Probing the Mental Causes of Obesity

Probing the Mental Causes of Obesity

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A guest post written by Thomas Mitchinson, legislative liaison and media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois

“Fear, anxiety, and mental overload are causes for obesity in human beings,” according to Professor Dr. BM Hegde.  He called these emotions “mental flab that kills.”

In a recent blog he wrote, “Obesity, increase in body weight disproportionate to the height with excess fatty deposits under the skin, has become a menace to society, especially in the affluent West.”  He continued, “It has reached its zenith in the US, where almost every person seems to be obese.  It has become a good money-spinner for the pharmaceutical, technology, and the food industries.”

But then he talked further about the mental causes of obesity.  He wrote, “Many of us overeat when we are depressed and/or not happy.”  How many of us grab a candy bar when frustrated?  Or stop for fast food when under pressure?  Hedge gave this amazing sentence, “It is the mental obesity that manifests as physical obesity.”

Stress, pressure, loneliness, anger, frustration, emptiness, and fear are all elements of “mental flab.”  No matter how much we exercise or diet, if we don’t address these emotions, we are not treating the root cause of the overweight.

He commented that mental obesity is the inner hunger for spiritual satisfaction that is in many cases at the root of physical obesity.  It follows that this hunger includes the desire for attention, love, companionship, acceptance, and meaning in life.

Professor Hedge quoted Christian Science founder, Mary Baker Eddy, in his article.  Eddy wrote to her Church in 1902, “Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.”

The happiness that fills and satisfies us does not come from another.  It comes from realizing one’s relationship to God.  As one understands the unconditional, always present love of God for each of us, it satisfies the “hungry heart” which begs for some kind of recognition.  This love quiets fear, anxiety, frustration, stress, and every emotion that would lead to overeating, binging, or even starving oneself.

Isn’t it the lack of feeling loved that is often behind a “hungry heart?”  One may lack a sense of direction, or feel overwhelmed by circumstances out of control.  In such cases, the omnipotence of divine Love is once again part of the solution.  One can overcome the fear of being alone or unappreciated by realizing that “Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way” (from Eddy’s book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 454) for each of us – right out of the meaninglessness of existence into a meaningful life.

We can feast on God’s love.  We can share that feasting with others, and have our hungry hearts satisfied.  Integrative medicine expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, often speaks of “infectious happiness.” When we share our love with others or volunteer for some group, it fills not only their “hungry hearts,” but ours also.

So stop binging on food, and instead feast on giving – on giving love, attention, care, a listening ear, a smile – to others.  You are preparing a very low-calorie meal that blesses yourself and those you love.

Link to Mitchinson’s blog

 

Transforming Life with Love

Transforming Life with Love

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A guest post written by Diana Colarossi

Two years ago an aggressive cat showed up at my home – meowing hungrily. He wanted attention but did not want to be touched and he appeared feral. I was afraid of him and he was afraid of me. It was an awkward beginning with his colorful language being mostly hisses and snarls. My husband and I fed him and nightly we would say kind words to him. But nothing changed until one night my husband spoke to him softly, lovingly, and was able to pet him. From that night on he became the loyal, love-filled, irreplaceable, paper-sitting member of my family. Four months later another cat found a way into my home. I’d like to say it was an easy decision to take the cats in and keep them, but it was outside my comfort zone to make quick decisions like these. But afterward, my home wasn’t the same and I felt blessed beyond belief by this transforming lesson of love.

There was an even more profound, life-changing transformation that my grandfather experienced during the widespread flu epidemic of 1918. He was a young father at the time and was surprised when a neighbor showed up at his home. After all, his whole family was sick with the flu and there was a quarantine sign on his front door. This neighbor had a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy to give to the family. The spiritual ideas in it, based upon the life and teachings of Christ Jesus, helped my grandfather and his entire family was quickly healed of the flu. The ideas and healing made such an impression on him that for the next seventy-plus years he continued to study The Holy Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and adhere to its spiritual perspective.

I can’t help but think about all of the blessings that came to him and his family from this good decision to consider a different perspective of health and life than he was accustomed to. For the next ninety years, his daughter, who is my mother, treasured and leaned upon this spiritual perspective to handle problems. A spiritual perspective proved invaluable when doctors told her I was born too prematurely to survive through the first night. Clinging to the idea of ever-present Life gave my mother the strength and understanding to see her baby’s life as whole, intact, and preserved.

