WHEN I was about twelve years old, I caught my fingers in a mixing bowl beater in our kitchen. I screamed, and people came running from every direction to help. My mother told me later that she had begun to pray as soon as she heard me.
My aunt and uncle gave advice to free me and scolded my mother for leaving the appliance connected. My father called a doctor, who also came running. He freed my hand and examined my fingers. He predicted that I would lose all of one finger and half of the one next to it. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mother approach with a towel. She wrapped my hand in it, and said, ''Thank you, doctor.'' She asked him to come back in the morning.
My mother had been studying Christian Science and had already seen evidence of God's power to heal, so it was natural for her to pray for me now. I don't know any details of her prayers, but I do know that the next morning, the kind doctor was surprised to see my fingers healing so quickly. He revised his assessment of my injuries: I'd only lose half of one finger, and the other one would be fine without surgery.
I didn't lose any fingers. They healed without surgery or any medication. I am looking at them now as I type this. I'm so grateful to have my fingers, to be able to use them all. I'm especially grateful for my mother's willingness to turn at once to God with such expectation of healing that she could say ''Thank you'' even though no one else could yet see the effects of her prayer. Christ Jesus gave a wonderful example of the power of such gratitude when he stood at Lazarus's tomb and thanked God before restoring Lazarus to life.
There is a wonderful passage from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal, (No. 258). It's adapted from a poem by James Russell Lowell, an American poet, and reads:
And behind the dim unknown
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above His own.
I remember feeling God there with me during that experience, though I was quite young. I also felt the effect of my mother's prayers for me. I was glad to turn entirely to God for help and healing. It made sense to me, since I'd already been healed of many problems through prayer. I knew God was ''keeping watch'' above me and that I was ''His own.'' The Bible teaches that we are all God's ''own''--His children. And God keeps watch over each of us, at all times. God, all good, is really everywhere, ever-present, divine Mind, Love. God is always available to a heart that earnestly calls out to Him for support, help, healing.
God hears us. Reaching out to our Father-Mother God for help, we hear what we need to sustain and guide us under all circumstances. As a child in the Christian Science Sunday School, I was taught among my first lessons the Twenty-third Psalm from the Bible, which concludes: ''Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever'' (verse 6).
My mother and I prayed to know that this was the real house I lived in, and that I was always safe within it. We read together the wording of this Psalm from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Bringing out the spiritual meaning, she writes: ''Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [love] for ever'' (p. 578).
It is this consciousness of Love that heals. This is the real house we dwell in, and accidents or mistakes are no part of what God, divine Love, creates. The simple power of divine Truth erases the effects of accidents, for God, Love, is aware only of Love and Love's perfect reflection. My mother saw this sufficiently for her to express gratitude while praying to God for my complete healing. She smiled, and said ''Thank you,'' and then went to God for help. The moment we release ourselves from fear and human predictions, and reach with trust to God for help, we too can say ''Thank you,'' and mean it.
Gratitude heals. God is just at hand, watching over each of us. When we are conscious of this, safety and healing are assured.