Getting a jump on loving others

The day my child was born, a very wise longtime friend came to meet the baby. He shared a story that I took to heart and that has stayed with me all these years. It was about his parents, Bill and Aida.

After they began dating in college, their relationship grew quickly, so by the time Aida was to meet Bill’s parents, they were already engaged. The bride-to-be was terrified about meeting her future in-laws, but when Bill’s mother came to the door, she walked over to the anxious young woman, gave her a warm hug, and said, “My dear, I’ve loved you since the day Bill was born.” And that set the tone for a very sweet, endearing relationship they shared for many years. My friend encouraged me to start loving my infant daughter’s someday husband on that very day she was born and to pray for him regularly – to “get a jump on” loving him.

This offers a perspective in which loving one another – including in-laws, roommates, teachers, or fellow employees – is as natural as breathing.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, discovered in Christian Science an actual Science of Love. In her primary book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she expands on these two fundamental ideas: (1) that God is ever-present, always-active Love, and (2) that each of us is the unique spiritual expression of divine Love, so we inherently reflect God’s love, effortlessly.

These may seem like two sweeping statements that sound nice in theory but are not particularly practical. But like any science, to understand its premise and put it into practice, some research is required. Mrs. Eddy’s basis for her discovery was the Bible, which she studied ardently. Many of Christ Jesus’ teachings were meant to help his students understand the nature of God as Love, and his healing works illustrated the practicality of this understanding. In the book of First John we find this helpful instruction based on Jesus’ ministry: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (4:8).

To me, this is a wake-up call. If we aren’t feeling loving toward someone, or if we anticipate that we won’t be able to love a person for whatever reason, then perhaps we need to understand more about this amazing truth that God – the creator of all, the divine Mind that guides us – is supremely powerful Love.

Science and Health explains: “Divine Love is infinite. Therefore all that really exists is in and of God, and manifests His love” (p. 340). As the expression of God, divine Love, we are made to love. It is the most natural thing in the world to feel and express God’s love toward one another.

On this basis we can all get a jump on loving others. We can start loving our future employer, though we are yet to know who that involves. We can love our soon-to-be neighbors as we prepare to move into a new home and neighborhood. We can love our future leaders and politicians even before election results come in. We can pray to see the good in organizations and the people who work there, and to see evidence of the spiritual qualities of kindness and integrity that are natural for all to express. And letting divine Love inform the way we think about others silences negative and cynical thoughts that would hinder the building of productive, caring relationships.

As I watched my daughter walk down the aisle at her own wedding recently, I remembered my friend’s wisdom. It was more than easy to love the young man waiting for her at the altar, and it warmed my heart to think how many years I had already been loving him.

Seeing how truly natural it is for us to love others brings kindness and harmony to relationships – now and in the future – and enables us to rejoice with the Psalmist who wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1).

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