Can you imagine making the decision to follow Christ Jesus? Take for example Simon, a common fisherman, who was invited by the Christ to follow Jesus. That decision, to forsake the comfortable for the transformative, allowed him to witness the effect of the Christ, to see Jesus walk on the sea. He actually walked on the sea also! His decision to follow and accept the new idea transformed him and his name was changed to Peter.

I can’t help thinking that, like Peter, my grandfather was invited to follow the Christ, to do and witness something new and transformative, not based upon the physical senses. This invitation to follow Christ appears to us in daily decisions to welcome and love the new. The new cat appeared right on our doorstep, or at the door of our thought, and I can attest to the blessings we received when we let him into our lives.

Bringing Spirituality to Medicine

Bringing Spirituality to Medicine

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By Don Ingwerson

Two years ago a friend mentioned that her daughter was appointed as a chaplain in a nearby hospital. I remember at the time contacting her and asking if any materials were needed to share with patients. I don’t recall her response, but I got the sense from her that religious activities were not an integral part of the hospital’s operation. Instead, they were more of a support service – available upon call with a small office and maybe a small room for prayer. Wow, did I reach the wrong conclusion!

Recently, there has been much consideration given to the relationship between religion, spirituality, and health. Like all new areas of development, some wish to move forward with little supportive evidence while others wish to only refine what might be acceptable in their own field. However, a new breath of fresh air is blowing and individuals from all sides of this issue – connecting religion, spirit, and health – are looking into methods to treat the whole man.

Treating the whole man is what the GWish and the John Templeton Foundation are working toward. Gwish, or George Washington University’s Institute for Spirituality and Health, is currently overseeing a National Spiritual Care Demonstration Project at nine academic medical centers – with one at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. These pilot sites are testing and developing tools that may be used to make judgments about quality of care while applying alternative and traditional western medicine in healing the whole man. According to the Wall Street Journal, John Templeton Foundation, which funds research into such issues that intersect science and spirituality, recently awarded a three-year, $3 million grant to the New York-based Health Care Chaplaincy. This organization will use this grant to select and fund half a dozen national research projects to advance and test models for chaplaincy practice, especially in palliative care for the most seriously ill patients.

Quality of care is not the only concern for hospitals, though. With present health care costs continually rising, hospital administrators, doctors, and nurses are trying to find ways to contain expenses while still providing programs that are beneficial to the patient. Adding new programs in an already expensive arena means that the chaplaincy program will need to provide solid evidence of its benefits. “There is research to support that what chaplains do helps, but we really need to see more of it,” stated Emanuel Chirico, Chief executive of apparel maker PVH Corp, and trustee at the Health Care Chaplaincy.

The discussion of care and treating the whole man is becoming more vocal in the medical arena, which is leading to more receptivity toward chaplain work and spirituality in hospitals. “Physicians, meanwhile, need to stop focusing solely on medical cures and consider the needs of the “whole person,” says Linda Lee, clinical director of the integrative medicine and digestive center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.”

This documented, well financed, and professionally led effort by GWish to focus on the whole man through the development of a team approach has great potential as it is designed to use the best practices in the spiritual and medical fields. Spiritual leader Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the 1800’s, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, – a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love….Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind.”

Having served as a visiting chaplain in California institutions and feeling isolated from the institution’s leadership, I can appreciate the foundation this pilot program will give for the development of a more balanced use of alternative medicines as well as traditional western medicine. According to studies, the most commonly used alternative is prayer. Having a well organized chaplaincy program integrated into the health team can allow for a view with consideration of the whole man – which includes spiritual aspects – in treating health concerns.

Article previously published January 9, 2012 and first published in Blogcritics.

High-Deductible Insurance Plans and the ACA

High-Deductible Insurance Plans and the ACA

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by Don Ingwerson

Recently the Committee on Publication Federal Office posted new information on high-deductible insurance plans and how they fit in with the Affordable Care Act. I hope you find this information helpful as you go forward with any possible search for health insurance. To read this article on the original site, click here: High-deductible insurance plans and the ACA.

High-deductible plans (also sometimes called “catastrophic” or “self-directed” plans) have become a popular option for obtaining emergency, safety net-type coverage for large, unforeseen health care expenses. Monthly premiums for these policies are lower than for other health plans because the annual deductibles are higher. The potential downside to such plans is that if you incur a health expense in a particular plan year, you may have to pay more out-of-pocket until your deductibles are satisfied and the insurance kicks in.

