I have been working on my assignment most of the afternoon. And that was only in answer to question #1!
In all honesty, do you feel differently about Christian Science healing and your own practice of C.S. after completing the reading?
Reading the compilation of testimonies has already helped my own Christian Science nursing practice. Prior to receiving the assignment, I had for many months gone to bed by reading testimonies from the bound volumes. I found that this closeness to healing really lifted my thought and gave me a more natural expectancy of healing in the sick room (as a nurse) and in my own life. It reminded me of what Mrs. Eddy says about keeping our minds “so filled with Truth and Love” (My. 210:2–3). At one point, the devilish suggestion came that reading all those testimonies was too flowery an approach—maybe all the comfort I felt in reading them meant that I wasn’t digging in enough. But the arrival of the assignment helped me realize that I WAS ON THE RIGHT TRACK.
A specific passage from one of the testimonies made me think about my nursing practice and the role of the nurse in the sick room. On page 17, a woman who been healed of a cleft palate wrote: “I know that every inaudible declaration of my perfection as a child of God that was made by the Scientists with whom I came into contact during this period helped me, and I am earnestly endeavoring continuously to aid in the same way others whom I meet in my daily work, by keeping my own concept of man pure and unspotted.” One role of a nurse is to keep her concept of man “pure and unspotted.” Certainly, the practitioner is giving the prayerful treatment, but the nurse has the responsibility of keeping thought in line with God and His creation as found in the first account of Genesis. I have loved this renewed conviction.
Reading the testimonies has also shown me that we don’t have to wait for certain material laws to be in place or for stages of symptoms to recede before we have a healing. There doesn’t need to be a period of convalescence after a healing. There were a number of examples of this in the testimonies. On page 25, a man suffering from a ruptured appendix was believed to be “in such a serious condition he must have an operation immediately if his life was to be saved.” His sister-in-law, who was “a very new student of Science,” courageously took up the work.
The sister-in-law wrote: “I returned to the house and found my brother-in-law quite comfortable. He slept for about two hours, and on awakening he said that he was all right. In a short time a man came to the house to ask him to do some carpenter work, and he told the man that he would go the next morning to start it. My sister said that she did not think he should do physical labor so soon, but he said that he was perfectly well. He went to work the next day and missed no more time away from it. His healing has remained permanent ever since.”
This testimony reminded me of many overnight healings of children who were able to be back at school the very next day with no aftereffects. In my own experience, I have had sleepless nights with maybe only an hour’s rest, but all the while metaphysical work was going on and seeing the healing through, so that the next morning I was able to rise, fully prepared for the day. I have loved the renewed expectancy of this.
New conclusions drawn from the testimonies
These testimonies show the vital role of our practitioners in the aid of healing. I was especially struck by the practitioners’ fearlessness and dedication, sitting at the bedside or immediately arriving at the case. Some practitioners only corresponded through letters, but the work was taken up and healings resulted. Here are a few examples.
A testimony on pages 72–73 tells of a man who had suffered from a severe accident “in which the words ‘broken back,’ and, ‘It is a question of twenty-four hours’ were used.” He was placed in a hospital but refused to take drugs. The man wrote: “…from that time the Christian Science practitioner had full sway and my healing went on. Each day brought new complications, such as spasmodic contractions of spinal muscles in the region of the wound, endeavors to clear the throat of accumulations, coughing, etc., all of which seemed to strike at the seat of the trouble like a Western cyclone. [What a description!] Each and all of these manifestations were taken up by the practitioner as they presented themselves, and in a day or two they were completely eradicated.” Although we never hear directly from the practitioner, there is such a sense of fearlessness expressed.
One short line in the testimony on pages 74–75 describes the patient’s gratitude for the practitioner: “I am inexpressibly grateful to God for this healing. I am also grateful that He led me to the practitioner, who has so often lovingly helped me.”
And in a different testimony on page 75: “Truly I had proof of the Bible promise in Hebrews (4:12), ‘The word of God is quick, and powerful.’ The practitioner sat by my bed about forty minutes, talking to me of the simple, beautiful truths of God, and I felt that I had been healed. Several times afterward, when I was tempted to feel ill, I declared that illness has no power, for we had proved it that night. Soon I was entirely free from the stomach trouble.”
In my own experience, I recently phoned a practitioner and was touched by the sweet and gentle, yet very strengthening care that was expressed. As we were closing our conversation, the practitioner remarked that she was “happy to walk with me that day.” That so touched me.
In another conversation, a different practitioner expressed more firmness toward me, urging me to do more of my own work as we were endeavoring to see a physical healing through. Initially I balked at those comments, but later I realized how they had been just what was needed.
Another conclusion gained from reading the testimonies is a renewed sense of the role of our church services in healing. In a testimony on pages 13–15, a man describes attending a service at The Mother Church: “I was very tired when I reached the church. I found rest and peace there. A soothing, quieting, and happy feeling came over me. After I had been in my seat a few minutes the church, the people, music, and the lesson, all helped me to see that God was Love, and the kind words of encouragement were very helpful to me.” His full healing came as the result of much dedicated work from his daughter, but church attendance seemed to be a turning point.
Further along in the testimony he writes: “To-day I am happy in Truth and Love. The weather does not keep me at home from the Mother Church. I am there each Sabbath and Friday evening meeting, and the church being always overcrowded, I am able to stand at every service.” (In a description of his prior physical state, he remarks that he had been “bent over just like a half opened jack-knife” and “When I sat in the pew I was unable to sit up straight, my head almost touched the back of the pew in front of me.”) He certainly had his healing!
Thank you for this most remarkable assignment and testimony booklet. I feel it will continue to be most memorable to me for many years to come.