Love and Life can never be taken away
By Elaina Simpson
From the October 1, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
Have you ever wondered where all the love in your life has gone?
Years ago I had several family members pass away during a short span of time. I felt I had lost all of their love with them, and life seemed like a mystery that was unsolvable. I also had become fascinated with death—the hows and whys of it all. I later learned, through the teachings of Christian Science, that these feelings of loss, fear, and confusion can be healed through prayer.
It was during this time that I began to study the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, more closely. This short sentence jumped out at me: “Mortal existence is an enigma” (p. 70). That’s exactly how I felt! My experience felt like a total mystery. But as I continued my study and prayer, it became clear to me that God is Life itself, and that man, God’s creation, is the expression of Life. The confusion that comes with “mortal existence” begins to fall away as our true, spiritual identity comes to light.
In reality, we are all ideas of God, Spirit—completely spiritual rather than material. And because Spirit is eternal, God’s creation is eternal. But it’s important to understand this from a spiritual perspective, so it’s helpful to ask ourselves whether we’re reasoning from a material or a spiritual point of view. Are we starting by thinking we are mortal beings with a life we can lose, or are we starting by acknowledging that we are completely spiritual, expressing the one Life and proving our exemption from death? As God’s spiritual ideas, all of us express eternal Life. When we understand our God-given spiritual and eternal identity, fears associated with death dissipate. Fear of dying, fearful thoughts about others passing, and even fear of not being able to get over the loss of a loved one fade into nothingness.
No one took a more radical stance on life than Christ Jesus. He proved time and time again that death has no dominion, no effect, and no legitimacy—that life can never be lost. He raised himself and others from death—proving that man is truly deathless and eternal. Jesus’ healing examples and teachings illustrate for everyone the effectiveness of prayer.
One way to follow Jesus’ example in prayer is to know that God is infinite and God is Life. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and demonstrated the Science behind Jesus’ healing works, wrote in Science and Health: “… cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious—as Life eternally is—can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony” (p. 495).
In those moments of my life where I didn’t know how to begin my prayer, I remembered these words, and found that knowing God as Spirit, and man as innately spiritual, helps to steer thought away from a painful sense of life. God as infinite Life is the only reality. And because there is only one God, one Life, death is not an additional god we have to bow to. Knowing our true origin really changes the game. When we embrace the truth that we are all created by God in His image and likeness—and with dominion—it becomes easier to know what is true about ourselves and our loved ones.
God is the true source of love, and this love can never leave us.
Through my experience, as I consciously continued knowing God and God’s idea, it became evident to me that God never created a grieving image and likeness. There couldn’t even be a grieving period, because the truth about Life excludes physical theories, diagnoses, or laws saying that a person should grieve. Prayer is not about fixing a grieving person, but about knowing that we simply are, and always have been, the image and likeness of God—free from grief!
It’s important to note that freedom from grief is not synonymous with feeling numb, not caring, or being insensitive. It’s not about masking our emotions, either; the Gospels show Jesus’ compassion for those who were grieving, or suffering in other ways. It’s about Love helping us go higher in our understanding of Life and Love in order to love more. God’s love removes the fog of mortal belief from our thought. Mrs. Eddy illustrates this in part of her poem titled “Mother’s Evening Prayer”:
O make me glad for every scalding tear, For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain! Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear No ill,—since God is good, and loss is gain. (Poems, p. 4)
The loss of a loved one may feel as though we’re losing their love as well, but it was never someone’s own personal love to give; we each express God’s spiritual and eternal love, which cannot go away. God is the true source of love, and this love can never leave us.
A Christian Science practitioner shared with me a helpful thought: “There is not a here and a there,” she said. There is nowhere one could go to leave God’s love—we are all in it, always. God is infinite, All, and therefore Love is All! Although we cannot communicate with others who have gone before us, we can still feel the divine Love that embraces all of us. Another thought this practitioner shared with me was, “Love (God) doesn’t know distance, space, or time.” These thoughts helped me know that I was never for an instant separated from Love. Instead of grieving in times of loss, I felt God comforting me, and I was able to love and care for others even more. I realized that Love can never be taken away from anyone.
What a true and complete joy it is for us all to learn that Love does not leave us when someone passes on! God’s love buoys us up to see the true spiritual picture, and we begin to see ourselves and our loved ones as we are and always have been—completely spiritual and eternal. Through prayer, this reality comes to light: that all of God’s children are strong, resilient, buoyant, loved, protected, and complete forever. There is no circumstance that can ever take away the love with which God infinitely supplies us.