Some high-deductible plans called “HSA-compatible health plans” can also be combined with health savings accounts (HSAs), which can be used to pay for qualified health care expenses not covered by your health plan, and might include care by Christian Science practitioners, Christian Science nurses, and Christian Science nursing facilities.*

When it comes to the ACA, some levels of high-deductible coverage will satisfy the law’s qualification standards, and some won’t. Many states offer coverage options to the public generally that are considered “catastrophic” and that meet the ACA’s requirements. Some of the options may only be available to those under the age of 30 or with low incomes and have more limited coverage. You can learn what plans are available to you on your state’s online insurance exchange.

*Please note that some high-deductible coverage is compatible for using in conjunction with a health savings account (HSA) and some is not. If you are interested in pairing high-deductible coverage with an HSA, you will want to verify that the coverage is an HSA-compatible health plan. It should reference “HSA” somewhere in the plan name or description, but it would also be good to verify that in writing with the insurance carrier.

Empower Yourself to be Healthy

Empower Yourself to be Healthy

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A guest post written by Wendy Margolese, Christian Science media representative for Ontario and legislative liaison for Canada

Have you ever thought about whether you can influence your own health?

According to Dr. Nancy Abram, MD, you can.  Here is an edited excerpt of my conversation with this thoughtful and intuitive physician who, after three decades, retired from her medical practice in Southern Ontario to focus on mind-body medicine.

What brought about your transition from conventional medicine to examining the mind-body relationship in the process of healing and wellbeing?

Dr. Abram: “In my practice as a family physician, I started to realize over and over again, that when I’d write prescriptions, patients needed a higher dose and were subject to side effects.  But people really weren’t dealing with their core issues.  I’m not against medications, but they are a bit of a blanket, particularly when you are dealing with mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

And so, I have felt for many years that the core issues are demonstrated through the body.  The body doesn’t lie.  So if the body’s in pain, there’s an emotion behind that pain – what you exhibit physically is tied to your thinking.

However, at some point if you don’t fix the disrupted way of thinking – the forms of thought that get you into a pattern – then as a patient, you will probably keep returning.

I did some extra training in a kind of energy psychology – one form was the Emotional Freedom Technique.  I received the designation of ‘GP – Psychotherapy’, recognized by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan).  I started using this approach on a few of my patients in the clinic and realized that this was the practice I wanted to do.  So I retired from the clinic.

I now see clients on a referral basis and they know I am going to approach things differently – they have tried drugs and when that hasn’t worked, they are willing to try my therapy. This doesn’t mean I don’t prescribe medication, but more often it means I have been able to get people off their medication.

How do you empower your patients to find health and wellness?

Dr. Abram: “It is about personal responsibility.  It can be frustrating for a lot of physicians because they will tell the patient to eat properly, exercise, etc., but the patient returns with the same symptoms – sometimes even worse.  They are handing their personal power to somebody else.  And it’s all about taking back your own personal power. Say you are feeling the emotion of insecurity, but your inner being, your higher self doesn’t agree with that. So I help you get connected with your inner being  – get back to that understanding that you don’t need to waste your time with negative emotions.

I teach my patients that there is a higher power they can tap into, a resource to help them discover happiness.  It’s helping people connect with who they really are, which is more than what they think.

There are probably more physicians who are of this thought than you realize, but they are on this allopathic road where you have to think of concrete things – diagnose and treat.  Treat usually means a prescription or a referral. This is the patient’s expectation.

Do you know who is ahead of this shift in medical practice? I would say the nurses.  Nurses are trained in a different approach to a patient. Doctors are trained to diagnose and treat; nurses are trained to look more at the whole person – what other factors may be impacting their health.

Do you have any final thoughts to share?

Dr. Abram: ‘We are all energy – quantum physics has taught us that.  Finding your health would be allowing the energy that is part of who you are, to flow without resistance.  If you look at consciousness as a vibrational energy and allow it to flow – health would really be who you really are, loving yourself. Most people do not love themselves.  There is the ‘kingdom of heaven within’ – so you have to acknowledge your own greatness, your own magnificence.

Dr. Abram may be just beginning her practice in mind-body medicine, but her years of experience have led her to see the connection between our thinking, – the “kingdom” – and our health.  If the ‘kingdom of heaven’ she refers to is the Divine – working within us, we can all discover an unlimited source on which to draw for our health and wellbeing.

