News of language barriers between volunteers and children at a US border facility prompted today’s contributor – who faced a similar challenge working at a refugee camp in Asia – to share ideas about the power of divine Love in fostering meaningful connections.
I just returned from two weeks at a summer camp, where I served as a Christian Science Practitioner to a group of 34 teenage junior leaders, and nine staff members. This means I had the privilege of supporting the spiritual growth and development of the group as well as supporting Christian healing… and healings were abundant during this two weeks. What is it about the atmosphere at camp that supports rapid and even instantaneous healing? This morning I listened to a Daily Lift podcast entitled The healing power of humor by Joel Magnes, CS, from Vancouver, Washington, USA – in which Joel quotes the Common English Bible as saying
Well, joy was something we talked about a lot during this session at camp. We reflected on how it is an inherent quality within each and every one of us, because it is a quality of Spirit. It isn’t dependent on external factors, but comes from within and from our Creator… and therefore it cannot be taken away when circumstances in our lives or our environment change. Joy is often associated with child-likeness… not childishness which is different. Child-likeness is that quality that Jesus talked about:
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I love this idea that we all must be as a little child, and express that child-like innocence, purity, goodness, whole-hearted trust in our Father-Mother… and joy, exuberant joy that is natural to each of us!!
Just today I saw a post on social media that talked of the joy in the little things, showing a small child playing in the rain and puddles in a duck jacket/umbrella… and shortly thereafter, a clip from a TED talk about joy and the need for color in our lives, in our schools and work places. The world is crying out to be more joyful and yet it is right there within each of us to express.
It was fun embracing my own child-likeness at camp trying new things like zip-lining and wake-boarding for the first time… and riding roller coasters at an amusement park for the first time since I was a teenager. At summer camp, the joy spreads and catches and carries us with it but we have to remember that it is not our surroundings that are the cause of joy… it is our reflection of Spirit, of Life, of Love that allows us to express joy no matter where we are or who we are with. We can all be that radiant light of love and laughter, anywhere and everywhere!
When a camper was down I often referenced the bold lines of this favorite hymn, knowing that there is nothing that can take away our joy, when we walk with Love!!
FIFA World Cup soccer (or football as most of the world calls it) is one of my favorite events and I look forward to it every four years. This year, while I was telling my five-year old nephew about it, I pulled out an old atlas and found a map of the world. I showed him where all the countries were that were playing that day, and that they were coming from Australia and Peru, which were on opposite side of this particular map, and meeting in Russia which was kind of in the upper middle of the map, and then I pointed to all the other countries from Senegal to Iceland to Saudi Arabia and South Korea. We talked about how amazing it was that people from all over the world, who speak different languages and have different cultures and customs come together in one place, just to play soccer together! Our conversation got me even more excited about the whole event, and I felt a bit of child-like wonder that it could happen at all, especially in today’s climate where some of the countries don’t always play well together when it comes to politics.
The idea that soccer can be an equalizer and even community builder, and that people who speak different languages can come together to play reminded me of a few times when I’ve used soccer as a way to connect with others who I couldn’t otherwise communicate with, particularly children. One example was when I was working in a refugee camp in Thailand for refugees from Burma. I was in an area of the camp where many children stayed alone because their parents were either still in Burma, in Thailand trying to find work, or who had died in the conflict. Most of the children spoke little or no English.
Often, the boys would come together on a soccer pitch, that was really a patch of rocky dirt, put a couple of markers down on either end for goals – sometimes a sandal, other times a shirt – and just play. A few lucky ones had gotten cleats or boots from an aid worker or volunteer, but most played barefoot. Having played soccer in the past, I decided to join them. Since I didn’t have anything but sandals, I too played barefoot. Initially I was not totally accepted, but after I got the ball once or twice and was able to make a few plays, they let me join in anytime. I enjoyed playing with them often. We couldn’t communicate through words but we had soccer.
I found this to be a useful tool again when I was in a remote village in the dry dusty plains of the Western Province of Zambia. During a field visit to this part of the country, I had the opportunity to spend the night in the village. There was a translator on the trip because no one from this area spoke English. There were many children around, and it appeared they did not get too many visitors that looked like me. Some were curious, others seemed a bit nervous. One had a “ball” made of bunched up plastic grocery bags bound with string and was showing off his juggling skills bouncing it from one knee to the other. Once when he dropped it and it rolled my way. Much to his amazement, I scooped it up with my foot, juggled it a few times and then kicked it back to him. From there, he and I and several other children spent the next hour running around playing soccer. There was plenty of laughter and comradery.
