Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, “Undisturbed amid the jarring testimony of the material senses, Science, still enthroned, is unfolding to mortals the immutable, harmonious, divine Principle, - is unfolding Life and the universe, ever present and eternal”.
Last weekend, we found ourselves facing a situation when it was very difficult not to be disturbed by the “jarring testimony of the material senses”, but as we acknowledged the presence of the one Mind, we were able to take the necessary steps in a calm and decisive manner.
Our neighbours have been on holiday in the States, and we have been feeding their cat and keeping an eye on the house. On Saturday morning I walked next door to check that all was well, and as I approached the back door, I could see it was wide open. It occurred to me that maybe workmen had returned to finish off some renovation work, but as I walked into the kitchen, I knew instinctively something was wrong. I called out several times, but there was no reply.....just the sight of the little black cat waiting for his breakfast! As I moved through all the rooms, it was apparent that the house had been burgled, probably during the night. The place had been ransacked, and it was hard not to feel overwhelmed by the scene of wanton destruction.
A line from Mrs. Eddy’s hymn, “Christ, My Refuge” came clearly to thought: “And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea I see Christ walk, and come to me, and tenderly, divinely talk”. This was certainly evidence of a troubled, angry thought which had invaded this lovely home, but I quietly acknowledged the presence of the Christ as I listened to the steps I needed to take.
I walked home, and asked my husband to return to the neighbour’s house with me. It seemed wise to take photos of the crime scene...the smashed-in door, the empty jewellery boxes, and other evidence of property damage. Our neighbours had given us the phone numbers of their daughters, who live in London, and I was able to speak to one of them, and she immediately contacted her parents in the States. We then rang the police, and my husband spent some time on the phone with them, furnishing them with all the necessary details. An hour or so later they arrived at the property, and we were able to help them with their enquiries.
During all this time, we were in close touch with our dear neighbours who remained abroad, reassuring them about their beloved cat, and reporting back to them as the investigation proceeded. The following day, a team of forensic experts arrived on the scene, and again, we were able to cooperate with them as best we could.
At no time during this challenging period did I feel a sense of shock or fear, although obviously we felt great sadness for our neighbours, that this should have happened to them while they were away.
When Jesus talked about “building our house upon the rock”, he didn’t promise that we would never have any trials and tribulations to deal with, but he did say that when those winds and waves came upon us, our house would remain grounded on the Rock! As our Leader puts it so beautifully, “Thus Truth engrounds me on the rock, upon Life’s shore, ‘gainst which the winds and waves can shock, Oh, nevermore!”
Our neighbours are very active in their local parish church, and in one of her emails to us, the wife said that her overall reaction had been one of gratitude to God that no-one had been hurt, and that their beloved cat was safe. She also expressed her gratitude that we had been on hand to take care of the situation while they were away.
It is so reassuring to know in Christian Science that when challenges confront us we can take comfort from our Leader’s words: “For storm or shine, pure peace is thine, whate’er betide”.
P.S. And update from 5/4: At the time [when this happened], I remember holding to the thought that nothing could be lost in Mind. And there are some wonderful verses in the Bible which throw a light on the word “restoration”. One of my favourite quotes is from Joel in the Old Testament where we read, “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten”. Well, there were no locusts involved in this break-in, but there were scenes of wanton destruction which were upsetting to witness.
Fast forward a few days later when our dear neighbours returned home. The wife was particularly distressed about the apparent loss of her treasured jewellery, much of it belonging to her mother and grandmother. As she opened a cupboard door to begin tidying up the mess which had been left by the intruders, she caught sight of an old shoe box at the front of the cupboard...it would have been in full sight of the intruders, but somehow they
had overlooked it. Or if they had seen it, they had ignored it. And tucked inside this shoe box was most of our neighbour’s precious jewellery, nestling intact in all the little individual boxes. This dear one had at some point put everything of sentimental and monetary value in this old box, and what the intruders had taken was of little value, being mostly costume jewellery and items which could easily be replaced.
Our neighbour said that when she saw all her jewellery sitting intact in the shoe box, she looked upward to heaven, as it were, and said quietly, “Thank you, God!” What had appeared lost to her had been restored, and through her tears she gave thanks to God for this blessing.
Of course, we rejoiced with her...without a doubt, this Easter-tide will be a particularly happy one for this dear family!