More than just a feel-good day

What started off for today’s contributor as an experience of being alone and desperate turned into a time of discovering just how tangible, practical, and familiar God’s love truly is.

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There are many ways a parent’s love can be expressed. I’ve certainly known men and women who have never raised children yet don’t hesitate to show considerable love to youngsters.

In other words, selfless love isn’t exclusively about people of a particular gender or those who have children. It is about expressing spiritual qualities such as patience and joy in attending to those around us. And because God, who is Love itself, created us, we all have the ability to express and feel God’s love, wherever we may be.

Mary Baker Eddy, an earnest student of the Bible who discovered Christian Science in the 19th century, saw the nature of God as both Father and Mother, our spiritual Parent. If we think of our Father-Mother God as meeting our needs, rather than feeling we are dependent on other people, we come to see that we can’t be denied God’s love. Divine Love is universal, inclusive, and ever present, the source of all the love there is – the Father-love providing and defending, the Mother-love nurturing and comforting. We are never separated from this love! Although it may not always be expressed in the person or place we expect, there is no stopping God’s love from finding us when it’s needed.

I saw this when I was a young woman and fell “down the rabbit hole,” so to speak. I found the courage to leave a dangerous living situation, but I hadn’t had time to plan ahead. I was alone, wearing dirty clothing, and desperate. I managed to call my parents, who began putting together a plan to fly me home to them. I hitched a ride to the airport, with no idea whether I would be able to board a plane before the day was through.

Spying a distant corner of the crowded airport (feeling that I was not even worthy of a chair), I flopped down on the floor. Then I heard my name called over the intercom, so I walked over to the counter. A man – someone I had never met – was standing there with a warm and compassionate smile. He was a local Christian Science practitioner, someone whose full-time job is to help people through prayer. My father had reached him earlier and asked that he pray about the situation.

As he’d been praying, he’d felt inspired to come to be with me in person. He had driven to the stables where I’d been working, where he was told I was at the airport. He even bought me food (it had been at least a day or so since I had eaten). I still marvel at how this stranger put his prayers into action for a straggly teenager that day!

In essence, though, he wasn’t a stranger. I hadn’t seen him before, but the love he expressed felt very familiar. If I’d closed my eyes I would have thought I was with my mom or dad, not some man I had never met. I appreciated his kindness, but it was more than that. I sensed that behind it was a spiritual love impelled by God. It was pure, the way God’s love always is. I felt divine Love holding me together like a warm embrace and reaching right through me, without judging me. The ideas the man shared weren’t just words; they became spiritual anchors during this trip and many times after. His assurance that I was worthy of being loved was an affirmation that God was my forever Father, Mother, and companion. I knew I was safe.

As my name was called to board a flight a few hours later, we said our goodbyes. He reminded me that God was right where I was, loving and providing for me. Boarding the plane, I immediately saw more evidence of God’s love while settling into my seat next to a woman who, smiling from ear to ear, not only told me how much she loved horses, but offered me food and drink.

Above all, though, this wasn’t just a feel-good day. An enduring sense of our Father-Mother God’s boundless, healing love stayed with me, and my situation turned around completely.

I still cherish that day in the airport and have continued to see this same love generously shared over the many years since, proving time after time to me that Love isn’t personal; it is truly divine.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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