PETALUMA, CA, Dec. 14, 2015 – As far as I can recall, the last time I had the flu was roughly 17 years ago.
It was early evening, during an executive board meeting at my church, when all of a sudden it seemed like the “off” switch had been flipped on my entire body. Fortunately I lived just a block or two away, so I politely excused myself and walked home. When I arrived, I went straight to bed.
As I lay down, it occurred to me to give my mom a call. I wasn’t looking for sympathy as much as I was encouragement – spiritual encouragement – and even though at the time she lived over an hour away and likely wouldn’t be available to make the drive to my apartment, I somehow felt certain that even over the phone she’d be able to deliver.
That she did. In spades.
Although I can’t tell you exactly what she said, I do remember hanging up the phone and feeling immediate relief. Within a short while, I was fast asleep.
By the time I woke up the next morning, it was as if my body’s “off” switch had been flipped back to “on.” I showered, had a bite to eat, and headed to work. Since that time I’ve never once had the flu. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if I’ve never had to deal with any other illness. I have. Plenty of times. But that was the last time this particular sickness has crossed my path.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized just how effective my chat with Mom had been. And even though I can’t remember the specifics, I do remember the substance.
Broadly speaking, we talked about God. Not the kind of God who sits around waiting for his call-button to ring before coming to the rescue, but a God that remains forever dialed-in and immediately responsive to the needs of his creation – the God that the book of Psalms describes as “a very present help in trouble.”
Mary Baker Eddy takes this notion of an all-knowing, always-present, and all-powerful God and makes it at once more plausible and more practical by defining God as a universal, divine Principle or Love that, as she puts it in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “always has met and always will meet every human need.”
Eddy’s conclusions were based not on mere conjecture, but on a lifetime of studying the Bible, in particular the words and works of Jesus. Referring to the man she considered to be God’s messenger rather than God incarnate, she wrote, “He knew that the divine Principle, Love, creates and governs all that is real.” This profound understanding of reality as wholly spiritual and good, Eddy explained, is what enabled Jesus – and enables us as we strive for the purer consciousness he had – to heal the sick; in essence, exchanging a limited view of God’s love for a more expansive understanding that, in turn, relieves us of fear and stress and whatever ailment may be plaguing us.
As intellectual as that may sound, I can assure you that my conversation with Mom was anything but. It was uplifting, reassuring, and deeply comforting in the sense that even though I was lying alone in my apartment, I knew I was being cared for and would always be cared for by God, divine Love itself.
More than anything else, that’s probably why this particular healing has had such staying power.
Eric Nelson writes about the link between consciousness and health from his perspective as a practitioner of Christian Science. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Follow him on Twitter @norcalcs. Continue the conversation on Facebook.