I grew up in a Protestant church. I loved the ritual, the music, and the Sunday School, and attended fairly regularly. It seemed, though, that there was always something significant missing from my religious experience—I just couldn’t figure out what it was.
My home life was difficult, and I was plagued with many illnesses, including asthma, hay fever, and allergies to cheese, fish, chocolate, cats and dogs, flowers, and more. However, I still had a full academic, musical, and social life, with other amenities, too.
When I proceeded on to college after high school, I attended the same Protestant church, but it was different. The “Father” as he was called (instead of a minister) pounded his chest and used incense. I just couldn’t relate to the service.
I stopped attending church altogether for a while, and later went to see a priest. Somehow the mysticism I felt was there seemed safe and reassuring. I figured that there had to be some discoveries within this mystery, but nothing came to me. There were so many questions I wanted answered: Why was I here? What was I supposed to do with my life? What was existence all about, anyway?
Eventually I joined Campus Crusade for Christ, and met with a kind, caring Crusade worker. When I saw that she’d actually written in her Bible, I was totally shocked. I quickly discerned that the Bible just might be a friend, and could possibly even hold the answers to life’s questions.
After graduating and getting married, I moved to France. There I attended the gorgeous Gothic-sculpted American Cathedral in Paris. I liked the atmosphere there, but my quest for answers continued. I even tried to give up my belief in God altogether, but never could do so for long. I read philosophy by Sigmund Freud and Jean Paul Sartre, as well as some of Norman Vincent Peale’s writings. I also began seeing a psychoanalyst.
At this point in my life I was feeling pretty miserable. I didn’t feel I’d gotten any good answers to my “big questions,” and I was dealing with a variety of anxieties and compulsions, as well as obsessive worry and fear. I was also battling bulimia, panic attacks, and suicidal inclinations. Psychoanalysis was intriguing and assuaging in some ways, but it didn’t feel like it was the end of my search for solutions.
I kept coming back to the Bible. Every so often I would check into a hotel for a night, where I would find a Gideon Bible in the bedside table and read until I found something comforting and promising. This helped to keep me going.
After a while my marriage ended, and I returned to New York City. One Sunday morning when I awoke, I felt a great need for spiritual sustenance. I dressed and left my apartment, but I couldn’t find the little white church I passed on the way home from work. So with rain falling, and time ticking, I decided to go to the next church I came to. It was a Christian Science church.
Two tons of baggage seemed to lift from my back.
With some trepidation and a heart full of hope, I walked into the lobby and down the aisle. I searched for a cross, to no avail. When I got to my pew seat, I knelt on the floor and prayed while the congregation sang. Then I intently listened to the Bible Lesson-Sermon. At one point one of the Readers read something like, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” ( Proverbs 23:7), which I understood to mean, essentially, “Depending on how you’re thinking, that’s how you feel.” Wow! What a statement! I’d experienced this before. When I got terrible migraine headaches, it was often when I was afraid or anxious, tense or taut. In other words, upset thinking was going on. This sudden discovery was both a confirmation and a revelation.
When the service ended, I was warmly greeted and loaned a copy of Science and Health. From there I was invited for coffee with a group. It was wonderful. I listened raptly as I sipped coffee and puffed away on a cigarette. Two people there eventually became gentle mentors, and were of terrific help to me.
I immediately began reading Science and Health. I found it difficult to understand at first, but stayed with it. I knew it had what I needed. When I discovered that God is Mind—infinite, omnipresent, all-knowing, divine Mind—and that this Mind, God, is actually my Mind through reflection, I was absolutely euphoric. Two tons of baggage seemed to lift from my back. I knew I would no longer need pills, potions, or props (like cigarettes or Valium) to solve my problems. Mind’s communications would be my medicine. No appointment would be needed because I could go straight to my Creator anytime I wanted.
Life began to take on meaning. There was a reason for being. There was a purpose and plan, and it was all of God’s doing. I just needed to listen and yield to my Maker’s direction and guidance.
A great spiritual education and reeducation commenced. The fears, hopelessness, and helplessness I’d so long carried began to dissipate. I actually began to love life. I learned that man has unlimited potential as the perfect reflection of infinite Mind and Soul. Nothing was or would be impossible to God. It was like the heavens opened. My life just got better and better. And it continues to do so.
Since that time, four decades ago, I’ve kept growing and learning more and more about what our all-embracing Father-Mother is and does, and what His relation to His beloved child means. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be a Christian Science practitioner, too, praying with people and helping them recognize more clearly their relationship with God. The long search certainly paid off. I could never be thankful enough to have found this gem of gems.
What’s kept me in Christian Science, with its very pressing and strong demands? Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The Divine Being must be reflected by man,—else man is not the image and likeness of the patient, tender, and true, the One ‘altogether lovely;’ but to understand God is the work of eternity, and demands absolute consecration of thought, energy, and desire” (Science and Health, p. 3). I’ve honestly never considered any other spiritual system since finding Christian Science, and that’s for three reasons: 1. Christian Science works. 2. Marvelously, metaphysical discovery and learning go on forever. 3. Never have I found a better definition for God than Eddy’s: “Question.—What is God?
“Answer.—God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love” (Science and Health, p. 465).
For me, these synonyms for God are the very keys and bedrock to eternal Life and Love. They’re the most inexhaustible revelation possible.