Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dogs among the Daisies

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Dogs among the Daisies

Article excerpt

I LIVE in a leafy corner of a large city, among terraced houses and redbrick sidewalks. Recently my friendly, cosmopolitan neighborhood became ruffled. A group of residents resented the Parks Department for not providing a special place for exercising dogs off their leashes. And in an act of civil disobedience, they allowed the dogs to careen through flower beds that were being maintained by volunteer gardeners-like me!

A protracted-albeit civilized-discussion with the protesters left me indignant at their lack of consideration for others. Self-righteously, I argued: Was I wrecking flower beds because the Parks Department hadn't met my needs for a place to skateboard, or fly kites, or play football in the heart of the city?

Soon I realized that human reasoning would get me nowhere. Fussing over others' disregard for what is often called the Golden Rule in the Bible-"As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise" (Luke 6:31)-didn't excuse me from obeying that rule to the full. What was expected of me in such circumstances?

The answer came almost immediately, from something written by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. It is in the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence. In reality there is no other existence, since Life cannot be united to its unlikeness, mortality" (p. 492). "Right reasoning." If I would engage in this, the result could be a package deal that would include attentive listening on both sides, marked by patience, fairness, and respect.

I realized I needed to lift my thought far above a scene populated by willful people with minds all their own. I had to look beyond the beauty of the flower beds and the uncontrolled animals to the atmosphere of Spirit, where God reigns absolutely.

Right reasoning-which is centered on the laws of God-would lead me to a better understanding of others' feelings and of their situations; toward genuine forgiveness for any irresponsible behavior on their part; and to action on my own part that would bring an equitable, quick solution. …

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