Recently I was out walking the dog around the pond by apartment. It had been very cold, and just the night before we had a light dusting of snow. It was a beautiful morning, but the snow covered some icy patches on the path making them hard to see. My dog started to slide around, and noticing this, I thought I would be safe by walking in the grass. However, for some reason there was a huge sheet of ice that not only covered the path but the grass around it. Next thing I know, I was on the ground.
At this point, I’d love to say that my first thought was turning to God to know that I was safe, as ever, in Love’s warm embrace. But that’s not what happened. First I stood up, frustrate, even angry and check to see if I was hurt. Nothing seemed to be too sore, other than my ego. But then my thought went to self-righteous anger at the apartment management company for not salting the path. I thought about how I should march right into the office to tell them I had fallen and was hurt… but was I? I checked again… not really. Well, I could have gotten hurt, that’s what I’d say… but could I?
Well, some might say, yes, of course you could have been seriously hurt, that’s so dangerous, they should do better. But when I think about this through the lens of Divine Science, I know that the truth of my being as God’s perfect creation is perfection, wholeness. Right then I started to check my thought and recognize that from God’s point of view, I could never fall from grace. I could never lack grace – both in the sense of being graceful, and in the sense of abundant goodness, kindness and blessing poured forth from the Divine.
In one of my favorite books, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way, “When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you;” that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal.” (SH 476:28–32) She also speaks of man as “unfallen, upright, pure, and free”. (SH 171:4) So, I knew I could see my self as unfallen and free.
I started, however, to get back to my thinking about the management company and how I should give them a piece of my mind… if not for myself, for others. What if someone else fell and got injured? But, if God’s man can never fall from grace, doesn’t that also cover my neighbors? It’s not to say that it’s not right to take actions that are practical and wise to keep people safe, but I had to check my motives here. Because really, it seemed like I was looking for any excuse to justify my anger and frustration. And the more I got angry, and rehearsed what I might tell the management company the more my shoulder began to ache.
Well, that’s ridiculous I thought. Why am I letting my thought get so spun up here? I know the truth about my being and I began to hold more closely to that idea that if I couldn’t fall from grace, my thought couldn’t be filled with anything but grace.
Later that evening, my friend came over for dinner. I had been still dealing with some soreness in my shoulder and was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I told my friend I had fallen on the ice. His response… “Cool!”
Well, here comes that anger and frustration again… How could he say that? But this time, I caught myself more quickly. What did I really want his response to be? Was I looking for pity? That’s not me! I’m not pitiful…
I recognized this thought was just another trick to get me to give into this story that I could fall from grace. But no! Not a fall, not self-righteous indignation, not self-pity could keep me from experiencing God’s unending, ever-present, abundance grace and goodness!! Enough was enough! I would not be tricked… And recognizing this, I felt the power behind Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods.” (SH 67:23)
That night I went to bed feeling at peace and woke up perfectly well.