Link to Wendy Margolese’s blog

Freedom from Inertia

Freedom from Inertia

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A guest post written by Blake Windal

I remember as early as high school learning the definition of the physics concept of inertia. As I recall, it is defined as the property of matter by which it retains its state of rest or its velocity or motion so long as it is not acted upon by an external force. While this sounds like a law in which only aerospace engineers or professionals in orbital mechanics deal, actually this concept challenges each of us, popping up in all aspects of our day-to-day life.

Take for instance the weariness each of us may experience when simply trying to get up early enough in the morning to accomplish some quiet prayer before the day begins. All too often, it simply doesn’t happen, since it’s just too hard to get up in time to beat the onslaught of activity that characterizes the start of the day. Or, have you ever felt un-motivated, fatigued, or caught in a rut? How about feeling that you’re moving so fast that you can’t slow down to experience calmness or quietude. All of these are the result of the hidden mental suggestion of inertia.

I’ve found freedom from inertia in understanding the spiritual opposite of this concept: seeing the universe as God created it. Translated back into the only true applicable law of God, inertia in its true sense can only represent the consistent and unstoppable impulsion of God’s harmonious activity.

When I feel unable to escape bad habits – spinning out of control with no method of stopping – I claim my freedom by knowing that inertia, or a feeling of inability to change, does not govern me. Inertia’s core platform is the concept of action and reaction, but Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century theologian and health researcher, states that “Mind is the source of all movement, and there is no inertia to retard or check its perpetual and harmonious action.”

With contagion so promoted as the winter season approaches, many react to the momentum of others’ thoughts about germs or disease. Colds are inadvertently advertised and promoted on television and in the media. Freedom from these effects comes from the knowledge that God is the only actor, the only motivator, the only environment, leaving no room for contamination of any sort.

So, when I find myself coasting along mentally – or even physically in my car, I remind myself that I am forever in the pathway of God’s perfect purpose and fulfillment, and I am not subject to inertia.

Don’t Take the Negativity Bait

Don't Take the Negativity Bait

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by Don Ingwerson

I recently recalled a cringe-worthy incident from when I was younger that dramatically showed how attitude and happiness go hand-in-hand. As I was heading up to my 10th floor office, I got in the elevator along with a finance executive. Since it was a little awkward just standing in silence, I made the comment that it looked like a really great day out there. His response, expressed with a certain amount of irritation, was, “What’s good about it?” The abruptness of his response startled me. Before I could regain my composure, the elevator door opened and I quickly stepped off without making eye contact or giving a trite “Have a good day.” As I walked down the hall to my office, I found myself replaying this encounter.

The incident got me thinking about people and their attitudes. Why do some people seem so unhappy while others seem generally happy and able to take negative experiences in stride? And what effect do these two different attitudes toward life have on one’s health? Kate Bratskeir addressed one aspect of these questions when she commented in the article “The Habits of Supremely Happy People” that 60% of happiness is determined by genetics and environment and the other 40% is up to us.

Martin Seligman, in a 2004 Ted Talk, touched on this “40%” that is up to us when he described three different kinds of happy lives: a pleasant life, a life of engagement, and a meaningful life.  What’s interesting is that he said that the pleasant life (a life filled with as many pleasures as one can have) had little effect on creating lasting happiness. On the other hand, a life of engagement (where one finds a life in work, parenting, love, and leisure) and a meaningful life (where one knows what one’s greatest strengths are) were both lives in the service of something larger than the people living them. People whose happiness comes from engagement and meaning in their lives are 10 times more likely to be in good health than those who aren’t meaningfully motivated.

Another quality to express besides joy is optimism, which is often found to promote health, especially an increase in longevity among those with heart disease. When you choose to see the silver lining, you’re also choosing a greater opportunity for health and happiness.

Studies indicate this opportunity for greater health and happiness is increased further by the inclusion of spirituality, because people who consider themselves spiritual appear to be better able to cope with stress and heal faster. Although happiness habits and the effect they have on health are new to many, think of Shakespeare’s wisdom that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Or this affirmation by 19th century Christian religious thought leader Mary Baker Eddy: “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring the good and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to the occupancy of your thoughts.”

Cultivating happiness and health by celebrating the little victories in life can be just as important as spirituality. Taking time to notice the things that go right means we’re getting a lot of little rewards throughout the day, which can directly affect mood by giving a greater sense of accomplishment.

