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Traveling without terror

THE events of the recent hijacking alert us to the importance of dealing with terrorism in a specific way through prayer. For some, a major concern is travel. Are some places safer than others? Is one always at the mercy of chance, timing, circumstance? One summer a few years ago we were traveling in a European country where there were almost daily threats from terrorists to bomb trains and stations. As we boarded a train there, I expressed some fear to my husband that things seemed out of control, that at any time we might be blown up. He gently reminded me I had felt perfectly safe in the country we had just left, because its language and customs were similar to our own. I saw that I needed to be clear about my own and every individual's divine right to safety. It was not a matter of one country or even one mode of transportation being safer than another. There was a need to realize that there is only one God, one divine Mind, in control of His creation. I had to see that no matter what the situation, God's man--and that's the actual identity of us all--is incapable of destroying or being destroyed. I prayed to see that love of God and man, not hatred, was the law of being in operation. As I prayed, all fear of traveling left me, and our journey was harmonious. Was this some kind of wishful thinking or escapism? No, it was trust in the one supreme God and in the spiritual reality of His creation as wholly good--a reality transcending appearances but nevertheless the ultimate and only truth. Safety, then, is the law, not the exception. As a God-derived quality it is not circumstantial or wavering. Nor are we really, in the deepest sense, dependent on other people to keep us safe. Our protection comes from one source only: God. But it is essential we realize this as fact. Certainly it's important that we be wise and not naive as we make travel plans and as we view the world's challenges. But if we undertake our journey as the result of prayer, we can go forward confidently. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Mind produces all action.'' 1 And a few pages later she asserts, ``Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony.'' 2 The Apostle Paul's experience on his journey to Rome is a wonderful example of leaving ``the mortal basis of belief.'' Although taken as a prisoner, he trusted God, listening for divine direction, and thereby proved God's law to be operative. When he and his party were shipwrecked, all on board were saved. Later, bitten by a poisonous snake on the island of Malta, Paul was able to shake it off without being harmed. He healed many of the island's inhabitants, and all in his group were received with kindness.3 The ninety-first Psalm is a powerful statement of man's source of permanent protection. Part of it reads: ``Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night . . . nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. . . . He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.'' 4 Resting in the understanding that all our steps are guided by divine Love, we can travel in peace. Man, created in God's image, is neither a terrorist nor the victim of terrorism. God did not create some of His offspring good and some bad, some provided for and others deprived. He created only His own likeness. And that can only be good. Unrealistic? No, the deepest kind of realism, which is not only the basis of our own safety but the basis for healing. This is not mere theory; it is spiritual fact. And as we align ourselves with the truth of man's nature, we will see it increasingly confirmed in our experience. As the progeny of divine Love, man loves; he cannot hate. As the reflection of the one infinite Mind, man is intelligent, not insane. He reflects integrity, not lawlessness. At no time can we actually become separated from our source of life--God. Therefore our travels need not be subject to chance or accident. We can realize that they are under the control of the one Mind, because that Mind is truly infinite, the only power, the only authority. We can prove that, as we read in Psalms, ``the Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.'' 5 1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 419. 2 Ibid., p. 424. 3 See Acts, chaps. 27, 28. 4 Psalms 91:5, 6, 11. 5 Psalms 121:8.{et