My path through the ivy
Seven years old; covered with ivy poisoning; miserable.
Summers had always been heavenly. Our yard included leafy woods and a path to a swimming hole. The path itself inspired my love for woody walks; where I always imagine, as the Bible says, the leaves of the trees clap their hands.
Then that itchy misery. And as if adding insult to injury, smothered with smelly medicinal crusty lotions.
When winter came cold and snowy all I could think was summer. Please summer! Til I remembered that itching. So afraid it would happen again. And it did. But not exactly as before. Yes the rash appeared, spreading large welts. Yet Mom didn’t get the lotion: “Let’s call the practitioner and pray for healing. It’s not right for you to miss summer!”
She meant a Christian Science practitioner―a person who goes to God in prayer. For you to not just get better but happier. And unafraid of what might happen to you now or next summer. Or to people you love.
We’d been going to the Christian Science church―my brother and I to Sunday school―learning to trust God with lots of things. Outside one day I’d lost the locket from Grampa. Mom said, “why not ask God for help.” I did. And found it! So I guess calling that nice lady to pray with me sounded good.
Besides, earlier that year Dad had taken Mom to the practitioner: she’d been sitting up nights because breathing was hard. We knew nothing about Christian Science [not to be confused with Scientology]. When the practitioner prayed for Mom she began to breathe, and sleep, just fine in bed. Soon I watched Dad, who was becoming a heavy drinker, pour all his liquor away. Toss out his cigarettes. For good. He even got a better job. Home felt happy. Purposeful. Open to God’s love and joy. It’s as if Jesus’ Beatitude, ‘’Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled,’’ came true for Dad and Mom.
They felt they’d found a sweeter way to love us kids. And themselves. Not with lotions and pills. Rather with the idea of God as a ready reliable help, an easy companion. Not a “person” somewhere out there, which stimulated and inspired Dad. He’d wanted something bigger than himself to rely on. Particularly, a way to better understand God―and how to live life.
The day Mom called the Christian Science practitioner, about my rash, I remember feeling better fast. The itching stopped. Soon the rash disappeared altogether. Over the years I’ve had ivy-itch times, but no fear of it. I’ve been able to assert my freedom because I’m convinced no sickness comes from God, divine Love.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science church, wrote in her engaging book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “I hope dear reader, I am leading you into the understanding of your divine rights, your heaven-bestowed harmony,―that, as you read, you see there is no cause (outside of erring, mortal material sense which is not power) able to make you sick or sinful; and I hope that you are conquering this false sense.”
I love my path in Christian Science―it challenges my weaknesses to strength. Commands active love for others. Christian Science inspires commitment to trust God wholeheartedly, completely. To delight in the care that gathers us all up with comfort. Cure.
Confirms for me: the leaves of the trees forever clap their hands for each of us.
Patti Kadick lives in Salisbury. She belongs to the Christian Science church on Statesville Blvd.