The thought of being “mostly free” from some on-going difficulty can come as a relief to the one who’s struggling along. It’s a step in the right direction. Still, it’s important to remember that mostly free isn’t the same as freedom, and if we slip into passivity about having complete freedom from some difficulty we can lose sight of the high goal and any strong effort that’s needed on our part to achieve it.
Case in point: a couple of years ago I had a sore shoulder. It had been uncomfortable for a couple of weeks, but not so uncomfortable that I was incapacitated. I might have difficulty putting on a coat or lifting a large object, but then the pain would subside and I’d forget about it.
Then one day as I was reading the Bible Lesson I came across the statement in Science & Health that “Life is, like Christ, “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
I paused for a moment and thought about what it means that Life doesn’t change. Ever. Then it occurred to me that my life – which, as Christian Science teaches, is the expression of immortal Life, or God, — also doesn’t change. It doesn’t go from good to bad, or from good to not-too-bad, any more than God does.
At this point I realized I had become passive with the sore shoulder. Either I was the expression of immortal Life and the health and freedom it includes, or I wasn’t. There wasn’t some middle ground where life is sometimes in good shape and at other times not so good. God, Life, is infinite and immortal and He freely gives us the true idea of Life so that we can know what belongs to us, and that we have the full freedom to express it.
The passivity ended right away and so did the soreness. There was no further problem with the shoulder.
To be passive is to allow something, without active response or resistance. That’s the mesmeric state of mind I had with regards to my shoulder difficulty, and when I resisted it as being a totally wrong state of mind, and took a stand for the superiority of the true idea of Life, the passivity as well as the physical difficulty disappeared.
In a letter to her cousin, Hattie Baker, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “To get rid of a temptation of any sort, or to get out of a difficulty, we are not passive, and let the wrong rule the right.” Then, referring to Hattie’s sister, she added, “She should not avoid the things that hurt her…but meet them as their superior.”
Not a surprising remark coming from the woman who spoke with authority and from experience when she wrote in Science and Health: “Instead of blind and calm submission to the incipient or advanced stages of disease, rise in rebellion against them.” The Truth that makes free is what enables us to do that.