I used to drive about an hour each way to my place of work. I would usually spend the beginning of this time thinking prayerfully in preparation for the day, sometimes addressing something specific in my own thought, or issues going on in the world that I felt needed prayerful attention.
One winter morning about five years ago, I was reaching out to God for a clearer idea of my spirituality as a child of God as I drove, looking to really understand with more clarity what Christian Science teaches about man (meaning each one of us) being spiritual, not material. As I did so, I started to feel more peaceful and confident in the reality of my being as God’s child.
Each time I thought I was finished praying, and reached to turn on the radio or began thinking about something else, it became immediately clear that I needed to continue praying, especially because the road conditions were dangerous on account of an unusually harsh winter. Suddenly, I hit a patch of black ice near the side of the road, which rocketed my car out of control across the highway. I hit the tail end of another car and then the snowbank on the right side of the road. This launched my car through the air and into the forest, where it rolled a few times, finally landing upside down.
Despite my complete loss of control over the car, I had felt totally protected and unafraid. During the drive my individuality as a spiritual idea of God had become so clear to me that I knew I would not be hurt. The car was totaled and most of the sides were smashed in or severely damaged, but my seat was untouched. I did have my seat belt on, which I was grateful for. But I knew that, ultimately, that wasn’t what had protected me.
This experience reminds me of a passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy beside the marginal heading “Material body never God’s idea.” It reads: “Whatever is material is mortal. To the five corporeal senses, man appears to be matter and mind united; but Christian Science reveals man as the idea of God, and declares the corporeal senses to be mortal and erring illusions. Divine Science shows it to be impossible that a material body, though interwoven with matter’s highest stratum, misnamed mind, should be man,—the genuine and perfect man, the immortal idea of being, indestructible and eternal. Were it otherwise, man would be annihilated” (p. 477).
The correct understanding of man, given to us through Christ and Christian Science, was my ultimate source of protection and safety that morning.
After the car stopped rolling, I unbuckled my seat belt and lowered myself in the overturned car, thanking God for my complete protection and declaring that the driver of the car I had hit was also protected. And I established in my thought that all mankind is innately spiritual—just as I had recognized so clearly my own spiritual nature that morning.
Two truckers who had seen the accident quickly stopped on the side of the highway and helped me safely out of the car. They also checked on the man in the other vehicle, who was also safe.
When the police and firemen arrived a few minutes later, everyone was surprised to find me entirely unharmed. They asked me again and again if I was all right, and started telling me what a traumatic experience I had been through. I was able to convince everyone that I was fine, and they eventually let me leave with my fiancé (now my husband), whom I had called to come for me after the accident.
My fiancé and I spent the rest of the day taking care of all the practical steps necessary to handle the situation with the damaged car. Although everyone helped us very quickly and lovingly, I was required to share the details of the accident multiple times that day. Many people assumed I was experiencing trauma or shock and constantly asked me if I was all right. I continued to assure people that I was fine, but as we went from place to place, I began to feel increasingly uncomfortable about the accident and fearful at the idea of driving again the next morning. By the end of the day I was feeling emotionally exhausted and mesmerized by the constant retelling of what I had gone through. The peaceful understanding and truth I had gained about my complete spirituality as God’s child, which had protected me from feeling any sense of fear or disharmony that morning, was no longer occupying my thought.
My fiancé suggested I call a Christian Science practitioner for support. I did so, and after explaining to her what had happened that morning and how I was feeling, she asked me to get out my copy of Science and Health and read the following: “Science shows that material, conflicting mortal opinions and beliefs emit the effects of error at all times, but this atmosphere of mortal mind cannot be destructive to morals and health when it is opposed promptly and persistently by Christian Science. Truth and Love antidote this mental miasma, and thus invigorate and sustain existence” (pp. 273–274).
As we read this passage together, the fear completely disappeared and I was reminded with full effulgence that I was and always had been God’s idea, spiritual and perfect. The same control and peace I had felt that morning immediately returned. I recognized that I had not firmly, mentally rejected, on the basis of the truths of Christian Science, those opinions and beliefs of the people around me who were telling me how I should feel. I had let myself become mesmerized by the false, material picture rather than continuing to hold in prayer to the divine reality that was forever in action.
My favorite sentence in the passage above is the line that reads, “Truth and Love antidote this mental miasma, and thus invigorate and sustain existence.” I drove peacefully to work the next morning and have remained free of any fear or disharmony of thought resulting from the accident. I am so grateful for Christian Science and the complete harmony it sustains.
Roslindale, Massachusetts, US
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