A Prayer

Know that Love is all-power, all-presence,
everywhere, through all, in all, the Only.
Know there isn’t the teensiest tiniest nano
space or second that is not filled with Love.
Know that there is no time, no place,
outside the reach of Truth, the touch
of Love, the wisdom of Mind.
Truth created all, every-thing
every-one, and there’s no part of creation –
not the most miniscule micro molecule –
that can possibly be unlike its Creator –
that doesn’t fully express the beauty,
perfection, wonder, sublimity, whole-ness,
and joy of Love.
Amen.
– Karen 

butterfly luminex this one

Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

On “Faith Healing”

We went to the local university to watch Gleason the other night. It was a pretty intense movie. Uplifting in parts. Depressing in others. There were three scenes, in particular, that were really uncomfortable for me to watch – two of them because it felt like I was intruding on very private, very personal, moments in another person’s life; and one because it involved a scene of faith healing that made me want to get out of my chair and scream, “Stop it!” to the church people who were making a spectacle of a man with ALS – using him in a way that seemed cruel to me.

People often mistake Christian Science for faith healing. It is not.

Christian Science healing doesn’t involve spectacle or miracle. It’s not showmanship. It’s not a public display. It’s private – sometimes the only person involved is the person who experiences the healing. There’s no begging or pleading with some anthropomorphic god who might choose to heal you, or might choose to not. Although sometimes it’s dramatic, other times it’s just a gentle unfolding – a quiet change of thought – a recognition of Love’s perfect creation. In Christian Science, healing isn’t some supernatural event, but a natural manifestation of Love, Truth, God. In the textbook for Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science wrote: “Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural.”

Sometimes I’ve known I was healed before the healing was made apparent, physically. This happened once when I was dealing with a puffed-up hand – there came a moment when the fear completely lifted from me and I knew I was fine – even though my hand still appeared ballooned to twice its size. The next day the hand was back to its normal appearance. (Later, blood tests that had been done on the first day of the puffed-up hand came back from the doctor’s office that indicated rheumatoid arthritis. The doctor’s office wanted me to see an RA specialist – but I told them my hand was completely fine now. The nurse said she guessed I didn’t need to do anything more then – but to let them know if things changed. That was six years ago, and there hasn’t been a return of the condition.)

Other times the physical manifestation of healing has been immediately obvious – the time my little brother was diagnosed by a doctor with mastoiditus, for instance – one moment he was screaming in pain, the next moment he was snoring in peaceful slumber, completely healed. He never had to return to the doctor for treatment, and there was none of the surgery the doctor had predicted he’d need.

There’s no pleading or begging or “in Jesus’ name”-ing in Christian Science healing. Christian Scientists aren’t asking God to do something She isn’t already doing. Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the Christian Science textbook: “The mere habit of pleading with the divine Mind, as one pleads with a human being, perpetuates the belief in God as humanly circumscribed, – an error which impedes spiritual growth… God is Love. Can we ask Him to be more? God is intelligence. Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend? Do we expect to change perfection?” A little later she wrote: “Asking God to be God is a vain repetition. God is ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever;’ and He who is immutably right will do right without being reminded of His province… Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution.”

Christian Science healing doesn’t come from a blind, emotional faith in Jesus or a man-god. For me, healing comes hand-in-hand with a growing understanding of the power of universal divine Love, and of myself as a perfect reflection of Love. And you don’t have to belong to any particular religion to have access to this healing power of Love, either – it’s available to everyone, regardless of religion or non-religion. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as ‘a very present help in trouble.'”

Anyway. After watching Gleason the other night, I just felt the need to share my thoughts about all of this today. I have huge respect and admiration for the manner in which Steve Gleason and his wife have faced the challenges they’ve faced in the last five years, and for the decisions they’ve made during this time. Their decisions have come from their love for each other and their families. And Love, in Christian Science, is God.

“…I did not feel God as most people see Him. I did feel something larger than myself, something in the mountains and the glaciers and the glowing sky that, in rare moments, reassured me, and made me feel that the world was orderly and loving and good… It was simply a silence, a wholeness, an awe-inspiring simplicity. It seemed to reach me through my own feelings of love, and I have often thought that when we feel what we call love, we are really feeling our connection to this awesome presence… It wasn’t cleverness or courage or any kind of competence or savvy that saved us, it was nothing more than love, our love for each other, for our families, for the lives we wanted so desperately to live.”
– Nando Parrado, Miracle in the Andes

healing

And now a prayer…

I am typing one-handed at the moment because I have a kitty purring under my chin. She is watching my fingers move on the keyboard. She seems fascinated with the workings of humans and their machinery. She is keeping me sane.

And now a prayer: Please, Love, give me courage. Fill my heart with kindness and hope. Help me nurture what is good in the world. Help me heal what is not.

Amen.

a-prayer

I Wish You Nothing But Good

Revelation! 
I’m not angry, I don’t hate you – 
all that happened then –
the unfairness of it, the injustice –
was a part of the healing.  It was
all good – all of it – the people,
the place, the circumstances –
and it led to the healing – 
it brought me to the place
prepared for me – a place of purpose
and joy. And I see you now –
and my feelings are benign towards
you. I wish you nothing but good.
How could anger and hate ever
abide where there is healing?

panoply of Love

 

Healed of the Tim Conway Shuffle

“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.

