While visiting friends in another city, I borrowed their car to get around. After a few days of driving, I needed to get more gas (petrol), and so I filled the tank. However the next evening when I was using the car to get back to my friends’ house after some meetings downtown, I was putting the car into reverse to pull out of my parking spot, the gas gauge went from full to empty, and the light came on indicating I needed to get gas right before my eyes. That’s strange, I thought… and I turned the car off and hopped out to look where I put the gas in the car and checked that the gas cap was secure. I got back in the car and restarted it, and the same thing happened. I was very confused because I knew I had just filled it the night before, so there was no way it could be utterly empty. I called my friend, who told me that it happens sometimes, when the tank is filled all the way, the computer “freaks out” and shows empty when it is really full. I certainly trust my friend, and yet I still asked if he was sure. He said yes, it has happened to his wife before and he assured me that I would be just fine and I would be able to make the hour drive back home to their place. I decided to 1) trust my friend, and 2) pray to calm my thought and feel a sense of Divine assurance. And sure enough, I made it to their house with no problems.
I was thinking about how this is a helpful analogy and was able to turn to it in the weeks following. It was tempting to believe the illusion of an empty gas tank because the was what the car was telling me, even though I knew with total certainty that I had filled the tank just the day before. Just like it was tempting to believe that my own “tank” was pretty empty after hosting a big holiday family feast and spending days preparing – cleaning, shopping, cooking – and then hosting. It was also tempting to buy into the illusion of sickness and contagion when supporting a friend both metaphysically and practically with visits and meals the following week who seemed to be suffering from in sickness. But each time before going in to visit, I would assert my freedom as an idea of God. And I really dove into this oft repeated passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures –
“When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust…” (p. 495).
I have heard this passage so often, I had almost become numb to its meaning and power. But I realized the picture before me of sickness or fatigue was an illusion, much like the gas tank. And when I cling to or turn whole-heartedly to God, the source of my life, health, wholeness and love, and understand my identity as God’s spiritual reflection and expression…and feel the allness and ever-presence of God’s love for me and everyone, including my friend, I was able to keep out fear and doubt and remain clear, calm and trusting in the truth and power of God’s love for us.
I thought about how an illusion is like mist or fog, clouding our clear view, but that is all that it is.
And when the light of truth shines, the fog dissipates and we can see more clearly the true picture before us.
I understood this passage in a deeper way and could see how it clearly applied to this situation supporting my friend. This seeming sense of sickness was not any more true about him, as Love’s perfect, divine creation, than the gas tank being empty. I could trust completely that neither of our tanks could ever be empty when our life is supplied and maintained by God who is our Life. With that I was so unimpressed with the symptoms that I could see right through them and was never susceptible to contagion. My friend also improved rapidly and had a complete healing shortly thereafter.
How are you seeing through the false picture or mirage of an empty gas tank, and trusting the truth of your being?