There is an eternal wealth of Love, an endless space for the expressions of divine Love, infinite modes of divine goodness. We all are part Love's everlasting, graceful design. All of the goodness that is God and that is from God, is expressed in His/Her children. Each one of us. So our potential to be part of Love's warmth and care and healing presence isn't so much materially personal, it's actually divine.
So how do we experience this practical, healing effect of Love in our lives? Is giving more noble than receiving - is helping more powerful than being helped?
The day when I understood the huge dimension in this question, I had a conversation with a family member. And as we talked I could see that it is truly divine to perceive the need of help and let others give it. Within the infinity of Love there is room for everything, and the ability to accept help with grace is glorious.
I read in the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy:
"... the exercise of the sentiments — hope, faith, love — is the prayer of the righteous. This prayer, governed by Science instead of the senses, heals the sick.
In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes, — Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply." (SH 206:10-18)
When I read this once again, it became pretty obvious to me, that the practice of hope, faith, and love, is a prayer that is honorable and needed by both - caregiver and the one receiving care. The individual who is helping at a certain moment and the individual who is being helped can both exercising hope, faith, and love in their own individual way. It is a generous thing to be grateful and patient while being helped, while at the same time the individual giving help is being blessed because he/she is in a position into which the other individual brought him/her in the first place - under the guidance of divine Love. Whatever is truly beneficial to one must be a blessing to all because of the underlying law of the fairness, equality, and recompense of Love. God has only favorite children.
As I took a train home the same day I was open to this glorious freedom of divine Love in a special way. So more times than I can count I was just there when someone needed something, and I could give it. I could answer questions or be a calm and support for someone in a dire spot because of a cancelled train. When I started my walk home from the train station I stopped at a stationary story and there again was involved two times in a kind of improvised q&a session, which I could master and share answers.
At home I was confronted with our daughter's information that her bike was missing, and since this is so out of the question, we only briefly spoke about the possibilities where it might be. Since the option of a possible theft was completely rejected, the openness to a different answer was there. So it became clear where the bicycle should be, and there it turned out to be.
I have been in the last months on the receiving end of help many times - and I have been able to give help many times. I am deeply grateful to see more clearly the healing and empowering effect of Love in both modes of living. I also remembered spiritual insights from looking at different ways of responding to a gift. I wrote about it here.
So Love is expressed in the way we see the needs of others and respond to the best of our abilities with a generous heart. And Love is expressed in the grace and nobility in which we accept help being given to us without any reservation, shame, or selfishness. There is a wonderful equality from the perspective of divine Love - the dance of Love needs all participants and the rhythm is Soul, God.
You receive an unexpected, wonderful gift, thoughtfully wrapped. Or a fabulous bouquet of flowers. A friend, a colleague, a family member is presenting it with gratitude and joy. The accompanying card expresses thankfulness for what you are and what you do. How do you respond?
"For me? Really?" or "You needn't have bothered!" or "You shouldn't spend your money and time on me, honey." or "I really don't deserve it".
Look again at these responses: You will have voiced them yourself or have noticed them from others. Do you see a pattern? It is all about "me", not one word about the gift, not one word about the giver. I wonder how a false sense of modesty, how shyness or a twisted concept of good education can cover for long this quite upfront self-centeredness.
Take the offer of our dignity and worth, our spiritual, safe, progressive being as a gift from God to you. How do you respond? After all, it is a priceless offer to have harmony and peace expressed in your human experience, to have physical and mental obstacles overcome, relationships released, supply demonstrated. Do you accept this divine gift with grace? Spiritual texts often describe the offer of a life in God and from God as a gift. Such as these words from a dear hymn #45:
"For this Thy gift unspeakable,
The beauty of Love's holiness,
We lift our hearts in grateful song
And would be always praising Thee."
I received a few months ago a brief e-mail from a patient describing a challenging skin condition. He was embarrassed by this visible handicap. The common treatment for this inherited condition involved high doses of a certain medication, which he was afraid to use. His question was: Should I have medical treatment or should I rely on Christian Science?
With gratitude for this open door to healing I wrote back that I couldn't counsel him, but that I would like to suggest this: Healing is not an achievement, the result of an effort in a certain direction, but a natural gift from God. The question then, I proposed, should be rephrased: Are you willing to accept the gift of healing?
Taking up the analogy of the gift he wrote back that he wanted to open the gift but didn't know where to find the end of the ribbon. In my second response I underlined that it wasn't so much the question of where to start taking the gift apart but what to expect from the gift itself. As with all kinds of gifts, expectation speeds the unwrapping and in the long run it doesn't matter where you start pulling the ribbon or how you open the gift.
The green light for spiritual healing went on. I opened my thought to listen quietly to a healing idea. It came to me in the form of a quote from that week's Bible Lesson: "In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, — self-will, self-justification, and self-love, — which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death." [Science and Health, p. 242]
I rejoiced in the universal power of Love, embracing the universe, washing away and dissolving by its very nature anything unlike good. A week later I received the note that the very same afternoon the symptoms were suddenly completely gone. A stunning healing to him, an open door for much more to come.
So how do you accept a gift from now on? With grace and joy. And with the only honorable response which honors the giver and gift equally:
"Thank you very much!"
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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