A favourite hymn of mine is #139 in the Christian Science Hymnal. The first line is “I walk with Love along the way…” These words have always brought me great comfort, as does the musical setting. Some of my most cherished childhood memories are of my Mom singing that and also #304 (Shepherd show me) and #207 (O gentle presence) to me when I was sick. The words of all of these hymns still comfort me when they come to mind, and I can still hear her voice in my mind as vividly as the last time she sang these hymns to me when I was a child. The marriage of poetry and music in hymns has tremendous mental/emotional healing power. But, it is the line from #139 in particular, that inspires this post.
Walking with love is something all people need to do more of. Perhaps it is just my perception, but it seems like there is an increasing amount of hate and hostility in the world today. As I write this, the war drums against Syria are beating louder and louder. The political discourse in the United States and other countries is becoming particularly vitriolic, there is the increasingly ever-present scourge of bullying, and just the other day as I was leaving the office after putting in a late evening, I witnessed an argument amongst the folks who live on the street that threatened to escalate into a physical confrontation. This year, all of us where I work (I work at a front-line social service agency) have noticed an increase in hostility and violence on the streets.
In its purest essence, “walking with love” is one of the basic things Christian Science teaches, and that is one of the positive things I carry with me from my time as a Christian Scientist; and, it carries over into my current spiritual “walk”. As my regular readers will know, I follow First Nations spirituality, and it is often referred to as the “Red Road” or “walking the Red Road path”. The Red Road is a path of love, compassion, and respect–for others, the environment around you and everything in it, and for yourself. It is an ancient spirituality that far pre-dates any of the Abrahamic faiths. This is one of a few congruencies between Christian Science and this new (for me) spiritual path.
As I’ve learned to look back on the journey of my life so far, I am grateful to come to the realization that my time in Christian Science, while I view it as misguided, was not wasted. Like my circuitous career path, it has led me to the place where I’m at now. In a way, it has led very naturally here, despite some of the wrenching trauma I’ve experienced along the way. Sometimes, you need to spend some time in the rainstorm to appreciate the sunshine.
Each day as I go forward, I want to try to always “walk with love”–to me that means expressing love for me and for others. There are going to be plenty of days when I don’t quite as much. We’re all human. We can only do our best, and as an Elder once taught me, the Creator is very forgiving. If you fall, you just pick yourself up and keep moving forward.