by: Ginny Luedeman
This past summer, we spent a few days at our family cabin on Lake Chelan, Washington. The beauty of the deep-blue lake is awe-inspiring. And its waters have taught me many lessons.
The surface of this 55-mile-long lake changes often. It can go from placid to stormy in a matter of minutes, because the winds blow from Canada to the North, through narrow canyon walls, before emerging onto the waters.
The evening before we headed for home, there was a storm. Some of our grandchildren squealed and bounced happily on a floating rubber island in the choppy water. They reminded me of some happy childhood memories. As kids, when we went out in the small motor boat, we had to be careful and watch up-lake for these winds, and head for home if there were any white caps visible.
When storms came, we were delighted and often took advantage of the powerful waves. If there was no lightning, we tied inner tubes to the dock with long ropes and enjoyed a wild ride. Sometimes we dived down deep under the waves and marveled at how calm it was below the troubled surface.
As an adult I've often thought about these storms, when life seems turbulent.
This helped me recently when two friends passed away suddenly-one after the other. Both were pillars of their communities, had wonderful families, and lived lives that were inspiring models of generosity and kindness.
Both times when we heard the sad news, my husband and I turned to God for a more spiritual perspective and reassurance. We prayed to be lifted above a sense of sorrow and loss. And we found inspiration in both the Bible and Science and Health. As we pondered God's allness and power, gradually our thoughts were lifted above the helplessness and injustice we felt. But a sense of loss lingered.
Thinking about the deeper meaning of the following passage from Science and Health was reassuring to me: ". . . to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good" (p. 494). I reasoned that each of the "hours" of our friends was still in the control of God, and that divine Love was still providing "all good" for them. The goodness bestowed on them, as loved children of God, was never diminished by death. They still lived with the same spiritual blessings their wonderful joyous lives had included when they were here with us. In that sense, death was nothing but a lie. I rejoiced in the understanding that their useful, abundant living, and all that included, was from God. Nothing could take from them, or from me, what God gives. The goodness that these friends' lives expressed must still be as powerful and healing as it had been. I affirmed that death couldn't kill the spiritual beauty they expressed, just as the darkest day never touches the brightness of the sun, even though it might hide it from our view.
Many angel thoughts silently and tenderly comforted me when my friends came to mind. Knowing that God's love, when understood, heals grief, I continued to listen for God, to guide my thoughts into a better sense of these friends' eternal natures. Like those times at Lake Chelan, I was going deeper-into a spiritual sense of things that revealed an undisturbed calm and an understanding of each individual's unchanging relationship to a loving Father-Mother God. And this brought me peace.
I was full of peace, gratitude, and a feeling of receptivity to God, as we headed home from our vacation this summer.
Driving along the mighty Columbia River, we were delighted to see windsurfers and kiters as we approached Hood River, a favorite site for these activities.
As we got closer, the bright multicolored sails darted this way and that, like colorful flowers blowing and billowing all over the water. The wind was high. It was a perfect, sunny day, so there was lots of activity. Drawn like a magnet to this amazing scene, we exited the freeway to get close.
Kiting is beautiful and inspiring to watch. A kiter stands on a surfboard, holding on to a handle, attached to a number of strings, strategically attached to a large C-shaped kite, high in the air. The strong Columbia Gorge winds can carry kiters many feet above the water, as they maneuver and dart this way and that. Because of our limited view and the many bends in the river, we often lost sight of kiters, only to have them reappear, shooting through the air in the opposite direction. We watched them for about an hour, rejoicing in the freedom and joy of these awesome river adventurers. Finally we hopped into our car with sandy, wind-blown hair and smiles on our faces.
As we continued home, it suddenly hit me: This kiting experience was another healing message I needed. I felt my friends were a little like those kiters-their lives offering colorful, uplifting, awe-inspiring views of God's goodness, individually expressed. They had challenged the winds of limited thinking, in everything I'd seen them do. They'd been wonderful to know and watch. They made me feel, "I can do that." They loved life. They inspired and healed those who knew them.
My limited view may not see them at this time, much the same way I couldn't see the kiters when they rounded a bend. But death could not stop the goodness of my friends' lives. I realized that my friends still live, because God is their Life. And the more I lifted my view to a higher, spiritual level, the more I could perceive the continuing activity of God's goodness in their lives. I could see what is continuously present-the perfection of God's creation.
Jesus' view of life was so close to God that the belief of death was wiped out in the presence of his spiritual understanding. Jesus assured us that being is continuous and deathless. He proved that death can't kill Life. For me, this statement from Science and Health, referring to God as Life, Truth, and Love, really comes to light in the life of Jesus: "The beauty of holiness, the perfection of being, imperishable glory,-all are Mine, for I am God. I give immortality to man, for I am Truth. I include and impart all bliss, for I am Love. I give life, without beginning and without end, for I am Life" (p. 253).
Christian Science teaches how, thought by thought, we can awaken to a more spiritual sense of existence, until the time comes when the belief of death no longer has any power over us, and life will be seen as continuous and forever good.
My friends are still living beautiful, colorful, and active lives. They're soaring and loving life, as they always have. I get it!
That day, as we continued along toward home, everything sparkled with the promise of Love's tender and continuous care of Her creation. Tears of gratitude overflowed as a warm assurance flooded my thought. I thanked God for lifting me to a better understanding of Life's eternal nature. Now I feel close to my friends. The sorrow is healed. And I know that the same Love that lifted me is healing all of their friends, and their families, too.
Ginny Luedeman lives in Salem, Oregon, with her husband and two of their children. She is a Christian Science practitioner.
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