A few weeks ago I attended a meeting at Lake Constance. At an early morning walk through the vineyards I paused for reflection and listening and started noting some gorgeous escargots. I watched them for a while, continued the grateful acknowledgment of God, something I love to start my day with, and then returned mentally to the escargots. But they had already moved on to a different spot. "Interesting", I thought. Never underestimate a snail.
There is actually a real Snail-Watching Society out there. It was founded in London in 1945 by Peter Henniker-Heaton --- a society whose very existence contributed to a healing of the founder of the society himself. (Here an article in Time magazine about the society). While being brought down by paralysis and confined to his home, friends encouraged Peter Henniker-Heaton to get to know snails better. These friends were truly friends! What started as a family joke contributed to the refinement of his spiritual sense. Peter Henniker-Heaton with the unfailing support of his wife Rose, prayed, listened, and fought diligently for his healing, also with the help of snail watching. The full restoration to health came after ten years of persistence and insistence on the supreme government of God and the ever harmonious state of God and man. He describes some of his insights here. His life as a Christian Science practitioner, journalist, editor, poet blossomed into a life of deep impact on the Christian Science movement and humanity.
Patience - the deeper spiritual meaning of patience is at the root of the miraculous strength of persistence, endurance, and resilience. From a spiritual perspective we know how it all ends. Or, as Alicia Keys recently at a performance shouted into the audience: "The King says: The last word must always be love."
So patience doesn't lead into the dark, but out of it. Patience doesn't hold us in a never ending labyrinth of troubles. Patience is building on a higher view, it enables us to move forward even if in slow-motion. But forward. Patience, you might say, is the new courage. "Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride," we read in Ecclesiastes (7:8, NLT).
This poem by Peter Henniker-Heaton works out the concept of patience, like only he could do. It was published in his wonderful collection of poetry entitled "Jubilee".
Not through the valleys lies the road
But over lofty peaks of right desire,
On every hand the wonder of God’s
And Soul’s serene and sun-bright
Not through the slough of tedium and
The road of patience runs, but on the hills
Of firm resolve and steadfast recognition
That man expresses God and never fails.
Not through the desert lies the road of
But cool and green the fields on either
And from the eternal Truth, its rock
Joy’s living fountains leap and laugh
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.