On the other hand, avoiding negative qualities and attitudes can be crucial to promoting health. Dr. Andrew Weil shows how important this is when he quotes the Greek philosopher Epictetus in his book Spontaneous Happiness: “Remember that foul words or blows in themselves are no outrage, but your judgment that they are so. So when anyone makes you angry, know that it is your own thought that has angered you.” Even though my well-intended greeting to my grumpy and negative colleague in the elevator was not favorably received, I did not let this small negative encounter affect how I experienced that day. Over the years, I’ve cultivated an attitude of expressing joy time and again. And in that way I am able to take control of my health and possibly increase my longevity.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

Advice From Teddy Roosevelt

Advice From Teddy Roosevelt

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by Don Ingwerson

My Thursday blogs have most often been on some aspect of legislative or media work – and lately most of these blogs have been around the subject of the Affordable Care Act. But today I want to share with you an interesting Christian Science Monitor article about working together – since the government is still working to end the shut down and needs our prayers. The article is titled, “Advice from Teddy Roosevelt as Congress heads toward debt shutdown deal” and is written by Danny Heitman:

To end their political brinkmanship, today’s leaders in Washington need as much good advice as they can find. One promising source of wisdom is Theodore Roosevelt, who left the presidency more than a century ago. Roosevelt led the country from 1901 to 1909, and he’ll get a renewed profile with the November release of “The Bully Pulpit,” the book about his tumultuous times by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. But lately, instead of Roosevelt’s political battles, I’ve been thinking about his efforts to seek out fellow citizens across party lines, and divisions of class, creed, and culture, too. As the government grapples with shutdown and debt, his thoughts on collegiality and politics, outlined in a January 1900 article for Century Magazine, seem as timely now as when they were first printed. (Read More)

A New Era of Healthcare

A New Era of Healthcare

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A guest post written by Bob Clark, media spokesperson and legislative advocate for Christian Science in Florida

Two books caught my eye this week: Disease-Proof by David Katz and The New Health Age: The Future of Healthcare in America by David Houle and Jonathan Fleece. A quick perusal of both books reveals the following themes: 1) Our health care system is unlikely to be fixed by maintaining the status quo. 2) It’s more likely to be fixed by you and me and changes we make in how we think about our health and  how we live our lives. 3) Totally altered thinking can bring major breakthroughs and dramatic change in healthcare practices.

Disease-Proof points out that we live in a time when $.75 of every health care dollar is spent on managing preventable chronic disease. At the same time we face an epidemic of prescription pill use. Rather than waiting for the government or private industry to fix this, Katz suggests that we take greater responsibility for our own healthcare. Why? Because we can.

  • Less than 1/3 of us exercise regularly.
  • 2/3 of us are overweight.
  • Well over 60 million of us are smokers.
  • Over 1.5 million of us die annually from preventable causes.

Katz is optimistic. He champions preventive medicine and tells us, “we can reduce our risk of any chronic disease by an astonishing 80 percent—more than any drug or intervention could ever hope to do”, and that “abundant scientific evidence shows that four simple things play an enormous role in our health.”

  1. not smoking
  2. eating well
  3. being active
  4. maintaining a healthy weight

Readers of this blog won’t be surprised when I add a fifth “simple thing”– prayer. I’m one of the 77% of Americans, who, according to a recent Fox News poll, believe in the power of prayer to heal illness. I’m not sure why we don’t hear more about something that so many of us believe in. But that may be about to change too.

The New Health Age: The Future of Healthcare in America, by David Houle and Jonathan Fleece, argues that change is on the way. Houle is a renowned futurist and Fleece is a well known health care attorney. They tell us that, “The twenty-first century will be a time of dramatic change, incredible breakthroughs, and totally altered thinking about health, medicine, and health care delivery.”  There is good reason to believe that this “dramatic change” will include the rapid growth of integrative medicine, which includes the exploration of spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation. Several interviews I’ve done recently suggest that integrative medicine is taking a larger role and that professional discussion of spirituality has not only become acceptable but expected.

Dr. Ashwin Mehta, Director of Integrative Medicine at University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, told me that he envisions a near future where care centers will be considered remiss for not offering spiritual counseling and practices as part of their treatment programs. He pointed out that medicine has more traditionally been part of rather than separate from spiritual practices. It’s only the more recent and relatively short age of scientific materialism that has tried to separate the two.  He and his colleagues in Miami have been chronicling and encouraging the steady increase in spirituality as an accepted and normal part of healthcare.

