I’ve been struggling with the angst that my efforts at healing have not been effective enough. And so reading We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, vol. II has been a perfect assignment. These early workers were not allowed the luxury of saying, “No, I’m not ready to be assigned that case/task,” although you can tell that they sometimes felt this way.
Mrs. Eddy wrote to Janette Weller: “Do you find difficulty in healing? If so, strike for the higher sense of the nothingness of matter… Realize constantly that no mortal mind (so-called) can affect you or make you believe you cannot cure your patients.” (pp. 47-48)
She said to Lida Fitzpatrick: “Break the so-called laws which say you cannot heal, you cannot help the patient, the patient will relapse, etc. Work at it every day until they are destroyed;…” (p. 117)
Seeing that these same beliefs of inadequacy came to these early workers has been a powerful reminder that such suggestions do not have the legitimacy they claim, such as “You don’t have enough trust, love, spiritual understanding right now to heal.” The suggestions come as if they’re personal to you, rather than as the spam global email they really are – not personal or unique at all, but just a sneaky attempt to get you to believe it is addressed specifically to you.
Reading Mrs. Eddy’s counsel to these early workers has been instructive and sobering, and I’ve been so grateful for it. She said to Laura Nourse about handling malicious animal magnetism: “You will handle it, or it will handle you.” (p. 223) In talking to Mary Eaton about malpractice, Mrs. Eddy said: “There is none. The way I meet it is by keeping the First Commandment. Know there is no evil mind to intercept God and you.” (p. 338)
When I got a call recently from someone who asked for prayerful help because he was very sick and had an important work project to complete, I found myself leaning not only on that week’s Bible Lesson, but also on some of these gems from WKMBE, vol. II. My prayer kept getting focus, strength, and endurance from the First Commandment as the sense of God’s allness and infinite goodness kept meeting the aggressive suggestions coming to thought. When I was tempted to feel discouraged when there wasn’t immediate physical progress, I was chastened and helped by this instruction to Anna B. White Baker, which I had read the day before:
“No one is loyal to Truth, to himself, to his God, or is worthy of heaven, who has not faith, pluck, and patience enough to endure, without fainting, apparent defeat and delayed rewards.”
This made me really dig in my heels and refuse to buy the argument that this prayer was ineffective. The reminiscence continues with helpful counsel:
“Students do not pray enough. They should go by themselves at least three times a day to pray. Their prayers should consist of much giving thanks, more realization of the perfect as well as the denial of error. There is too much denial of error and too little realization of the perfect.
“We must talk more closely to God. Bring Him nearer to us more like the old style of praying. We must feel and know that God is what we live in—like the atmosphere and the sunlight. [God] is all about us. We must rest more in God. When treating a patient, do as well as you can, and let God do the healing… Give up more to God.” (p. 315)
I stuck with the First Commandment – knowing that there really was only one Mind, not a sick patient’s mind or a limited practitioner’s mind or minds skeptical of spiritual healing, but one divine Mind fully aware of the constant perfection and goodness of Its manifestation. I talked to God and praised Him and stayed with the truth of being. As I kept putting God first, it was humbling to watch my life and schedule bow before Christ. Tasks on the to-do list either shifted on their own or got done in the background, so that spiritual understanding became the agenda of those two days, even though it was a holiday weekend with several events planned. This was really beautiful to witness, especially since I had sometimes before struggled with a tug-of-war feeling with the practice, like I had this set amount of time and inspiration, which was being tugged at in opposite directions from patients on one side and other commitments on the other side. This was a whole different thing, a God-choreographed thing, and I could see that it was the only way to really move forward with any kind of healing practice.
When the time came, my friend was able to fully and freely and very effectively complete the work project, and we were both so grateful to see God manifested in this way.
One of the main things I’m learning from this book is that it is not ok to simply step back and let mortal mind’s arguments that healing is too hard for me win the day. There’s too much evidence from God that this argument is bogus.