I had been serving as First Reader in my Christian Science branch church and had only three Sundays left for the completion of a three-year term. It was my habit to arrive at the church about an hour before the beginning of the service. On this particular Sunday, by the time I arrived, I had begun to feel queasy. Shortly after I entered the building, the nausea got worse. Then a painful distress gripped my upper body, and I had to lie down on the floor, hoping the pain would dissipate.
I was declaring citations from the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings, attempting to treat myself with prayer, but the pain was so severe that I could not think clearly. While I was still lying on the floor, the Second Reader and the ushers sought to comfort me and declared metaphysical truths about man’s perfect wholeness as a reflection of God. In spite of their ministries, I continued to wrestle with the pain and a feeling of pressure in my chest. Twenty-five minutes before the service was to begin, I told the Second Reader I could not read and that she would have to take my place, which she did. A former Second Reader took her place.
A fellow church member came and sat near me, praying silently.