AROUND 1915, my mother and father read a Christian Science lecture in a local newspaper. Shortly after reading it, my mother, who had been scheduled to have a hysterectomy, no longer needed the surgery. (Had she had that operation I would never have been born!) Soon after reading the same lecture a few weeks later, my father was healed of rheumatism. My parents then began studying Christian Science and putting into practice the healing ideas they learned. They moved to Hawaii and the family grew. All six children had many healings, including me.
In my midteens, I was stricken with paralysis in my right leg and couldn't walk. Mother wrote to a Christian Science practitioner on another island to pray for me. Communications were by letter on a biweekly interisland steamer. Bedridden and with much time on my hands, I spent my waking hours reading a variety of books friends and family brought to me. I loved to read, especially biographies. After a few months, my mother suggested that I read the biography of Mary Baker Eddy by Sybil Wilbur. While reading this book, I vividly remember feeling a profound sense of gratitude for Mary Baker Eddy, who dedicated her life to sharing the revelation of the Christ Science with the world. Healing immediately followed. I got out of bed that day and walked for a short distance for the first time in months, and went on to walk normally thereafter. I have never had a recurrence of that condition.
One winter, years later, when my husband and I were traveling to church over icy roads on a mountain pass in California, our car skidded and rolled over several times. Though the vehicle was severely damaged, my husband was all right. But I was immobile. I was airlifted to a Christian Science nursing facility in San Francisco for Christian Science nursing care.
Paralyzed from the neck down, I required much nursing care. I also had daily Christian Science treatment from a Christian Science practitioner. After a couple of months, although I was not healed, and although I appreciated all the wonderful, skilled Christian Science nursing care I had received, I decided to go home. Because our home was a five-hour drive to the facility, my husband could only come on weekends to visit me, and other family members lived too far away to visit at all.
My mother, who was by then a Christian Science practitioner, came to live with us to help care for me. And we assembled a small team of people who assisted my mother and husband. Although I continued to need a great deal of care, their combined willingness and expertise met my needs. I also continued to have Christian Science treatment from a practitioner.
Progress was slow at first. In fact, for a few months I felt I made no progress at all. I wrestled a lot with feeling sorry for myself, with what I call the "PLM syndrome" (for "poor little me"). Here I was, a lifelong Christian Scientist, unable to do much of anything for myself, not demonstrating the truth I knew so well about being the perfect expression of perfect God, divine Life. But I did not give up. I persisted in praying to understand that I had never fallen out of God's always-present care.
One day about four months after returning home, sitting in my chair looking out the window at a glorious view—a beautiful expanse of a deep-blue lake surrounded by pine-clad mountains—I said to myself, I know it's true that I'm God's perfect child, yet I still feel sorry for myself and am miserable. But I also know that it says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, "Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love" (p. 57). So I deeply prayed right then about my happiness being wholly spiritual. And that my joy and happiness could not be hampered, controlled, or dependent on what the physical picture presented about me. That same day—after having had no feeling or mobility in my torso for many months—I felt a twinge in my spine. My heart leaped for joy knowing that healing was indeed occurring.
As a teenager when my leg was paralyzed, I got up and walked immediately after having a deep sense of gratitude, but in this instance, I needed to grow in my understanding. Mary Baker Eddy gave this prayer "for the big children," which I found a great source of encouragement as well:
Father-Mother good, lovingly
Thee I seek,—
In the way Thou hast,—
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.
(Poems, p. 69)
With the continued prayers of dear practitioners and the unfolding of deeper spiritual understanding, through my own study of Science and Health and the Bible and through my own prayer, over the next couple of months I gradually regained mobility. Within eight months from the time the injury occurred, with no other care than Christian Science treatment, I was fully healed and able to return to an active life of teaching, gardening, sailing with family, and swimming. Now in my ninth decade, whenever the opportunity arises, I still enjoy swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful blue and turquoise ocean.
This healing took place 38 years ago and remains a beacon of promise for me as I continue to turn to an understanding of God for all my health needs.
KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII, US