I WAS TEN WHEN my mother passed on, and in the years that followed, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing. I missed my mom, of course, but I also missed having a mom. While all my needs were taken care of, and I certainly felt loved, it seemed like I was having to do without the special little touches that a mother brings to your life—that unspoken understanding of what you need when you need it, the pat on the back when things are going well, the shoulder to cry on when they aren't. It wasn't something I wallowed in, but it was always there in the background: I was motherless.
The absence felt especially acute during my last semester in college, when it seemed like everybody except me knew what they would be doing after graduation. Entry-level jobs in journalism proved more elusive than I'd expected, and I actually received so many rejection letters from newspapers around the country that, in a desperate effort at humor, I used them to wallpaper my dorm room. To make matters worse, the long-term relationship I'd been in ended, and increasingly it seemed that, come graduation, I would be solitary, homeless, and unemployed.
I wanted my mom. I wanted her to stroke my hair, tell me that everything would be OK, maybe even promise to fix it for me. I gave in to the self-pity for a while, even spent a day sobbing in my dorm room. Finally, when it became clear that tears weren't getting me anywhere, I decided that I might as well read the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson. Who knew—maybe it would help.