Cast Thy Burden…

Earlier in the school year, at a workshop for teachers, this twenty-something man conducting the workshop said something like, “You know, we all have parents we can turn to when we need help…” and I felt myself suddenly and overwhelmingly filled with a huge sense of loss and grief. My nose and eyes started filling with snot and tears.  I had to get up and leave the room.

No, I was thinking, we don’t all have parents we can turn to when we need help. My mom is dead, and my 99 year-old dad needs me to be there for him now – not the other way around. I’m responsible for his health and safety and finances and well-being.  No, I thought, don’t assume that everybody in that room has parents they can turn to for support. As I sobbed, and blew my nose into a wad of toilet paper in the bathroom – feeling all sorts of sorry for myself – I was thinking the days when I had a mother and father to turn to for help were gone for me.

But the other day, as I was contemplating the nature of God, Love, this thought came to me: God is responsible for me. It was a really simple thought, but I found it wonderfully comforting.  “God is responsible for me,” I said out loud to myself, and turned the idea of it over in my thoughts, examining it. God made me, maintains me, governs, and guides me, I reasoned. I am here because of God, and for God. I am God’s, and God is mine – my Mother and Father. I can nestle safe and secure in Love’s arms and trust She will take care of me.  God, Love, is where I can always turn when I need help.

A sense of burden was lifted from me in that moment, and a sense of peace filled me. The false sense of responsibility I’d been feeling for everyone I come in contact with dissolved. I realized God, Love, is responsible for ALL Her children – Dad, my sons, husband, friends, students, colleagues, strangers on the street, and, yes, me, too.  In that moment it was clear to me that I’m not alone, on my own, here. We really DO all have a Father-Mother we can turn to when we need help.

It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
– Psalms 18:32

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
– Psalms 100:3

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee…
– Psalms 55:22

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings…
– Deuteronomy 32:11

Two eagles in a nest in Bow, WA. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Two eagles in a nest in Skagit County, Washington. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

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Image of Love

…the earth says hello…

You are perfect.jpg

Wherever He may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way He taketh,
And I will walk with Him.
– Anna L. Waring (Hymn #148, Christian Science Hymnal)

Presence of Love

Good morning, Starshine!

unchanging Love

In heavenly Love abiding, 
No change my heart shall fear;
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?
– Anna L. Waring (Hymn #148, Christian Science Hymnal)

Filled with Truth and Love

 

Lately I’ve found myself thinking a lot about mortality. My own. This is not something that I used to think about much. But as the hospice nurse who looks in on Dad said to me, “It’s in your face.”  The last six months seem to have been filled with death – it seems every week someone I care about passes on. Sometimes the deaths have come quickly and unexpectedly, and sometimes they’ve come slowly – after long illnesses.

I could go a couple different directions here. I could be all philosophical – offer detached (and really profound) thoughts about death and dying. Or maybe I could talk about my fear of getting sucked into a vortex where I might be expected to give up control of my own body to the “experts” – maybe seen as an interesting medical experiment, and clucked over with much head-shaking and criticism: “She ate how much cheese every day?!”

But… yeah… I’m thinking I’ll do something else here.

Here’s what I know about me – and about you, too, actually – we are the children of God, Love. We are perfect right now – made in the image and likeness of perfect Love, Truth, and Life. We are strong, fearless, and beautiful – without blemish or flaw. There isn’t even the teensiest, tiniest part of us that can be unlike our perfect Creator – for all we can be is Her reflection. “There is no spot where God is not.”

Death is an illusion – a shadow – and it has no might or right or power to stop Life, or alter perfection. Death has no power to separate us from Love – not now, not ever. Those loved ones who appear to have walked through its shadow are unchanged, perfect, beautiful, still unfolding and learning and progressing.

I ain’t going to be afraid of death, or sickness, or evil of any kind. I know that all things work together for good to those who love Love – nothing can prevent Love from reaching me, or you. I ain’t going to be afraid of fear, either. “Fear never stopped being or its action.” (Mary Baker Eddy)

In The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness.”

And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy writes: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter, and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears.”

So that’s what I’m going to do here. I’m going to rouse myself – wake myself up from this mortal dream – and be the child Love made me to be.

Take that, death!

love-is-with-you

 

“Be it slow or fast…”

To the Big Children

Father-Mother good, lovingly
Thee I seek, –
Patient, meek, In the way
Thou hast, – 
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.

-Mary Baker Eddy

When I was a youngster my mom taught me to say the above prayer at night before I went to sleep. When I think of this prayer now it brings back cozy memories of Mom tucking me into bed, and saying this prayer with me.

The prayer was written by the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. I still sometimes say it at night before I go to sleep. But until last night I’d always had a problem with the words: “In the way Thou hast, – Be it slow or fast…” It sort of bothered me that the process of God-finding might be a slow one. I mean… fast is always better, right?

But last night as I was drifting off to sleep I found myself saying this prayer to myself – and this time I emphasized different words than I’ve ever before emphasized. This time it came out like this:
Father-MOTHER God, LOVINGLY
Thee I seek, –
PATIENT (pause) MEEK,  In the WAY
Thou hast, –
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.

And a whole ‘nother way of looking at that prayer entered my thoughts. I had a small epiphany.

What came to me is that this prayer is about how we live – the manner in which we live and move towards Love. It’s as much about the seeking as it is about the finding.  If God is, literally, Love – as Mary Baker Eddy believed, and as I believe, too – then we’re going to find God by seeking Her in love, with patience and meekness, and without any ego. We’re not going to view this as a competition or a race to see who can get “there” first. The pace of our journey isn’t the important thing. The important thing is that we travel “lovingly” towards our goal.

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, ‘I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,’ because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love… If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy.”

Eddy writes: “Individuals are consistent who, watching and praying, can ‘run, and not be weary; . . . walk, and not faint,’ who gain good rapidly and hold their position, or attain slowly and yield not to discouragement.”

So I’m thinking that whether we’re “slow or fast” the important thing is that we’re moving the right direction, and that we’re seeking Love with love.

“…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
– Matthew 6:33

Love is everything