Christmas Presents Recovered   Leave a comment

The members of the Christian Science community in Canberra share their experiences and thoughts on Christian Science:

Christmas in Canberra is typically hot and dry, and this day—two days after the holiday—was a particularly hot one. Our son, 13 years old at the time, asked if we could drop him and his friend at the public swimming pool in town. My husband and I needed to do some grocery shopping, so we agreed to drop the boys off and pick them up in a couple of hours when we had finished. Both boys were confident swimmers, and we knew the pool was well supervised.

When we returned my husband ran in to collect the boys.  I watched them walk across the carpark towards the car.  The friend was dressed and carrying his sports bag. Our son wore only his swimmers; he did not have his bag, and he looked particularly dejected. He explained that he had rented a locker for his gear, but when he returned, he’d found his locker empty. Each locker has a separate code that is created afresh each time it is rented, which seemed a particularly safe system. I asked him what he’d had in his bag.

This Christmas had promised to be quite a lean one for us. My husband was between jobs, and although we usually don’t make a big deal of Christmas presents, this year all our son’s presents were of a practical nature since he would start high school in February. His grandparents had given him cash so he would have spending money for the summer break and outings at school; someone else had given him a new watch; someone else a wallet. A swimming towel, new joggers, sports bag, new summer clothes—all came as presents from the family. All his needs had been met, and he was thrilled with the generosity that had been shown. In his enthusiasm, our son had put all his gifts into his new sports bag and had even worn his new shorts and T-shirt to the pool. All now appeared to be gone.

My husband explained that he had had a conversation with the pool manager. The manager had concluded that the only way someone could have gained access to the locker was if they deliberately stood behind him and watched when he entered the code. My husband had offered to come back in the morning to see if the bag had been handed in, but the manager insisted that my husband should consider it gone.

It was a quiet trip home, but this gave me plenty of praying time.

My first thought was that it was too late to pray; that the bag was gone. Immediately, I realized that this line of thinking contained a number of errors. I reasoned that God never made a human timeline; with God there is only ever the infinite now. It was my duty to deal with whatever thoughts were being presented to me now. And, in fact, that is all I can ever do! Right now if the thought is coming that an injustice has been done to my family or me, then now is the time to deal with it. It is never too late to pray.

The next thought that came was one of indignation that someone could do this unkind thing to our son. Again I was alert and challenged this negative thought. I stood firm with the conviction that God’s man is honest, principled, kind.

A third and subtler suggestion intruded on my thought. I found I was beginning to add up the dollar value of the goods in the bag and feeling great concern about how we would be able to replace them before school started in a few weeks. But then I recognised that God is our source of supply—in fact, our source of all good. His abundance never runs out. I left off adding up the cost, knowing that with God, “My cup runneth over” (Psalms 23:5).

With these thoughts I felt peaceful.  I relaxed in God’s love, knowing that He was in control. The next morning, my husband announced that he was going back to the pool to check whether the bag had turned up. Our son went with him.

An hour later, two smiling faces arrived home. They explained that the manager had found the bag—to his great surprise—at the end of the day in one of the cubicles in the girls’ change room. On checking they found that nothing was missing. The wallet still contained all the Christmas gift money! Our son said that the manager kept saying that it was a mystery that someone would steal the bag and then just leave it intact.

This experience helped me to see more clearly that we are only ever dealing with thought.  Our thoughts and our beliefs determine our experience.  Mary Baker Eddy cautions us in the textbook of Christian Science to “Stand porter at the door of thought” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 392).

She also writes, “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts” (Science and Health, p. 261). This experience allowed me to demonstrate the eternal truth of this statement. I am infinitely grateful for all that I am learning through Christian Science.

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