What makes these experiences meaningful, was not the game, but the love and joy and kinship and laughter that was shared. It was this love that spoke to each other, connecting us heart-to-heart, when words were meaningless. Though it was challenging conditions, and I was surrounded by seeming lack, loss and suffering at times, it was in this remote dusty village and that isolated camp in the mountainous jungle, where I saw that the power of love can break through any barrier even that of language. Perhaps it was the love of the game, the sheer childlike joy and love of play, the shared laughter, but I think these are expressions of a larger more encompassing Divine Love that is embracing each and every one of us each moment.
I was recently visiting with a friend, while out for a walk with my dog Tillie, who talked to me about the challenges of her family living paycheck-to-paycheck each month. She wondered aloud if some people are just unlucky or end up poor their whole lives. My heart broke for her and her struggle, as I had recently been contemplating the idea of supply and its source as well.
I had been praying to know that our supply comes from our eternal Provider. Pioneering thinker, Mary Baker Eddy writes in one of my favorite books, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,
“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”
I have seen evidence of this Love she speaks of meeting my needs time and time again… and I’ve found I have to eliminate every doubt and fear that it wouldn’t happen again. But how?
An article by L. Ivimy Gwalter in the August 15, 1936 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel, entitled Supply as Spiritual Reflection, puts it this way:
The sun does not say, If only I had not shone quite so much yesterday, I should have more light with which to shine today. The fact that it shone yesterday is the proof that it can shine today. Yet (we) are prone to say, “If I had not spent so much yesterday,” or even, “If I had not given so much yesterday, I should have more today.”
There is a lot in this world that makes us think we come from a place of lack… sometimes that is all we can see – lack of money or resources, lack of health, lack of love – but when we pause and give gratitude for all we already have, it can change our point of view to a standpoint of abundance. As Mrs. Eddy points out,
“Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.”
Gratitude has such a transformative and healing power!
(And I was certainly grateful for spending time with my friend and my dog, Tillie, on this beautiful day at the park by a lake!!)
My friend and I talked about how her jobs were not just to make money but to bless those that she’s in contact with, and that she can’t suffer from blessing others but will find the infinite supply she needs. Mrs. Eddy also states,
“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.”
Jesus was able to demonstrate that our true source of supply isn’t material but spiritual when he was able to feed thousands of people, from a few loaves of bread and a handful of fish. He gave gratitude first and blessed the food and then asked everyone to share. And there were many baskets of food left over… even after,
Jesus proved that our true source is actually Spirit, Love… Divine Love. And we can too.
The following is actually the opening line of the book I mentioned, and it is one that I turn to time and again… I shared it with my friend.
“To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.” 
We need to lean into that Love, that sustaining power in our lives and trust it, and we will find those many blessings… not just for ourselves but for everyone around us. This idea really resonated with my friend, and I hope it helps you as well!
 Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 494
 L. Ivimy Gwalter, Supply as Spiritual Reflection, Christian Science Sentinel, August 15, 1936
 Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 3
 Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 206
Thanks for joining me in an exploration spirituality and how it relates to harmony and healing, as I launch my full-time practice of Christian Science healing!! I am so excited for this step in my journey and would love to talk to you about how healing works and how your spiritual practice supports you in your life… how you find a sense of peace in the busyness of our hectic lives… how you feel the presence of love that expels fear and loneliness… and how you connect spirituality to health and wholeness.
Since I was young, I’ve loved learning about different religions, theologies, spiritual practices, cultures and people. I also love being of service and helping those in need. It is my love of the Divine and my love of humanity that drives me to serve in this way. And I have found in my own journey that it is love… a deep, profound, Divine Love… that heals all discord – mentally and physically.
In all the work I’ve done around the world,* I can’t imagine a better way to serve at this point, than in the healing ministry…. Supporting others through prayer and the exploration of spiritual ideas to find healing the presence of Love in their lives.
The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love.
When I shared this news with a cousin recently, she remarked that I had wanted to help others through the healing practice of Christian Science since I was a child and that we would talk about it on camping trips… and so here we are… finally!! 🙂
*(You can read more about some of that work in the “About me” section.)
 Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 113