I’ll start reading Volume II of the new We Knew Mary Baker Eddy series as soon as I can. In fact, it’s the second book in my “reading pile,” just underneath the expanded version of Volume I. I have not rushed through this first volume, although I read all the original ones years ago. This time I’ve been reading with my eyes and thought wide open. The accounts seem much fresher now than they did then, and I really want to take time to savor what I’m learning.
For example, Laura Sargent’s entry for December 25, 1900: “Mother called me to her and gave me these words as a Christmas gift from her…Put away all selfishness; bury out of sight any sense of being wronged and injustice and ingratitude from others. Where you feel you have been wronged, love more, and God will pour in love to you…Then she called me again and said, And this is the little box to keep the gift in: ‘Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors’ [Matthew 6:12].”
I wasn’t feeling wronged exactly, but I often found myself being annoyed with people over very trivial things and not letting go of them. After I read this, I began to take a mental check every day to make sure that I had that gift and gift box with me. I started to take time every day to remember loving, thoughtful things that people had done for me over the years. I started to write them down so that I wouldn’t let go of them. Of course, Mrs. Eddy was right: before long the box only had room for the loving deeds; the others were cleared from my consciousness. And I’ve become ever so much better at thinking first and acting second, so as not to require quite so much forgiveness for myself.
I’ve read the parable of the tares and the wheat dozens of times and even thought about it a bit, but I never understood it until I read Frank Walter Gale’s reminiscence again. I missed it entirely when I read it before. Gale quotes a letter he received from Mrs. Eddy: “The tares and wheat appear to grow together until the harvest; then the tares are first gathered, that is, you have seasons of seeing your errors—and afterwards by reason of this very seeing, the tares are burned, the error is destroyed. Then you see Truth plainly and the wheat is ‘gathered into barns,’ it becomes permanent in the understanding.”
Well, finally, I get it!
Reading of the obedience required of the early workers, their sacrifices and hard work, has made me see areas in my own life where I have been taking it easy, letting someone else tend to things, not really doing the work. For example, our Society has two Wednesday meetings each month, and three people had been taking turns preparing the readings. I wasn’t one of them. After all, I thought, I can’t do that—I don’t have enough inspiration and I don’t know enough. (Don’t know enough?? Really—after Class and over 25 years of Association? Lamest of lame excuses.)
Once I realized that I was being unloving and ungenerous, taking but not giving, I volunteered for a Wednesday, trusting that I would be led by Mind in preparing a service for our grand little group. I woke up two days later with a topic and ten key citations, some of which I didn’t know I knew, ready for the finishing touches.
Obedience resulted in inspiration and knowledge. I needed to be obedient, to do unto others as I would have them do unto me, and the blessing followed.