The other evening, at the end of a very fun dinner, a newish friend of mine here in Santa Fe said something that was totally cool and quite profound to me. He is a medical doctor and had just learned that my husband and I study and practice the principles of Christian Science in our everyday life...and we both have for most of our lives.
He said, "That is so cool, to believe in something as an adult that you did as a child." I said that it was when I was an adult that Christian Science proved its worth as a way to live my whole life.
When I was a kid my brother, sisters and I attended the church of my mom. My dad attended the Christian Science church. (My parents agreed that was a reasonable plan. Pretty typical of the era, I think.) At around 7 years old, I was stung by a bee. We hustled off to the pediatrician and he gave me a shot of penicillin. As I remember, in a day or so I started to swell up and itch everywhere...feet, hands, joints, face, even inside my mouth.
Back to the pediatrician who prescribed another drug to alleviate the swelling and the itching. Didn't work. I remember being very uncomfortable -- and being popped into a cold bath with baking soda to relieve the itching.
This went on for several days. Finally, with no progress in my condition, in fact my throat felt like it was closing up and it was hard to breathe, the doctor told my mom that he was very concerned about giving me any more of the drug because it could have a harmful effect. But that he didn't know what else to do.
My mom called my dad at work, very frightened. Dad said, "Can we use Christian Science now?"
To my dad, relying on spiritual healing as defined by Christian Science was a natural and effective remedial practice. He had relied on it for most of his life. But to my mom, who had only relied on medical treatment, Christian Science was a radical approach to physical healing. But it appeared that nothing more could be done by the doctor. So she said yes.
My dad called a Christian Science practitioner, someone who is a professional spiritual healer in the Christian Science method.
He prayed through the night. Now since I was the patient, I don't know how his specific prayers actually went. But knowing what I know now about how to pray scientifically, he probably started with the definition of God as Love, as the loving Father and Mother of His entire creation. He is the All of every living thing. And since He is Love, then His creation, His Allness, must be good.
Then the practitioner would have seen me as a creation of this Father-Mother Love, so I must be good too. Could this good Creator have made anything bad, like a deathly reaction to a bee (one of His creations) or a drug? Not possible. As a child of the Good One, and a reflection of His good qualities, I cannot be susceptible to anything He did not create. I must be free. This is the principle, the law of my true and only being.
Whatever the specifics of the practitioner's prayer, I WAS free the next day. The swelling and the itching were gone.
To my mom, this experience changed her whole view of a spiritual practice. We soon started attending the Christian Science church of my dad.
For me as a kid, Christian Science was a faith tradition. But as an adult, learning how to apply the principles of its teaching, it has become a scientific practice, a practical application to any situation in my life: relationships, healing, financial challenges, career guidance, etc. The more I apply it, the bigger its worth is proven.
It is pretty cool, when I think about it...that something I accepted in my childhood (because it was all I knew) has become bigger, stronger and grander to me as an adult.
If you have ever gone back to the house you grew up in and seen it shrink before your eyes, you can get an idea of how profound the opposite effect can be.
I'm pretty grateful to my parents -- to my dad for never thinking it was "too late" or "not enough time" for Christian Science treatment, and to my mom for saying "yes." They gave me a guide for life.