Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'How Many Years Do You Have?' ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'How Many Years Do You Have?' ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

For several years, my mother, my two sons, and I lived in Spanish- speaking countries, where "How old are you?" is said, "How many years do you have?" And my mother was very pleased when she learned to say, "Tengo muchos anos, pero yo no tengo edad!" ("I have many years, but no age!"). Her approach to life was joyful, ageless - an anthem of praise to God.

She had found Christian Science in her search for how to help my brother and me understand God. And she not only discovered what to teach her children about their loving Father-Mother God, but also how to see herself more clearly as God's image. It was her certainty that she was indeed God's image, spiritual and perfect, that ruled out even a smattering of what the world considers age.

So just what was this age that my mother didn't have? Attitudes like fretting, brooding, or criticizing. Or making a big problem out of something that wasn't a problem at all if you went about it right.

Like the time the boys and I were living with her out in the country. They were 12 and 13 years old, and it was the first day for each of them to ride an old mare we had just bought. But the mare refused to take the bit. After watching the boys struggle with her for 10 minutes, my mother marched across the field, took a firm grip on the bit, and placed it in the mare's mouth, saying, "I was a mare before she was!"

Over the years, this little episode stood out as a metaphor in the boys' no-nonsense concept of their grandmother. "Gram knows how to get things done!"

She was truly an individual of spiritual vigor, enhanced by grace and lovingkindness. This Bible passage is reminiscent of her: "Thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shall be as the morning" (Job 11:17).

I think of my mother often these days, and ask myself: "How many years do you have? …

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