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Extreme symptoms seen for what they were (not)

From the September 2012 issue of The Christian Science Journal

The spring of my senior year of college I was on the varsity baseball team, and on a Thursday afternoon I went to baseball practice, as usual. We always started our practices with a metaphysical focus, followed by stretching as a team. However, just a few minutes into our stretching routine, I felt discomfort in my back and knew immediately that something wasn’t right. 

I left practice and walked down to the locker room, but during my walk the pain became alarming and I started to feel nauseous. Within minutes of getting to the locker room I was on the floor, overcome by the aggressive picture. I knew that I needed Christian Science treatment. 

After speaking to a Christian Science practitioner, I was able to rise to my feet and return to my dorm on campus. I did my best to join the practitioner in claiming my freedom from the material picture, but I soon became overwhelmingly distracted by the pain, and I was sick to my stomach, too. I couldn’t get comfortable in any position. 

A dear friend of mine, who lived on the same hall, advised that I go to the Christian Science nursing facility on campus. By this time I was really struggling to find clarity in my thought. 

At one point, I was on the phone with the practitioner and he asked me to recite the Lord’s Prayer, but about halfway through I couldn’t remember the next line. This is a prayer I say every day! Clearly the mesmerism was intense. As I left for the Christian Science nursing facility, my friend, who helped arrange for a Christian Science nurse to pick me up, recited a Bible passage: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). 

Later that evening, both the practitioner and a Christian Science nurse separately recited that exact quote to me, without any knowledge of its having been previously shared. This was further evidence to me of the presence of divine Love. Despite my not being able to clearly declare any other truths for myself, this verse was the one truth I could remember, and I consciously held on to it as diligently as I could.

I spoke with the practitioner again on the phone in my private room at the Christian Science nursing facility, and had continued loving care from the Christian Science nurses there. I fell asleep for a couple of hours, but when I awoke in the middle of the night, I was still in pain, so I called the practitioner again. After a few minutes of conversation, we spent the next 45 minutes on the phone in silent communion with God. 

After we hung up, I got myself to the desk in my room and pulled out a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Being familiar with “the scientific statement of being” (see p. 468) and Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of man as “the full representation of Mind” (p. 591), I was able to read through them both, claiming each and every line to be a deep, conscientious protest of Truth (see Science and Health, p. 12). 

I then lay back down on the bed and fell asleep. I woke up three hours later around 5:30 in the morning, and before opening my eyes, I knew the healing was complete.

With utter joy and freedom, I got out of bed and took a shower, informed the Christian Science nurse that the healing was complete, had a glass of cranberry juice, climbed back into bed, and slept like a baby till noon.

Beyond the freedom from this aggressive suggestion of illness, I’ve taken so much away from this healing. That afternoon, after rejoicing with the practitioner and expressing gratitude for the diligent work he’d done in supporting my understanding of my untouched spiritual identity (even when I was incoherent at times), I spent time savoring the efficacy of the healing through prayer and study. I turned back to that passage in Second Timothy that had been my lighthouse in the storm the evening before. 

Knowing that God gives us the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind, I knew that this condition, although it had been super aggressive, had never really been a part of me. It made no mark on my spiritual identity and has not given me any vestige of a complaint since. I’ve been completely free since that day and returned to the baseball field for the rest of the season.

This healing also gave me a deeper appreciation for the work that Christian Science practitioners and Christian Science nurses do. Through the entire healing, the practitioner was “present,” being fully supportive and understanding, seeing my true expression—as God’s reflection—through all the claims of the physical body. The Christian Science nurses were so tender with me, despite my shortness with them and my inability to clearly communicate with them. 

This brings me to an important lesson that I think is beneficial for all of us as Christian Scientists. I know from my own experience that I have hesitated to call a practitioner because I felt it would show that I was ineffective in being able to bring about healing in my experience. With a physical healing like the one I’ve just shared, the decision to call a practitioner was easy. I knew that the pain was going to cloud my clear thought and that I wanted to enlist the help of a metaphysician to work with me. But when it’s a relationship issue, academic challenges for students, workplace struggles, or wrestling with sinful thoughts, we sometimes face resistance to calling a practitioner for help. 

I’ve come to realize that there is no need for this resistance. Calling for help doesn’t invalidate the prayer we are doing for ourselves; it only strengthens our own metaphysical work as we allow the Truth to dissolve the lie. In addition, the fear of judgment is a resistance that should be set aside. Admitting that we’re working to face down a claim doesn’t invite judgment; it invites love. A desire to purify one’s thought is a right motive, and as Mrs. Eddy says, “Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action” (Science and Health, p. 454).

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