A ballet teacher gave me a life lesson, in her wise, old-world way, when she insisted that if I kept my eye on a focal point while on stage, whether doing turns, leaps, or intricate footwork, I would never become disoriented or dizzy, nor would I fall. She said it with unmistakable authority, and I understood, even as a young girl, that the application of this rule went beyond the world of dance.
It never failed me in dance, but like most, I had to seek out and settle on a focal point for living.
That took more trial and error, and some experience. Sunday School education and loving parents gave me a head start, but not one of us is free from the need to navigate through the extemporaneous dance of human life.
In order to endure the crashing and sometimes crushing waves of pressure on human relations, faithfulness to something more reliable than even a very good person is essential.
As I moved through friendships, dating, family relations, marriage, and parenting, I found the unchanging focal point of a practical relation with God to be steadying and effective. With every dip, plunge, step, and leap, staying God-oriented has helped me maintain a certain balance and peace.
That doesn't mean there haven't been tests and missteps, but the constant presence of a divine compass is invaluable. "God is at once the centre and circumference of being," wrote Mary Baker Eddy, founder of this newspaper and author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pp. 203-204).
I've been seeing that while fidelity usually brings to mind faithfulness to another person, at its core is faithfulness itself. Its origin is God.
The Apostle Paul stated in his first letter to the Corinthians, "God is faithful" and a little later, "It is required ... that a man be found faithful" (I Cor. 1:9; 4:2).
This is consistent with the biblical teaching in the first chapter of Genesis that man is like God, and this statement in the Christian Science textbook: "Human philosophy has made God manlike. Christian Science makes man Godlike" (Science and Health, p. 269).
The discomfort and pain we feel in circumstances such as infidelity, and the deception and extreme emotion that often accompany them, are caused by the departure from our true and good selfhood as the likeness of God. It's like putting on a heavy wool coat in the middle of a warm summer day. It doesn't feel right; it's inappropriate.
Sinful, selfish behavior, disregard for the larger good, is, likewise, unfitting to our true status and generous nature. It is a self-deception. The remedy for any kind of deception is truth, and the truth of our God-made nature rescues us from any webs we might find ourselves in. Truth, a synonym for God, is a remedy that restores, consoles, comforts, and repairs. The Bible tenderly offers, "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds" (Ps. 147:3).
Through prayer, and through living our prayer, by staying close to God, we'll find greater faithfulness. As we embrace the bond we have with God, we'll see more evidence in our lives of this faithfulness along with the security that it brings and that we all deserve.
The Lord is faithful,
who shall stablish you,
and keep you from evil.
II Thessalonians 3:3