Friday, January 5, 2018

"what stays the same..."

"I feel You here,
and You're picking up the pieces;
forever faithful.

Seemed out of my hands,
a bad situation;
but You are able.

And in Your hands
the pain and hurt
look less like scars.
and more like character..." 

In this season of "all things new," I can't help but start with what is constant, enduring and changeless when thinking about my purpose moving forward. Regular readers might make the connection between this early January post, and a number of others "new years" pieces that I have written over the past 12 years of posting to this blog.

Sara Groves' "Less Like Scars" is a song that I keep coming back to -- especially when I am trying to realign with my sense of purpose.

And every year, the pain and hurt - distant or recent - do seem less like scars and more like character, clarity, compassion.

Each January, as I shift all my notes, reminders, and regular appointments from the previous year's calendar to a brandy, new, fresh one, I review the marginal ponderings that fill the blank space on every page. This annual review always includes my "purpose statement." I ask myself, "How is it the same, has it evolved, do I need to re-work the language?"

I can honestly say, that even though the details of "how" I can more clearly live that purpose has evolved, my core purpose itself has stayed the same. Whether it is why I post to this blog, write little miniature poems on FB, teach Sunday School, or am engaged in the healing practice of Christian Science -- that core purpose defines my work and keeps me aligned throughout the day, the night - and the year.

I clearly remember discovering the clarity of that purpose some years ago, and the feeling of "yes, this is why I have lived the life I have lived, and why do what I do." It is why I know that: "I belong here," [link to post] I am ready, and I am not alone."

I love this promise from Mary Baker Eddy*:

"You are not alone.
Love is with you
watching tenderly over you
by day and night;

and this Love
will not leave you
but will sustain you
and remember all thy tears,
and will answer thy prayers."

My childhood was fraught with feeling alone. I thought that no one had ever been as alone as I was. I couldn't imagine that another human being had experienced the feelings of rejection, sadness, abandonment, sorrow, darkness - that I was drowning in.

And then one day, when I was almost 11 - and very ill, I was introduced to this paragraph from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures which includes the statement I have bolded for emphasis:

"The physical healing of Christian Science
results now, as in Jesus’ time,
from the operation of divine Principle,
before which sin and disease lose
their reality in human consciousness and
disappear as naturally and as necessarily
as darkness gives place to light
and sin to reformation.

Now, as then, these mighty works are not
supernatural, but supremely natural. They are
the sign of Immanuel, or “God with us,” 
— a divine influence ever present in
human consciousness
and repeating itself,
coming now as was promised aforetime,
To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense],
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised."

I clung to that promise. I sought out this "God with us," at all times -- especially in the dark when I felt most alone. 

Knowing that, in fact, I was not alone -- changed everything. I was able to hold on through the dark times. I was able to look forward as we drove away from yet another house, neighborhood, friendship. I was able to draw closer to the God that was with me when every hope, dream, and plan dissolved after my dad passed on suddenly leaving me with my mom and seven younger siblings to support.

So, how do those statements, and my own experiences, define my over-arching purpose? Well, I absolutely know - with out a shadow of doubt - that I am here to behold [which Webster defines as "to see, and call attention to"] the presence of God's presence in the world. To remind us that we are not alone, that God, good is always with us. That we are never separated from Love - because there is always love in our hearts -- whether it is love we feel for something or someone, or the love that we appreciate and desire. 

I am here to never let us forget that nothing can deprive us of living that love. It is, to my sense, the great rebellion.

I am here to write, to say, to prove, to bear witness to, to remember that we are not alone. We are never alone.

And even in our darkest nights, in our moments of deep regret, in our want and woe -- we are not alone.  God, divine Love, is with us -- always. Love is there -- constantly gifting us with grace - mercy, understanding, joy, humility, patience...

In defining "the Mission of Christian Science" on page 107 of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy states:

"This apodictical Principle
points to the revelation of
Immanuel, "God with us," --
the sovereign ever-presence..."

I am forever aligned with this mission of Christian Science. It is at the core of everything that I think, do, write, say, live, pray.

Reviewing my notes from last year's calendar, and listening  for Love to refresh my heart's sense of mission and purpose - I hear it clearly, "you are not alone." And I know, I am where I need to be, doing what I need to do -- today.

All the pain and hurt from the last year does seem less like scars, and more like character, clarity of purpose, deepened compassion, renewed fervency, and an awakened ardency of love for my God -- and all who might be feeling alone.

That is my purpose and it has not changed. I live to see and call attention to the presence of God in our lives -- individually and collectively. To pull focus away from all that would suggest that God is absent, any suggestion that we have been left alone to fend for ourselves and face the darkness. By focusing on God's presence, we draw attention back to the good that is right in front of us -- the love in our hearts, the hopes that will not die, the beauty found in the ordinary, the wisdom in simplicity.

Wherever you are, whatever your circumstances -- God is there, because you are there, and you are filled with dreams of beauty, hope for harmony, a desire for healing, your love for whatever God has put in your heart - to love. You are not alone.

offered with Love,


This quote is in a letter from Mary Baker Eddy to Caroline W. Frame, November 5, 1903 -- and is the collection of The Mary Baker Eddy Library.

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