No lost summer

Disappointments and unpleasant experiences can leave us feeling an absence of good. But is there a way to change our thinking about such times, even when long past? When we understand God as all-good, ever-present Love, we find we have the opportunity to discover the good that always existed and to uplift and heal our thoughts about past experiences.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Every summer, hopes soar for happy, warm days and new memories to record. But various factors have made this summer feel different in some ways, tinged with uncertainty, and making many people long for a more carefree time. Some may even feel they’ll be writing these months off as a “lost summer.”

I’m reminded of a summer long ago that I considered to be a failure and documented in my memory as a lost summer. I had answered an ad for a job as a girls’ camp counselor at a newly formed summer camp in another state and was quickly hired. As a teenager, I was eager, enthused, and excited. To prepare, I got certified to teach swimming and water sports, and I learned new games and campfire stories to share with my campers.

When I arrived at the camp, my expectations plummeted. The lake turned out to be a big mudhole with no beach. There was no watercraft – not a boat, a canoe, or a raft. There was no sports equipment for games and no area for a campfire. When I returned home, I didn’t even want to talk about it, and that summer became merely a distant memory filled with disappointment.

Yet recently, I read in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, “God, good, being ever present, it follows in divine logic that evil, the suppositional opposite of good, is never present” (p. 72). Christian Science teaches that God, who created all of us as beloved children, is only good, has all power, and is ever-present divine Love, leaving no room for evil. In another book, Mrs. Eddy wrote: “The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged” (“Retrospection and Introspection,” p. 22). “Revise” means “to look over again in order to correct or improve,” and meanings for ”expunge” include “to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion” (

Instead of either accepting or ignoring past events, I could mentally revisit and revise my account of a failed summer by considering what I knew about God, which would enable me to discover the good that was always present. I asked myself: Was God, ever-present good, with me even there at the mudhole? Yes. And, with God’s nature as exclusively good, could that experience have been bad? No.

As a Christian Science Sunday School student, I had learned the Bible story about Nehemiah calling the people of Jerusalem together to rebuild the wall of the city, which they did despite many attempted diversions from enemies seeking to thwart the good work. After the wall was eventually completed, at one point he asked of God, regarding his efforts to keep the house of God in good order: “Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof” (Nehemiah 13:14).

This inspired me, in prayer, to ask God to show me how divine Love had naturally aided me in accomplishing good deeds for myself and others at that summer camp.

One by one, like building blocks of good, triumphs I’d lost sight of filled my consciousness. I saw that only God’s works are worthy of remembrance and that being and doing good wherever we are is the vital, valuable work of God.

I recalled how I’d calmed a child who was afraid of spiders (especially at night), and she’d slept peacefully from then on. I remembered I’d strained my neck while playing a game with my campers, and in pain, I stepped into the woods to be alone and silently prayed, “God, I need Your help because I need to work with these children.” The pain immediately left, and the healing was permanent.

One night a counselor was reported missing. I searched for her and found her wandering on the road; she was sleepwalking. Gently, I told her that she could walk with Love, fearlessly, and feel God’s power and guidance right there. When she awoke, she confided to me about a traumatic experience she’d been through. I assured her that she could be free of sleepwalking because God and all of us loved her very much. When camp ended, she thanked me because after that night, the sleepwalking had stopped.

There can never be a lost or wasted period of time when we’re yielding to and following God as Love. At times, I’ve found that the blessings that come from looking back on difficult memories are lessons we learn. When we consider what has happened, with an honest assessment of the experience, we can make corrections as we move forward. And this can uplift and heal how we think about events both past and present.

This summer – and always – we have opportunities to prove God’s goodness as present and powerful, here and everywhere, in all our lives.

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