EXASPERATED, I sat on the sofa, wondering what to do about the neighbors. The family on one side was worried about my salvation because of my religious beliefs; the family on the other side was fearful because my family relied on prayer for healing. During the few months we had lived in our new house I felt vexed by the steady barrage of questions about theology and medicine. The friendly-looking driveways separating our close houses seemed like barriers of doubt and religious bias. I prayed for an answer to soften the hardness in my own heart. I found myself looking at the telephone poles, following the wires as they connected each of the houses to the telephone system. Suddenly I noticed that there were no telephone wires between the houses. Even though I could call my neighbors, there was no private intercom system between us. To make connection I had to dial through the central exchange.
This simple thought was an answer to my prayer. I saw that in a very profound sense true communication takes place on the basis of each person's relationship to God. It is God, the one divine Mind, who imparts truth to His creation, who governs it wisely through His boundless love, and our clear recognition of this can have a healing impact on relationships. Trying to convince each other of the rightness of our opinions wasn't breaking down, but was erecting, barriers. My real desire was for all of us to have a wider perspective, learning from each other in the spirit of God's love.
As much as my talking had been about God, I had to admit I hadn't been listening very carefully to Him for direction about what to say and how to say it. I felt very reassured to realize that God speaks clearly to each of His offspring, and on this basis it's possible for us to communicate with other individuals in a way that will bless. I knew that no amount of human opinion could change the relationship we had as God's children.
Two passages in the Christian Science textbook by Mary Baker Eddy1 clarify this point: ``Not personal intercommunion but divine law is the communicator of truth, health, and harmony to earth and humanity''2 and ``The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man.''3
For a period, my neighbors stopped coming over. Occasionally I would feel troubled, but then I'd remember that our relationship and communication were established by God.