Dr. Neal Krause at the University of Michigan recently received an $8 million Templeton Fund grant to carry out a comprehensive nationwide study of spirituality and health. As far as he knows, this is the first study of its kind. He expects that it will bring together studies from Harvard, Duke, George Washington University and many other university research centers that have been pursuing separate studies of how spiritual practices effect health and how we can better integrate them into current practice. To date these efforts have suffered from a “silo effect” which has hampered the synergy needed to bring these studies to bear on mainstream medical practice. That’s about to change too.

When a Templeton VP asked Krause what he would do if he could do anything, he said he wanted to “swing for the bleachers” to “put one over the fence”. Krause has the background, experience and academic authority to do that. His well-funded efforts to collect, organize, encourage and offer the public the best current thinking and practice linking spirituality and health may be one of the “incredible breakthroughs” Houle and Fleece envision in The New Health Age.

A sincere searcher for health with a similarly big vision from the last century, Mary Baker Eddy, said in a well known sermon titled, “The People’s Idea of God: Its Effect on Health and Christianity”,

“Scientific discovery and the inspiration of Truth have taught me that the health and character of man become more or less perfect as his mind-models are more or less spiritual.”

Eddy actually did “put one over the fence” by founding a worldwide religion with a strong element of spiritual healing, as well as a Pulitzer prize winning international newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor.

As the new era of healthcare continues to depart from the status quo, it may not be led by government and business as much as by you and me, and the changes we’re willing to make in the ways we think about and reach for health.

Link to Bob Clark’s blog

Travel Tips for the Road of Life

Travel Tips for the Road of Life

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A guest post written by Will Heining

“Glory be to God, and peace to the struggling hearts!” Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health

Chicago in July. The sticky heat of Midway Airport was accentuated by the lack of air conditioning. Remodeling was on-going and we were paying the price in the long line at the Customer Service Center.

Most of us had been scheduled on a flight to St. Louis that had been cancelled due to a mechanical problem. To get us on another flight, we had to wind our way through the overflowing zig-zag rope course line, which was being served by agents at only three of the eight windows. It promised to be a long afternoon.

We shuffled forward with each new vacancy, slowly gaining precious real estate, until I was a mere 4 or 5 from the front of the line. “Think cool thoughts” “Only a little while longer now” was the mantra playing over and over in my head.

Then, as the heat bore down and the air stilled beyond belief, the sound of a child’s scream broke into our collective consciousness.

Turning as one we all saw the grandmother trying to keep the boy – at least ten, maybe twelve years old – inside the half-circle of her arms as she pushed a luggage cart piled high with bags. I looked back at the three agents but they all seemed pre-occupied with the task at hand. “Why doesn’t someone do something?” I thought. “Why doesn’t someone…? Then, I realized I was that someone. I turned to the fellow behind me – I was now at the front of the line – and told him I’d be right back.

I walked directly to the woman where she was standing at almost the end of the line. I asked her to please come with me. The boy stopped struggling once we began rolling the cart and a window opened up just as we regained the front of the line. I guided her to the window – my window that I had earned by weaving thru the zig-zag ropes course – and then I walked back to take her old place near the back of the line.

As I re-traced the zig-zag ropes course for the second time, I was happy that, although I had greatly sacrificed, I had done the right thing. Not only that, but I felt that my actions alleviated the stress of that line for everyone – and created a much healthier place while waiting in line. I eventually reached the front of the line again without any dramatic incidents and was told that I was being sent – by bus – to O’Hare Airport for their next flight to St. Louis.

When I got on the bus I saw the grandmother, her husband, and grandson all boarding this same bus. When she saw me, she gave me a big hug of thanks and I realized that giving up my place in line hadn’t actually cost me anything. We still had all ended up on the same bus.

So the next time you’re tempted to edge out that slow moving driver or refuse to yield the right-of-way to a crosswalk walker, remember that helping out your fellow man, carrying part of their load or even letting them go first Never puts you further back – we’re all on the same bus! And these selfless acts promote health for the giver and the recipient.

Mary Baker Eddy put it this way: “When man is governed by God, the ever-present Mind who understands all things, man knows that with God all things are possible.”