A lesson in the value of meekness came from a recent overseas flight. From the time we got on the plane, my seatmate was rummaging through his carry-on, looking for an expensive item he had just bought in an airport shop. His upset reaction forebode a less than pleasant trip for those of us near him.
My prayer on that 14-hour trip was to understand that God gives each of us the comfort and peace we need. I often find such prayer brings out a mental alertness in me, and in this case I suddenly remembered an announcement at the airport gate about a pair of headphones that had been found. So I asked my seatmate if that could be his lost item. But he didn’t seem to hear me. Even when I mentioned it to him a second time, he was so engrossed in his angst that he couldn’t hear me. So finally I raised the question to a flight attendant. She had brought the box on board, sure it belonged to one of the passengers. When she showed it to him, he was amazed and grateful. Everyone was relieved, and from then on he proved to be a humble, cheerful companion.
Surely many of us have been in this situation, being so upset we couldn’t hear the solution at hand. But we all have an innate receptivity to the divine influence that opens thought to the inspiration that brings solutions and enables us to express meekness, protecting us from losing our mental poise.
In Christ Jesus’ powerful Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5-7) is this promise: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” In general we often think of meekness in terms of a quiet, unassuming nature. But true meekness has the strength of God’s omnipotence. As we come to see that God is the source of good that can never be lost, the sense of pride that makes us think we need to be in charge, outlining what must happen and when, begins to disappear, replaced by an inward recognition of God’s ever-presence.
What meekness preserves and protects is an understanding of our original and permanent relation to the Divine as God’s children. It cultivates a quietness in thought that is receptive to divine direction and discerns how needs can be met. So meekness is not occasional – it’s not just for those times when we’re feeling particularly good and grateful. Striving to express meekness keeps our thought turned to God’s complete and perfect love for us, even when things aren’t going especially well and we are tempted to react negatively.
Jesus was committed to teaching his followers the fullness of God’s love. When he taught us to pray from the standpoint of “Our Father” (see Matthew 6:9), he was inviting us all to realize we are each worthy of God’s care. The saving power of Christ helps us to understand our true, spiritual identity as God’s loved creation, so we come to see qualities such as meekness, honesty, and purity as natural to us. Then we can live them more freely, including listening to and learning from others.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy writes: “O glorious hope! there remaineth a rest for the righteous, a rest in Christ, a peace in Love. The thought of it stills complaint; the heaving surf of life’s troubled sea foams itself away, and underneath is a deep-settled calm” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1902,” p. 19). What an assurance! The Christ – the spiritual understanding of God that Jesus exemplified, and which brings solutions to life’s problems – continues to assert itself, so, in meekness, we can see them right at hand. The “heaving surf” doesn’t mean we have to lose our footing. Even when we’re facing confusion, disappointment, or just the out-of-sortness that tries to spoil a day, we can embrace the quality of meekness, opening thought to needed answers, even right at hand.