A number of years ago, my dad was ill, and I didn't think my brother was doing enough to help. It seemed as if all the weight was on my shoulders, and I was angry about it. I was also disturbed by an unspoken emotional distance between these good men that needed to be resolved.
One day when I was on the phone in tears, I told my brother how burdened I felt about this situation and how much I wanted it to be resolved. We prayed together to know that God's grace would give each of us the needed direction, courage, and wisdom.
My prayers had helped me see that I needed to express humility instead of criticism toward my brother. And in response to this inspired thought, I began to yield to the truth that my brother was being guided by God, not by what I wanted him to do for our dad. Yes, he was my brother, but more important, he was the child of God. A couple of weeks before my dad passed on, my brother came to visit him. This very special visit was evidence of their deep desire to feel God's healing presence in their relationship. And I truly believe that healing took place.
The prayer that is a living practice of seeing each individual – including family members – as inseparable from the one Father-Mother, Love, and under God's loving control, does a great deal to keep our thoughts about others open, uncritical, and patient during family difficulties. For me, it has become indispensable to know that this divine relationship is the one under which all family relationships find their place. They are like musical notes brought into the right relationship to one another because they are governed by the same principle.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, also had to deal with difficulties in family and business relationships at various times. These tests and others led her into a spiritual search that has touched the world deeply. In her main work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she wrote extensively of the relationship of God and man – meaning every man, woman, and child. She explained, "The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship" (p. 316).
I've also gained insights into the spiritual basis of our relationship with each other from the Bible's account of two sisters, Martha and Mary, who were very close to Jesus. One day at their home, Martha told Jesus how upset she was because Mary wasn't helping her with preparing and serving the meal but was instead, sitting at Jesus' feet, listening to him.
Jesus' answer was, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:41-42).
To me, Mary's relationship with Jesus indicated her deep closeness to the Christ, the spiritual idea of Life and Love, which constantly reveals the oneness of God and His-Her children. As this becomes the most important thing, fretting about others stops. Family life is blessed because it is being lifted to a higher spiritual concept.
Thoughts imprisoned in feelings of a false obligation to family, or overwhelmed by others' dispositions, or filled with guilt over failure or misunderstanding – these are all elements that would destroy family unity and harmony. But we can be freed from them by understanding that none of them can separate us or our loved ones from God.
The divine parent-child relationship is governed and sustained by divine law that holds everything in harmony. And so is every other relationship. And it is in trusting God's love that we can all find peace together – as I did with my brother. There is no family or family situation that is outside the circle of Love's constant tenderness and care.