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Making ends meet and finding new beginnings

A Christian Science perspective.

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There are those who have to cut down on red-carpet items like the corporate jet and that $3,000 weekend at the spa. Far more prevalent are those who are crossing red meat off the home supper menu and sticking with spaghetti. But however the cuts come, there's no argument: Just about everyone is adjusting to a revised standard of living in some way.

Not all of this is bad news as individuals rethink their lifestyles and how they spend their money. Shoe repair shops are posting huge spikes in business, since people aren't so quick to rush out and buy that new shiny pair. The odometer on the car that reads 100,000 is replacing its "Trade me in" message with a much louder one: "You and I, kiddo, have only just begun."

But what actually is this standard of living we hear so much about in the news? This thing we have to adjust to, agonize over, and be defined by? One thing that's safe to say is that it can be defined as changeable, unpredictable – and up for grabs. Another thing that's safe to say: Nothing changeable, unpredictable, or up for grabs is "safe."

Of course we all desire that economies – not just our own but those around the globe – thrive. But there might be a better way to help that along, for everyone concerned, if we begin to understand the concept of standard of living in a different way. A way that frees, instead of restricts.

I've found that Mary Baker Eddy's explanation of a "standard of liberty" sheds considerable light on the concept of standard of living. She wrote in the textbook of Christian Science, "Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! ... ' Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 227). It's a simple message, and when examined closely, it's a remarkable one. Because it gently leads us to the idea that when we get out of our own way, there are universal laws of God, of good, that we can "follow" – that sustain us. And they not only sustain us, but allow for expanded prospects on the horizon.

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