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Lifting the shade of gloom

THE passing of a loved relative or friend can present a challenge of grief that may seem insurmountable. Is there anything we can do to assuage the sadness? Yes, through prayer an inspired understanding of God can replace the sense of loss. As we turn in prayer to God, divine Love, the one Supreme Being, the creator and controller of all, we begin to realize that although the physical senses tell us that man dies, this can't be true. Man must be undying, because his creator, God, is eternal. This truth becomes tangible in our lives as thought is purified and we gain a clearer sense of God's nature. If God, Life, is everlasting (and He is), there can never be a time when Life is not present. Then death cannot, in the final analysis, be real. So our loved one is still in God's care, still fulfilling his or her God-given destiny under Love's guidance. Even a glimpse of this great truth helps immeasurably in lessening one's troubled, cheerless thought. Mourning is never mandatory. We mourn because we're accepting the lie that life is in matter and must sometime end. But that is not what Christ Jesus taught. Knowing that man, made in God's image, must eternally manifest Life as the unending expression of the Divine Being, he said, ``If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.'' 1 If faced with the loss of someone close to us, we don't have to yield to the common belief that grief must unquestionably take over and hold us in miserable bondage until suffering finally cancels the sadness. That surely is not God's will. His bequest is uninterrupted joy from His infinite goodness. We are not required to indulge in self-inflicted gloom by sorrowfully recalling the past and the happiness that now seems gone. We're not obligated to show our love in this way. Instead, we can be grateful for the fact that the joy imparted by God is unending and that divine Love continues to care for us and our loved ones into eternity. Nor do we have to accept the erroneous assumption that only time will heal our sorrow. God, not time, is the only genuine healer. We can face down every lying suggestion of the carnal mind with the basic truth that God is infinite, eternal Life, and that each of His own expresses Him forever. Life is now; this is unequivocal spiritual truth. In divine Life there can be no past to mourn over and no future to be harassed by fear and despondency. These truths are equally applicable when we are tempted to mourn over the loss of a pet. Once while on a trip I was notified that our beloved Yorkshire terrier had unexpectedly died. For a while I was overwhelmed. I took a walk and endeavored to realize that ever-present Life was the only fact of being. As I passed a chapel I heard the chimes playing the music of a well-loved hymn, and I began to sing softly with the music. The words that I knew were by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Chri stian Science, and I knew them well. The words of the second stanza almost startled me as I recognized that they carried the message I most needed: Mourner, it calls you,--`Come to my bosom, Love wipes your tears all away, And will lift the shade of gloom, And for you make radiant room Midst the glories of one endless day.' 2 As I quietly sang the words and gained some sense of their meaning, my thought was lifted. I began to see that ever-present Love was right at hand to show me that our pet was still under Love's care, still expressing divine Life, still fulfilling his God-given reason for being. As I discerned this with growing clarity, the grief departed, and with heartfelt gratitude I recognized that I was healed. Overcoming grief can seem very challenging. But we can meet the challenge by persistently holding to the spiritual fact that every identity is eternally under God's care and can never be separated from His great love. So doing, we reach that holy altitude of thought that dispels sorrow and reveals ``the glories of one endless day.'' 1 John 8:51. 2 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 298.

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