one of the better-known poems by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, discoverer of Christian Science, and also a prolific author and poet:

My prayer, some daily good to do
To Thine, for Thee;
An offering pure of Love, whereto
God leadeth me.
(Mary Baker Eddy, “Poems,” p. 13)

Opportunities to bless can be small and simple, but they often mean a great deal to people. On a plane a year or so ago, I sat next to a woman who, it turned out, was traveling alone, in an unfamiliar country, on her way to her wedding. She was concerned about how she would manage all her luggage throughout her trip, and I wondered if I should offer some assistance.

I had begun the day, as I begin every day, in a listening mode, listening for God, divine Love, to teach me and guide me, as He does for all of us. Because God is ever present, I know that even in unfamiliar places or difficult situations, I can turn to divine Love in an instant and discern Love’s guidance. Most of the time it comes in the form of a quiet intuition. It also comes in the form of loving and caring thoughts toward others. Thoughts from God, who is also divine Mind, inspire us to love and care for others in a wise way.

As I turned to God and quietly listened, the impulse to help this woman felt normal and natural. So when our plane landed, my colleague and I walked with the woman to the baggage claim area and helped her gather her bags and get them onto a luggage cart.

About that time another coworker arrived to pick up my colleague and me, but our new friend’s ride was nowhere in sight. I felt inspired to check with both my coworkers to see if they minded if we waited with this woman, and they were both happy to help. Using one of our cellphones, we helped her call the friend who was supposed to meet her, waited with her, and made sure she was all set before we went on our way.

This took quite a bit longer than I had expected, but I was thankful for the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what it means to love because that’s what God created us to do. I think my colleagues and I all felt that our trip had been that much more successful and complete for having been of service to a fellow traveler. And she could not have been more grateful.

As we prepare to travel this summer (or anytime), and as we enjoy visiting parts of the world that are new to us or getting reacquainted with places we’ve been before, we can, above all, prepare to bless – can turn to God for the inspiration to express love in wise and helpful ways.

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