Grief can be healed
SOME time ago while at a gallery, my husband and I spent time viewing religious art. We noted that the crucifixion of Jesus was one of the predominant themes. Few artists depicted the resurrection. And yet that unparalleled, mighty event is so vital to us all in its proof of eternal life. One who grasps the significance of the resurrection and begins to understand that life really is eternal can find comfort in the face of death, and healing of grief. This was true for me when several years ago my mother was in a fatal automobile accident. I was overwhelmed. When I called a friend, she referred me to a statement by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``Undisturbed amid the jarring testimony of the material senses, Science, still enthroned, is unfolding to mo rtals the immutable, harmonious, divine Principle,--is unfolding Life and the universe, ever present and eternal.'' 1 As I prepared for a flight to my parents' home, I repeated those words over and over. At first they were just something to hold on to, but after a time the truth and power, the profound meaning, of those words settled into my thought. By the time I arrived home I was able to greet my father with comfort. I was smiling because I was absolutely certain that my mother's life was far more than material personality and physiology. Life in its truest and fullest meaning is immortal, so I knew she was safe. I knew she could not be separated from God and that God would continue to love and cherish her. What Christ Jesus taught about the nature of life, and his proof that life is everlasting, brought this comfort and healing to me. I had studied the Bible and Jesus' teachings for years, and I was a student of Christian Science. The Bible records that God made man in His image and likeness.2 So man is really spiritual, indestructible, the image of divine Spirit. Jesus frequently referred to God as Father and gave assurances of the Father's love and provision. So man is truly safe and secure in God's love and care, regardless of appearances to the contrary. We read in Acts, ``In him [God] we live, and move, and have our being.'' 3 An important premise of Christian Science is the truth of the Bible account in the first chapter of Genesis. It is recorded there that God's work was finished and complete and that everything He had made was very good. This first record of creation is filled with accounts of life, activity, usefulness, growth--but no record of death! Mrs. Eddy says in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, ``Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being .'' 4 Jesus proved the truth of this when he raised the dead and when he himself was resurrected. Although few of us as yet comprehend Jesus' teachings and works sufficiently to raise the dead, each can be comforted as I was with the knowledge that life truly is indestructible. After a death in the family, lives change--and sometimes seem empty. But recognizing and accepting the promise of eternal life, we can find healing of grief and the assurance that death need not--and indeed cannot--have power or victory anywhere. Referring to Jesus' statement that those who follow his teachings will never see death, Mrs. Eddy says, ``That statement is not confined to spiritual life, but includes all the phenomena of existence.'' 5 In my own experience, I felt some fear at the thought of returning to my own home and leaving my father alone. So I prayed. My prayer was answered with a sudden realization that God would continue to care for my father as well as my mother. All fear for him left, and after doing all I could to get him settled, I was able to leave. My father was beautifully taken care of, and I was too! There was no loss of mothering; it came from many sources. And both my father and I continued to have a sense of mot her's presence--not in any supernatural way, but in a continuing memory of her caring, the counsel she had given, the many ways we had been blessed by her relationship to us. Our lives had changed, but we were not deprived of the good that my mother brought into our lives. The need for comfort and healing of grief may be felt by an individual or family. Or perhaps those in a city or nation faced with some crisis need reassurance that life is eternal. Whatever the situation, our prayer, springing from recognition, trust, and gratitude that life is everlasting, does bring comfort and heal grief. 1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 306. 2 See Genesis 1:26. 3 Acts 17:28. 4 Science and Health, p. 584. 5 Ibid., pp. 429-430.