Love rules joy is power

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Just had to share. 🙂

Response to a Response to My Almost-Interview with NPR

My friend, Kat, a thought-provoking ex-Christian Scientist of intelligence and interesting insight, posted a comment on my last blog post that I thought was worth responding to in a whole ‘nother post. Here’s Kat’s comment:

“Why would a Christian Scientist choose Christian Science over medical treatment for her children?”

Yeah, that’s the elephant in the room CS is going to have to address head-on over and over and over again. Some CS have made REALLY BAD CHOICES and people have died.

Caroline Fraser’s book God’s Perfect Child talks about this at length. Another excellent example is Rita Swan’s son Matthew,https://thedublinreview.com/‘matthew-you-cannot-be-sick’/ (you may have heard of her, she founded C.H.I.L.D. http://childrenshealthcare.org)

I agree A better question might be: “What is it about Christian Science that appeals to you?” it no longer appeals to me, but for a while it did, and on some level, I still understand the appeal.

Hi, Kat –

The producer at NPR wanted a Christian Scientist on her show who could respond to Dr. Paul Offit’s assertion that religion is killing children – an assertion presented in his book, Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine. I was not the right fit to respond to that assertion – seeing as how I did take my sons to doctors now and then when they were youngsters.

But if I were interviewing Offit, there are a couple questions I’d like to ask him, if I had the chance: We know that preventable errors in medical care are the third-leading cause of death in this country (according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, among other sources) and have been for several years now. Knowing that about 400,000 people a year die from preventable medical errors (http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/deaths-by-medical-mistakes-hit-records ), I’d like to ask Dr. Offit –

  • How much of your time do you spend making medical treatment safer and better, as opposed to concerning yourself with other forms of treatment?
  • Do you think parents should be forced to bring their children into a system that is the third-leading cause of death in America?
  • And do you believe that when a child dies under medical treatment it is any less tragic than when a child dies under some other form of treatment?

I’ve lost friends who were under Christian Science treatment. I’ve also lost friends who died from the medical treatment they were under-going – not from the disease, but from the medical treatment itself. Neither type of death caused me less grief than the other. Humans die. I may even appear to die someday. (I know – it’s hard to believe, right? – but I think we need to consider the possibility that I may not ascend here.) And if I die while under Christian Science treatment, I really hope my loved ones don’t blame Christian Science for this. I hope they realize that Christian Science has helped make me the person they love – and that there was some part of me – maybe a part of me they love – that was drawn to this way of life.

Regarding Rita Swan: I’m not sure why Rita Swan made the choices she made when her baby became so ill. I’m not going to try to speak for someone else. But I imagine that if I’d been in her shoes I might have felt terrible guilt after my baby’s death and would have looked for someone else, or something else, to put the blame on for this tragedy – just to relieve the burden of self-condemnation a little. I wouldn’t judge anyone in Rita Swan’s position for taking the direction she took after Matthew’s death. I don’t blame her. But I’ve never been in the position she was in – as I wrote in my post, I took my sons to doctors now and then when I felt the need to do so. I’ve never felt any pressure from my church family to avoid medical treatment. And I’m pretty sure that if I ever did, it wouldn’t faze me at all. My responsibilities as a mother to keep my sons safe out-trumped any other considerations. (And sometimes that meant saying “no thank you” to drugs that doctors offered that had potentially adverse side effects and no guarantee of helping.)

Regarding Caroline Fraser: Years ago she wrote an article for Atlantic Monthly about Christian Science. Someone handed me the magazine, and I thought they were giving it to me because of the really well-written article on the environment that was in that issue. It wasn’t until a week later, when I was looking through the magazine again, that I saw Fraser’s article. What struck me about the article was the complete lack of objectivity, and the blatant bias. She wrote about Mary Baker Eddy with authority – as if she’d actually met the woman (which, of course, she had not – Eddy died long before either Fraser or I were born). Fraser acted as though she could get inside Eddy’s head and tell us all what was going on in there. I am always wary of people who set themselves up as experts on what’s going on inside someone else’s head – who presume to know what someone else is/was thinking, feeling, and believing – this is often a symptom of bigotry.  Fraser’s article made me wary of Fraser.

There’s another book about Christian Science, though, written by Lucia Greenhouse, a woman who watched her Christian Science mother die of cancer – that I think is less sensationalistic than Fraser’s writings about Christian Science. One of my friends who was raised in Christian Science could relate to a lot of Greenhouse’s experiences with Christian Science in fathermothergod  – and I think Greenhouse’s book was really helpful in validating my friend’s experience. I don’t discount Lucia Greenhouse’s experiences with Christian Science – I believe she’s telling the truth. But my experience being raised in Christian Science is very different from either my friend’s or Greenhouse’s.  My brothers and I were brought to doctors, dentists, and optometrists – and this was no big deal. We also experienced some really beautiful healings in Christian Science. (Which you can read about in Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientisthttp://www.amazon.com/dp/1419612298/ref=rdr_ext_tmb .)

As I wrote in my last post, what draws me to Christian Science is the transformation in my nature that I feel when I experience healing – and I HAVE experienced healing in Christian Science. Christian Science healing doesn’t just make me better physically – but it brings me closer to Love – it lifts my thoughts, inspires me, gives me courage – fills me with joy and gratitude and good will to my fellow man and woman. These are not things I’ve experienced in medical science treatment.

And now I give you a picture from my morning bike ride – just because I wanna… 🙂

Samish River (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)