“Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect. Whatever purifies, sanctifies, and consecrates human life, is not an enemy, however much we suffer in the process.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
For four days this week I was shuffling around like Tim Conway playing his “oldest man” character (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOwmSbD20aQ). My back was all askew and akilter, and I was listing severely to starboard. I was a hurting buckaroo.
My friends at work could see I was struggling, and one kind soul offered me an Ibuprofen – although she wasn’t sure if it was okay to offer this to me, seeing as how I’m a Christian Scientist and everything. (It was okay. 🙂 It showed she cared.)
I declined the drugs- not because “it’s against my religion” or because I have a martyr complex or anything – but because I know, from years of personal experience, that the simplest and most effective way for me to have healing is to figure out what I need to correct in my thoughts. For me, whenever I’m faced with some physical challenge there always seems to be something going on mentally – fear or anger or frustration or whatever – that needs to be cleaned out.
On the fourth night, as I prayed about my situation – opened my thought up to whatever Love might reveal to me – it came to me that I was feeling that I, and another person close to me, were under attack by a person who’d been a part of our lives since childhood. And, almost simultaneous to that revelation, this phrase came to me: “Those whom we would call our enemies are really our best friends.”
I remembered, then, reading something similar to that phrase in a chapter titled “Love Your Enemies” in Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Miscellaneous Writings. I turned on my Kindle, found the chapter, and began to read it. And ohmygosh. What a perfect chapter for my needs!
Check it out: “‘Love thine enemies’ is identical with ‘Thou hast no enemies.’ Wherein is this conclusion relative to those who have hated thee without a cause? Simply, in that those unfortunate individuals are virtually thy best friends. Primarily and ultimately, they are doing thee good far beyond the present sense which thou canst entertain of good…Whatever envy, hatred, revenge —the most remorseless motives that govern mortal mind —whatever these try to do, shall ‘work together for good to them that love God.’…We must love our enemies in all the manifestations wherein and whereby we love our friends; must even try not to expose their faults, but to do them good whenever opportunity occurs…Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us; brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, through-out time and beyond the grave. If you have been badly wronged, forgive and forget: God will recompense this wrong…Never return evil for evil; and, above all, do not fancy that you have been wronged when you have not been.” – Mary Baker Eddy
When I finished reading that chapter, I felt a burden lift from me and I felt enveloped in light and joy, and filled with love. I knew I was healed. I realized that nothing and no one had the power to change who I am, make me angry or afraid, or take away my joy. I realized that no one is my “enemy.”
The next morning I woke up with my back straight and in no pain. Better even than the physical healing – I woke up filled with joy and love for mankind. I went through the day with a bounce in my step and a song in my heart. I greeted the students as they arrived at the school – “Hi! Good morning! Welcome!” and they smiled and gave me friendly “good mornings” in return. I did twirls and leaps down the hall for Pete, the maintenance man, to share my healing with him – and he laughed and congratulated me. My colleague, Edith, and I exchanged a morning hug. Elizabeth, and Linda, and I sang songs from Fiddler on the Roof during lunch, and teared up with sweet and poignant memories when we got to “Sunrise, Sunset.” Kay told me about her kitty, Violet, who turned out to be a Henry. Every single person I met seemed ready and eager to celebrate life with me – it was like everyone was just waiting for the opportunity to smile and laugh and enjoy each other.
For the first time, it became really clear to me that I have – we all have – the ability to create our own atmosphere for ourselves – sculpt our own environment – our own dwelling-place. As I approached the world with joy and love, the world responded in kind. It became very obvious to me yesterday that people are drawn to joy and love – and that the people who have the real power in this world – who are the real leaders – are those who are able to walk through life with love, and irrepressible, unstoppable joy.
I’m very grateful to be free of pain, of course. But I’m even more grateful for the insights and wisdom I gained from this whole experience.
photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell
Just had to share. 🙂