Our true selves – not limited by age
As today’s contributor, a lifelong athlete, considered the nature of God as infinite Life and what that means for us as God’s children, he found freedom from painful symptoms he had attributed to his age.
It can seem as if age-related limitations are unavoidable. But is age really what defines us? I’ve found it helpful and even healing to consider another view of what we actually are – a spiritual view, one that carries with it the promise of overcoming limitations attributed to aging.
I’ve always loved sports, particularly baseball and running. For many years I participated in these activities with joy and freedom. Then, several years ago, I began to experience some painful symptoms during and after pitching in baseball and daily running. It was discouraging, and the notion that this was an inevitable aspect of aging crept into my thought.
But that didn’t really sync with what I’d learned in my study and practice of Christian Science, which explains that God is our Father-Mother – the true Parent of all of us. A book that I am inspired by daily – “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science – includes this as one explanation regarding what we all are as God’s loved child: “Man is the expression of God’s being” (p. 470).
What an expansive and freeing outlook this is. Someone standing in front of a mirror sees himself or herself exactly and perfectly represented, with every detail reflected back. Similarly, each of us perfectly reflects the nature of God – not materially, but spiritually. So if we think about what God is, then we can better see what we are.
For instance, the Bible reveals God as Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, and understanding these aspects of God’s nature has a lot to do with enabling us not to resign to challenges associated with aging. Why? Well, for starters, none of these attributes contain even the least element of decay or decrepitude. As God’s reflection, then, we all must manifest and represent only the eternal, harmonious nature of God.
Christ Jesus approached his life’s work with such a full understanding of our relation to God that he was consistently able to heal those who came to him for help. Today, too, even a glimpse of this can be incredibly freeing, empowering, and joyous – and can be applied to all aspects of our experience.
I prayed with these ideas, and one morning I came across the following passages in Science and Health: “Man is not a pendulum, swinging between evil and good, joy and sorrow, sickness and health, life and death. Life and its faculties are not measured by calendars” (p. 246), and, “Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul” (p. 60).
What a wake-up call! Immediately I felt lifted to a higher sense of what I truly am. God’s child could not swing from youth and ease to old age and pain. Our true identity is under God’s perpetual law of Life. God does not diminish or decay, so neither can we.
I made a list of qualities I was striving to express when running and playing baseball, such as completeness, freedom of action, harmonious coordination, joy, and strength. I realized that these kinds of qualities, and many more, make up my true, spiritual identity and represent the “infinite resources” of Soul, God. It is our privilege and nature to reflect and express God, and therefore it is natural for us to manifest Godlike qualities in our daily lives.
That morning it felt as if my eyes had been opened. The result was an immediate change in my attitude, thought, and approach, as well as in the physical situation. Aches and pain disappeared, my joints became more flexible, and since then I’ve been competing freely in baseball leagues and tournaments, and running daily. With each activity, I’ve been looking forward with the expectation of a full and joy-filled experience that includes freedom, ability, and harmony, not uncomfortable outcomes.
Each of us can more clearly recognize what God is and more fully experience what we truly are as the expression of infinite Life and Soul: ageless, free, joyous, and unlimited.
Other versions of this article appeared in the May 7, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel and the Jan. 31, 2019, “Christian Science Daily Lift” podcast.