Ending the countdown
A familiar cartoon character, dressed in sports clothes and holding a fishing rod, flashed his toothy smile. The caption on the poster read, ''I live for the weekend.''
Thinking of how many people get through the workweek with this philosophy, I recalled my first job in a distant city. I knew no one there and felt very lonely. Living what could be called a ''countdown'' existence, I got through each day as best I could until Friday, when I'd drive home for the weekend. Finally, my dread of facing another day alone became so intense that insomnia and illness resulted.
Looking for an answer to loneliness, I realized that keeping busy isn't the solution to the longing to be home with loved ones. Filling up the hours doesn't , in the long run, fill up the void. The truest answer to loneliness involves a perception of man's relationship to God. We may long to straighten out our relationship with family and friends. But what we first have to be clear about is our unbroken kinship with our Father-Mother God.
In reality, man is God's image, forever one with the divine source of all good. There is never a moment when he is separated from God's tender care. And when we seek to demonstrate man's unity with God, we can prove, day by day, that good is always with us.
We can find Biblical assurance of the constancy of God's care for His creation. In Romans Paul writes, ''I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'' n1
n1 Romans 8:38, 39.
Loneliness is essentially based on the premise of separation. To combat this feeling we need to reject the notion that our happiness depends on person or place and to recognize that joy is spiritual, eternal, and that because it is of God, it is not subject to human circumstance.
Happiness is not precarious. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.'' n2 What an expansive view! No struggle to be happy here! But how do these inspiring truths apply to the human condition?
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 57.
In my situation, opening thought to God's constant presence calmed the fear of being alone in a strange city. A deepening understanding of God as Father-Mother dispelled the loneliness. I often studied Mrs. Eddy's words: ''Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank? Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love. When this hour of development comes, even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth.'' n3 Striving to know God better is the most vital kind of activity there is. It gives our lives meaning and direction that even the closest friendship, of itself, can never provide.
n3 Ibid., p. 266
Instead of mentally crossing off each day until the weekend came, I began to look forward to the good appearing daily. The ''countdown'' stopped. On a memo board beside the refrigerator I wrote the first stanza of a favorite hymn of mine: This is the day the Lord hath made;
Be glad, give thanks, rejoice; Stand in His presence, unafraid,
In praise lift up your voice. All perfect gifts are from above,
And all our blessings show The amplitude of God's dear love
Which every heart may know. n4
n4 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 342.
It was a number of weeks before Iwas aware my sleeping had returned to normal and the physical difficulties had simply fallen away. This healing of loneliness showed me the power of prayer to bring human circumstances into harmony with divine reality. The fact is that nothing can threaten man's well-being or happiness, because they are established by God and not subject to the changing human scene. And this fact is provable. Our joy is indeed secure in God's keeping. DAILY BIBLE VERSE And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee. Psalms 39:7