A few days ago I bought a lamp for my fabulous husband, a beautiful Italian lamp, and this morning it arrived in a large parcel. The lamp arrived unassembled – and part of the assembling had to do with a certain number of metal clips that needed to be affixed in a certain way. I tried different strategies, many strategies, but the metal clips, the angle of the lampshade, the holes – nothing seemed to fit. The lamp was intended to be a gift– and now was a complete mystery to me.
Tired of all the attempts leading me nowhere, I took a break. Impossible? I remembered the
most important first step in this small, mundane project. It is not “trial and error“,– the first step is something broader: It is to acknowledge that what we are about to do is possible: 1. to outline the project and its steps, 2. to reason it through and understand how it is to be done, 3. to stick with it – demonstrating persistence, resilience – and 4. to share it with others, be it the project itself or be it the sharing of it with others.
I was reminded of an observation, in which Mary Baker Eddy talks about the possibility of achieving all good, adding that “distrust of one’s ability to gain the goodness desired and to bring out better and higher results, often hampers the trial of one’s wings and ensures failure at the outset.“
You know, what helped me to “trust my ability to gain the goodness desired“ (in this case, gain a lamp), to see that it was humanly possible to assemble this lamp? The instruction sheet. I stopped complaining, I yielded to the steps pointed out on the sheet – and sure enough: Voilà, the lamp! I even seemed to have more physical force to complete the project, and the lamp was ready in no time, at least in very little time. I turned on the light!
This small incident holds for me three big lessons:
Big projects are the result of allegiance to the little things.
To acknowledge the possibility is fundamental.
Patience is wisdom, and instruction sheets help.
I am reminded of a time when I was incapacitated with a debilitating back injury a few years ago. I was devastated and was struggling – not only with excruciating pain and absence of movement, but also with all the depressing consequences of not being able to carry out my duties. Really the very important first step towards a full and permanent healing was the acknowledgement that healing was possible and that good was an ever-present law in every situation. My situation wasn't hopeless. The instruction sheet in the “lamp case” was now the Bible in my own need for healing. In Proverbs it even says: “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.“ (Prov. 8: 33). Sounds like a classic. The resistance against the never ending power of Love at work in my thinking and my life was overcome, and I yielded to the spiritual reality of all things. I felt divine Love, a tangible presence, empowering me with a refreshing autonomy of thought, with an inner “yes“ to wisdom and to receiving instruction – the truth of being. And received healing. Mary Baker Eddy draws from the Bible this council to bring movement and clarity to intricate affairs and blocked projects:
“A little more grace, a motive made pure, a few truths tenderly told, a heart softened, a character subdued, a life consecrated, would restore the right action of the mental mechanism, and make manifest the movement of body and soul in accord with God.”
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.