I WAS both mentally and physically exhausted and was also changing work assignments. I was able to get a few days off between jobs and decided to spend the time watching birds at a famous stopover site for migratory birds. To my surprise and chagrin, it seemed as though vultures were following me everywhere I went. Tired as I was, their presence bothered me a little. Did I really look so worn down that the vultures were waiting for me? Whether I did or not, I realized what the solution was: I needed to keep moving! Since vultures feed on carrion, they wouldn't really come after me if I simply kept on moving.
In a way, this is also true when we face challenges in our lives. Sometimes events do seem to wear us down. At moments like this, it may seem that we aren't moving at all, and that the ``vultures'' of disappointment, discouragement, and hopelessness are following us. In cases like this, the need isn't for physical movement, but rather for a willingness to keep our thoughts moving toward God and a clearer understanding of His love for us.
Christ Jesus' life and example offer guidance. He faced his share of vultures: hatred, jealousy, anger, ignorance, to mention a few. In one case, people were so angered by his sermon that they wanted to throw him off a cliff. Instead of freezing with fear, Jesus kept moving! The Bible, in Luke's Gospel, says, ``He passing through the midst of them went his way'' (4:30).
What saved Jesus from the crowd's anger? We can't say for sure what he was thinking, but we know from his teachings that he was certain that man is inseparable from God. This understanding would have enabled him to recognize that the crowd's threats had no power to touch him. He knew that God's power and love surrounded him, no matter where he went.
The same is true for us. When we face challenging situations, our prayers can affirm that God is present with us and that we can never be cut off from Him. This has several practical effects. When we affirm our oneness with God as Mind, for instance, we are also claiming our unity with intelligence, wisdom, and foresight. When we affirm our unity with Principle, we are recognizing our inseparability from the divine law of good, from true justice, and from the highest sense of order. Prayer that asserts our oneness with divine Love reminds us of our position as the children of Love--loved and loving, generous, tender, and strong.
Affirming these qualities as part and parcel of our being keeps us moving toward a fuller understanding of our true nature as God's spiritual offspring. Even if we appear to be in the same place physically or mentally, we can trust God's law to guide us. There may be times when even doing this much seems very difficult. In such moments, we can take comfort from a statement Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, ``Every step towards goodness is a departure from materiality, and is a tendency towards God, Spirit'' (p. 213).
So even if we can't feel the fullness of divine intelligence to begin with, we still can affirm that Mind is present. This alone begins to release us from the belief that we are solitary mortal beings, struggling without help. It calls on the divine law that undergirds our lives as God's spiritual offspring. And since this law has its basis in good, it can bring only peace and harmony to our lives.
In the end, then, we don't have to move very fast to defeat the vultures that might seem to be eyeing us. If we take one step at a time in recognizing our unity with God, we will be moving in harmony with Him. And if we keep moving in that direction, we are safe.