The need for Christian Science nursing care in any situation is really a call for love. In providing such loving care to others, I've derived special inspiration from this poem Mary Baker Eddy once wrote for young people called "A Verse: To the Big Children":
Father–Mother good, lovingly
Thee I seek,—
In the way Thou hast,—
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.Poems, p.69 .
"Father–Mother" expresses the unbroken, loving relation of God to man. Nursing another is a reflection of God's tender fatherhood and motherhood.
The poem also brings out that our divine Parent is good. God imparts the only qualities man can manifest, and every quality of God is good, always and in all ways. A request for Christian Science nursing care is not so much a call to help a sick or disabled person cope with limitation as it is a call to bear witness to the child, the spiritual likeness, of God, good, as whole and perfect. In responding to such a request we can pray to discern man's being as innocent and pure.
When asked to give nursing help, one can reply, "Lovingly Thee I seek." We can turn wholeheartedly to God to see the reality of His spiritual creation. Turning to God does not mean neglecting the individual who has asked for assistance. Christian Science nursing is a way of offering support for another's growing concept of his or her true identity as God's reflection. We pray to let God direct our thoughts and actions, and in this way we recognize the perfection of His children clearly and are able truly to aid those who pray for healing.
One challenge in nursing can be a temptation to believe that time is a factor in healing. When one has given nursing care to an individual for a period, it can be challenging not to see disease or limitation as attached to that person. In those instances we can consider the meaning of "Patient, meek."
Is patience just waiting for something to happen? No, patience is an active quality. Christ Jesus, in his parable of the sower and the seed, described those who receive the word of God on "good ground" as "they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." Luke 8:15. And Mrs. Eddy makes this instructive statement in Science and Health: "Patience is symbolized by the tireless worm, creeping over lofty summits, persevering in its intent." Science and Health, p. 515. To be patient is to persevere in bringing forth fruit, to be constant, to be tireless in our work.
Meekness—what a wonderful nursing quality it is! Meekness is never self-righteous or self– important; it recognizes that all good comes from God. It stands firm in the face of evil and obeys God's commands, no matter what the circumstances or the apparent consequences. Meekness causes us to turn humbly, with unswerving faith, to God for guidance in any situation. We can then echo Mrs. Eddy's words "In the way Thou hast," praying that we live the love that demonstrates God's care.
Christ Jesus once was called to come to a young girl who was dying. See Luke 8:41—56 . Here was a situation that appeared to require haste—a twelve–year–old girl's life was in danger. What human condition could call more earnestly for an immediate response? But as he went with the girl's parents to their home, Jesus stopped to heal and comfort a woman who had been suffering for twelve years from hemorrhaging. And she was immediately well. He spoke tenderly to her, telling her, "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." Jesus apparently was not concerned about time. He did what was loving and right in response to the woman's need—what his Father was requiring. And the young girl was healed just as quickly as the woman had been.
Christian Science nursing is a way of offering support for another's growing concept of his or her true identity as God's reflection.
What can we learn from our Master's example? We can bear witness to the real man and not to a discordant condition, whether labeled acute or chronic, knowing that God's power can heal in every case. We can recognize that all conditions associated with the belief of life in matter are deserving of instant, scientific prayer—prayer that denies them any validity or reality on the basis that man's health, comfort, and peace are God– given and permanent.
What length of time should we care for another? We can pray, "Be it slow or fast," as we seek to follow in the way that leads to an abiding awareness of our Father-Mother's goodness, and of another's actual being as God's spiritual, perfect image. Time is never a factor in the care God showers on His children, and the nursing care one gives in Christian Science is based on the eternal, permanent nature of God's love, not on the temporal nature of illness.
How can we know that we can meet the needs of those who call on us? How can we know that we are doing right when we stop to serve one while on our way to help another? If our thoughts are anchored in the spirit implied in the words, "Father-Mother good, lovingly Thee I seek," we will trust God to guide us each moment. And we'll follow patiently, meekly, all the way "up to Thee"—to that altitude of spiritual perception that beholds our heavenly Parent's dear love for us and for our fellowman, a love that includes eternal and ever-present health, harmony, and peace.
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