Navigating Relationships with Love
Updated: Feb 7
By Elaina Simpson, C.S.
Can we pray about relationships? Yes! In fact, many of Jesus’ parables and healings related to relationships. Today, people are wondering how to get past reactionary, divisive comments on social media (writing or reading). Parents are desiring more harmony in their household with children being at home. Couples are quarantined together for longer spouts of time. Some find it hard to communicate with people who think differently than they do. Many are trying to navigate our communication and online relationships in a pandemic. No matter what’s going on, seeing our Source to be God benefits all relationships.
When wishing relationships were better, more harmonious or productive, the first inclination might be to fix that specific relationship or challenge. But in Christian Science, we learn that healing is not about changing or fixing a challenging situation. Rather, healing is shifting our perspective and therefore seeing what God sees. We are at one with our Source. So, this is not about being a separated person from God, trying to get to or look up to God. We can prayerfully view our relationships looking out from the oneness with our Source. (There aren’t recipes or formulas to prayer, as inspiration just doesn’t work that way. But it's always a good thing to start with God.) When I’ve focused specifically on God in prayer, I’ve found that the other stuff naturally falls into place. Here's a silly (but corresponding) example that helps me remember this... If my outdoor grill's flame wasn't working, I could spend hours distracted, trying to fix the grill itself. Or, I could check the source, the propane connection. If there was no propane at all in the tank, trying to fix the grill itself would be useless or even a distraction.
Anytime one feels frustrated about a relationship situation, it’s just a mental signal or invitation pray about our relationship with God. This is (in reality) the only relationship that really matters. This doesn’t mean that our relationships with others aren’t important. Prayerfully contemplating our relationship with God simultaneously reveals the oneness we all have to Love. Hence, the oneness in Love that we share with each other. Because in reality, we are all connected to, respond to, and are at one with Love.
This new focus doesn't mean important things fall by the wayside... Sure, it's wise to strive to have loving communication and to be respectful. It's wise to make sure our words are loving and nonreactive. It's okay to talk about improvement in our relationships. But when thought is on God, Love, we are naturally guided about how to view our fellow man. We also act on that understanding.
Here is a helpful definition of God:
GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 587:5)
I love to prayerfully think about each word for God. If God is the only action, what does Love in action look like? If God is all seeing, Love is all that’s seen. If God is all wise, we have wisdom to speak and act righteously…etc.
It also helps to consider God as Father-Mother Love. Mary Baker Eddy (discoverer and founder of Christian Science) writes, “Until it is learned that God is the Father of all, marriage will continue.” (SH 64:26–27) Although this is about marriage, I’ve found this to be a helpful guide for all relationships. Seeing our true Source, our true Father-Mother being of the same Source, helps us to see our connection with all around us. We are all brothers and sisters in Love, regardless of political ideology, upbringing, culture or location. I needed to pray about this subject recently. I had been accused of doing something I didn’t do. This was online in a large environmental group, and the words said weren't kind. It felt like a big accusation (in front of many people) and boy was it tempting to want to redeem myself and (gently and lovingly) share all the ways why that accusation was false. I started to get distracted with frustration. But then took a moment to focus on God, instead of reacting further. I realized both me and this individual wanted what was best, just as I did. The uncomfortable fixation and rumination dissolved instantly when I thought about God as Father-Mother Love. The situation felt much less personal, to me knowing that all of God’s creation are naturally loving. The truth about the situation ended up being shared by someone else, and the issue was resolved.
God Love, does not give us this beautiful expression of Life without showing us how to navigate it. Love brings us all the way, and that includes relationships. Eddy says, “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way.” (SH 454:18–19)
Challenges will come. But, we feel sturdy, safe, and secure knowing this connection to Love. It's about striving each day to glimpse more of what God is, in our natural oneness with Him/Her. Doing so blesses all our interactions. Our actions, thoughts, and speech align naturally with this Love and we see our fellow man as expressions of Love. _______ Unrelated to that, I'd love to share a sweet reminder that Love is all around. This photo is of a painted bunting, extremely rare to Maryland/ DC area. He was spotted the first day of the New Year. I saw him today and yesterday. His 7 colors remind me of the 7 synonyms for God and how harmoniously they work together. We call him Rainbow. :) People have been so enamored with this one that he made The Washington Post, the Guardian and morning news. I'm grateful to witness many coming together this week to appreciate God's beauty all around.
Photo credit is by a friend of mine, Prayoon. _____________ Have a lovely evening,
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