When an in-person visit isn’t an option
Sometimes, especially in light of pandemic-related restrictions, we’re not able to care for loved ones in person. But no matter where we are, God’s healing light is here to comfort and guide all of us in tangible ways.
This would be a good time to visit my mom. She’s needing a lot of TLC right now. Gratefully, she’s with my sister and her family. But because of travel restrictions, I can’t just pack my things and visit them.
So I’ve been asking God for some guidance and a more spiritual perspective on the situation. I’ve been grateful over the years for the wise guidance I’ve found in the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. These teachings have expanded and deepened my understanding of what prayer can be and of how much honest, humble prayer can do to help.
An essay Mrs. Eddy wrote titled “Angels” talks about that comforting contact that we long for. She writes: “When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts. Oh, may you feel this touch, – it is not the clasping of hands, nor a loved person present; it is more than this: it is a spiritual idea that lights your path!” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 306).
“A loved person present” would be pretty wonderful right now. And yet, Christian Science has helped me understand more clearly that because God is Spirit and we are made in God’s image, as the Bible tells us, the actual identity of each of us is 100% spiritual, not physical. Something that is spiritual isn’t confined to time or space. It is here and recognizable wherever we are.
So when I think of the true, spiritual identity of my mom (or anyone), and love that individual with a pure, spiritual affection, doesn’t this mean that I could actually be quite “present” with that individual?
I have been thinking about the qualities my mom expresses. There is her calm. Her deep trust that God loves her and that come what may, everything will work out all right. She has always lived simply but felt satisfied and blessed with her life. I could go on.
Thinking on such qualities is one way of being aware of “a loved person present” – in thought, if not physically. And such qualities are more than just nice thoughts. Contentment, simplicity, and trust are spiritual qualities that we each derive from God.
In an address to members of her church, Mrs. Eddy said, “Where God is we can meet, and where God is we can never part” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 131). When I read that, I think of rays of sunlight shining out from the sun. As you follow a ray back to its source, you get closer to the sun and to the other rays. Each of us, understood spiritually, is like a ray of light, and God is like the sun, our source.
This isn’t referring to physical closeness, but to a clearer comprehension of our inseparability from God, who is infinite, ever-present Love. The more fully we realize this, the more tangibly we feel our unity with God and with everything and everyone, everywhere.
While this might sound like a grandiose notion meant to distract us from our needs, I’ve actually found that opening my eyes to our oneness with God helps me experience that oneness right here and now. This has been a comfort to me and has helped me feel closer to my mom.
But, you may ask, what about my mom? What’s in it for her?
The first few lines of that essay, “Angels,” in addition to offering reassuring guidance, can also be a form of prayer: “Oh, may you feel this touch”! God’s love is universal and impartial. Jesus alluded to how this becomes tangible when he told his listeners that God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good” (Matthew 5:45). God’s love just shines, all the time, on everyone. And so the same Love that is comforting me with “a spiritual idea that lights your path” is also present with my mom and comforting her.
This comfort is real. It is felt. It only needs to be acknowledged for it to be felt by us and by those we love.
Perhaps there is someone you know (or don’t know) who needs to feel this touch right now. You could be the very one whose prayers help to light their path today.
Adapted from an article published in the July 20, 2020, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.
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