For one woman, a chickadee’s joyful song inspired a fresh view of our ability to let God’s goodness and joy shine in our lives – a lesson that brought about a quick healing of illness shortly after.

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One morning on a family camping trip I woke up to an incredibly loud, albeit lovely, birdsong. The bird sounded not only as though it was right by my head, but also incredibly big!

I was shocked to find the source to be a tiny chickadee sitting on a nearby picnic table singing with a voice 10 times its size. “Man, you are loud!” I laughed.

But it was such a joyful song that I was struck with the thought that this tiny bird, voicing good as loudly as it could, represented the glory of God.

I thought about how no matter one’s size, shape, or position in life, each of us can brighten the world by “singing” with joy and love. What if we let our lives speak as loudly about all the blessings God gives us every day, and let our actions reflect the joy and goodness of the Divine?

I had an opportunity to do just that a couple of days later. I was to take the first shift driving home from our trip. However, as I went to get up that morning, I felt so dizzy and nauseous that I couldn’t stand. Fortunately, my husband was able to drive instead.

I reached out to God, because I have experienced since I was a child how we can always turn to God for help.

When I pray, it isn’t asking God to fix me. Rather, it is affirming what God already knows: namely, that we all are made in the image and likeness of our Maker, God, divine Spirit. Whatever God is, we reflect that.

And what is God? Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, uses a number of names, derived from the Bible, to describe God. One of those is Mind. Her book “Unity of Good” explains, “Transcending the evidence of the material senses, Science declares God to be the Soul of all being, the only Mind and intelligence in the universe” (p. 29).

Qualities of Mind include intelligence, consciousness, alertness, clarity, awareness, thoughtfulness, and so on. As the spiritual image of this divine Mind, we naturally reflect those qualities.

I clung to these ideas and was able to remain conscious through the rest of the trip. But the dizziness was such that I still could not walk. I thought again of the little bird. I realized that I could sing God’s praises, because our divine creator maintains and loves us all at every moment. I did not have to give in to the suggestion that the dizziness and nauseousness would just have to run their course. God, good, did not make illness, and therefore it has no real existence.

So I “sang” gratitude as I went about my day. I thankfully recognized the evidences of God’s constant presence and care that were felt throughout our activities, in the beauty we saw along the way, the protection we experienced during a whitewater boat ride, the love expressed during a visit with family.

Soon that divine presence and care took expression in progress toward healing. I was able to walk, and I continued to sing God’s praises by actively and joyously doing needed tasks, such as unpacking and laundry. Whenever I felt dizzy or unsteady, I literally sang verses of my favorite hymns. For example, this one from the “Christian Science Hymnal: Hymns 430-603”:

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation;
I hear the sweet though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?
(Pauline T., No. 533, adapt. © CSBD)

This helped me think more productively, mentally claiming what was rightfully true of me as the reflection of the divine Mind: that I was clear, alert, and intelligent.

Soon, I was completely free of all the symptoms. And I was grateful for that, too!

I haven’t forgotten the lesson from my little bird friend: that we all can let our lives sing out the praises of God with joy and confidence and love – making the world just a bit more harmonious because of our song.

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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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