When I was growing up, my father was my best friend. There were no children my age living near us, so he took on the responsibility of both educating and entertaining me. We played baseball and football in the backyard, hockey and basketball in the basement, and listened to classical and jazz music in the living room. He taught me about Socrates and Plato, Shakespeare and Milton, Washington and Jefferson. From him I learned the courage and self-respect born of absolute integrity, the joyous blessing of humor tempered by compassion, the special gentleness that can come only from great strength. He loved me, guided me, picked me up when I fell down, and encouraged me when I faltered. He was my playmate, my companion, my confidant. He was all I thought I needed.
Then after a long illness he passed on. I felt angry and betrayed. How could an all-good, all-wise, all-loving God allow such a wonderful man, whose life had been spent helping others, to suffer and die? It seemed outrageous, arbitrary, unfair. This was my first major challenge as a new student of Christian Science. I wondered if I would be able to put into practice concretely what I was learning about God in the abstract. Was it all just words, or would prayer and study really bring me comfort and healing?
Feeling discouraged and hopeless, I telephoned a Christian Science practitioner and poured out my grief and despair. I had never called a practitioner before and didn't know what to expect. The practitioner didn't feel sorry for me, agree with me that it was a cruel and unjust world, or say, "There, there, everything's going to be all right." What she said was, "Sing hymns until you feel like singing."