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Taking the Long Look at Life
FLORENCE GERTRUDE THYNG

 
         How wonderfully life unfolds to us when we begin to take the long look at Life eternal, instead of counting the years. When we begin to see that life is going to be one long unfolding of divine Love, we thank the Giver of this endless life, which will become sweeter, mellower, and richer as we learn the lessons of forgiveness, faith, patience, wisdom, and justice.

         As we learn to dwell consciously in the ever-presence of Love, we shall lose our fears, our tempers, our dislikes, our loathings, and shall become more noble, more capable of doing the mightier works; we shall be so much firmer in the truth; we shall take on by degrees the majesty of true manhood, until we shall stand undismayed before whatever error may attempt to do. We shall know the ultimate triumph of right beyond any shadow of doubt; we shall not limit the working out of good by years. Slowly, it may be, but surely, we shall walk out of the mist of half-truths and partial understanding into the glory and permanence of reality; and good will triumph more and more in our thought as we give it the ascendancy.

         And so, because we have started on this long look at Life, we shall value more and more those treasures which are enduring; and we shall seek less for that which is fleeting. The fruits of Spirit are those graces of pure loveliness which mark those who are truly good. They are, as Paul gives them, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." These simple and best treasures are within the reach of all; and we may gain them by replacing thoughts of evil, whether in the guise of hate, dislike, contempt, superiority, malice, envy, scorn, or criticism, by thoughts of compassion, kindness, helpfulness, brotherhood, and affection. In place of discouragement and gloom, we may look about for real joy, which is found in discerning the great gifts of Love and sharing them with others. These gifts are health, harmony, abundance, peace, and power, — God's precious, impartial gifts to all His children. They are spiritual thoughts or ideas, which are free. All may cherish them. All may come to see that these divine gifts are ever present; for God is ever present. As we become more lovingly and gratefully and continuously conscious of this ever-presence of good, we shall know, instantly and with certainty, that sickness and discord and poverty are not present, as reality, because they cannot exist where God is, — and God is everywhere, now.

         Surely such knowing can bring us only joy and peace and long-suffering patience with those who know it not, and yet who so much need its comfort. What sweet gentleness we shall learn as we touch the dire needs of sick and sad humanity, and what goodness and faith we shall have to develop in order to prove our words by healing! This will come about as we learn meekness, or self-abnegation, knowing that of ourselves we can do nothing. We shall learn a wise temperance, not being overzealous, but with quiet, steady persistence doing what best we can today, strong and patient to wait and work for more love and spiritual understanding.

         In this service of God our needs will be met, and we shall be saved the fret and worry of seeking place and power and money. We shall know we have started safely on the long road that leads to the house — consciousness — "not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." As we define our aim more clearly, we shall be getting farther and farther away from the unnatural and unnecessary strain of striving for social standing, for the praise of men, for material gain or the mere struggle for self-existence. These thoughts will almost unconsciously lose their tyrannical hold upon us.

         Instead of planning for seventy years, we shall be continually looking through wider gates into a constant broadening and sweetening of life itself, knowing that there is only one Life, and that eternal; and that man reflects this Life now. Mrs. Eddy tells us in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 290); "They who are unrighteous shall be unrighteous still, until in divine Science Christ, Truth, removes all ignorance and sin." Does not this mean that the unlovely will be unlovely still, the idle will be idle still, the poor will be poor still, until redeemed by Christ? We can find harmony or heaven only by living love and cultivating the graces of Spirit. Happiness can come to us only as our understanding of Life is improved. It is something which must be worked out, here or hereafter, by the daily overcoming of self through reflecting God. Merely studying the words of someone else will never bring it to us.

         The blessed words of Truth show us the way of Life, but we have to walk in this way ourselves. The more we prove the beliefs of age and death unreal, the more peace we shall have; and length of years cannot bring loneliness or dread to the one who has learned serene trust in God and tender love towards all. Such a one can continue to smile, to be loved and loving, and to maintain exquisite charm and sweetness. Such a one can also speak words of rare wisdom, for has he not won victories that have placed him far along the spiritual way? Mrs. Eddy beautifully states this on page 248 of Science and Health. She writes, "Men and women of riper years and larger lessons ought to ripen into health and immortality, instead of lapsing into darkness or gloom;" and in the few preceding pages she sets before us the open door.

         Helpful lessons may be learned in caring for those of many years; for if they have lived largely in a material sense of things, we see the barrenness of it all, and they need our help; while if they have gained spiritual vision, they have much to impart. We are in eternity now. We are building our lives, not for a span of years, but for the long reaches of eternity; and only spiritual things are eternal. We are standing even now amid the eternal ways; and we must adjust our vision to the eternal facts.

 

"Taking the Long Look at Life" by Florence Gertrude Thyng
Christian Science Sentinel, April 4, 1925


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