A LOOK AT LIFE
By: Ginny Luedeman
February 28, 2005
Dinner with my Mom and Dad was nice that Friday night.
But not when Mom reminds us that she doesn’t want to live to be 90,
because of all of the physical challenges associated with aging. And
90 for her, isn’t too many years down the road.
Death isn’t a fun dinner topic, but Mom and Dad are facing the loss of some dear friends, as well as other struggles of aging. Talking can make it easier. We comfort one another in the reminder that the spiritual qualities our friends express are forever. We all agree that there’s more to those we care about than what dies. Still, there’s a sense of loss to deal with. Death isn’t easy for most of us to face. In fact, it can be a scary unknown.
The next morning, without thinking much about it, I check the fish tank. I take no notice of the lovely fish swimming in and out of the rocks. Instead, I search the top of the tank to see if any of them have died. I try to remove any I find before the kids get up, wanting to spare them the sadness. Not long ago I found a floating fish, but the remaining ones have been with us a long time now. Isn’t this the loving thing to do?
Then I go to the window and check on our feral cat, Annabelle. We’ve been taking care of her for about 16 years. We provide her with a heated bed, food, a cat box, water, and a caged-in area that she can get in and out of without competition from other wild cats and critters here in the country. This morning she’s really still. So I watch carefully to see that she’s still breathing, until I’m satisfied that she’s alive. The right thing to do, I figure.
Our aging Great Dane, Brick, isn’t anywhere to be seen, so I look for him to make sure that he’s doing OK. He’s still getting around, but not easily…Sigh! (It’s at this point I’m beginning to notice a pattern here.)
Then I see the morning newspaper sitting on the table, unread. I don’t know if I can bear the headlines.
Why don’t I feel very ready for an inspiring day? I finally ask myself. After all, it is my business as a Christian healer to have the certainty that God is the eternal Life of those who call me to pray with them. And normally I think that way in connection with my family. But discouragement is subtle.
The uneasy feeling that something isn’t quite right has now turned me to prayer. I need to feel God’s tender love to help me realize the obvious.
Opening the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy--which is one of my major resources for spiritual growth--I read: “Human birth, growth, maturity, and decay are as the grass springing from the soil with beautiful green blades, afterwards to wither and return to its native nothingness. This mortal seeming is temporal; it never merges into immortal being, but finally disappears, and immortal man, spiritual and eternal, is found to be the real man” (p. 190).
I love the use of that word found. It implies that the “immortal, spiritual, and eternal” can be discovered--and are here now. If left with only the material concept of things, I realize, we have reason to dread each new day with the prospect of its inevitable demise. Looking at life with the spiritual fact in mind, however, presents a different view.
But how in the world can I find the immortal idea of things while looking only at the human circumstances? I’m simply not looking at things right. I feel a bit hypnotized. And I want to wake up!
A study of the term spiritual life in Science and Health that day reveals many insights that take me to a higher view and inspired hope. For example, this on page 246: “Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof. Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.” That little word views really focuses my thought. It alerts me that I need to use my spiritual sense to “see” what is really going on in my home. Spiritual sense is the ability each one of us has to see things with the clarity of intelligent, God-directed perception. Looking at the fish with my spiritual sense, I see they express individuality, innocence, color, and peace. I see Annabelle, the cat, showing forth gentleness, faithfulness, receptivity, and amazing courage. And Brick, our Great Dane, is a beautiful spiritual manifestation of God’s power, love, and joy. These spiritual qualities never die.
The Godlike qualities I love and know to be the true substance of my parents are also forever. I can honor these and hold my thought steadfast to them--even if death is the topic of conversation.
I don’t’ have to believe anything about my parents, or anyone else, that doesn’t honor the spiritual reality of Life. I can remain faithful to the view that God gives us as Her loved children. I can listen to the voice that tells me to see beneath the limited perspective of the five senses and find the good, the reality of each individual and each situation.
Now I see it: Everything that God creates lives forever in the consciousness of divine Mind--the source of all true being. And that includes my parents and all the creatures in my home.
Taking a more spiritual look at the lovely little fish, at the white cat snuggled in her outdoor bed, at our big loving Dane, and at my thoughts about my parents, I find that so much more joy, love, and genuine appreciation of their individualities suddenly become apparent. The thought of having to steel myself against the loss of those I love is replaced with a sweet sense of tenderness and gratitude. I feel impelled to show a greater measure of love as I clean the cat area and pet our Dane. Compassion feels natural when Mom and I later talk on the phone about her day. A greater disbelief in the power of death, and more faith in the reality of everlasting life ,soften me and buoy my prayers. And as a bonus, I notice some physical troubles I’ve been facing fade in a warm feeling of living in God’s unchanging love. Pressure in my head has been relieved and a heavy feeling in my chest has lifted, as more buoyancy and joy have filled me. I look forward to each day with greater expectation of good.
The reality of God’s spiritual creation appears to us thought by thought. If mortality seems very real, that doesn’t in any way alter the reality of our being. It still remains here for us to discover.
I’m finding the metaphysical treasure hunt that digs deeper, and cherishes the discovery of spiritual treasures of reality, to be satisfying and naturally enriching. With each new discovery, more of the kingdom of heaven appears, right here on earth. And in that, there is fullness of life--and healing.
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