A stanza from a hymn by the American poet Longfellow says so beautifully:
Embosomed deep in Thy dear love,
Held in Thy law I stand
Thy hands in all things I behold
And all things in Thy hand.
We can hold each other – and ourselves – trustingly in that all enfolding love.
Freedom from fear
There are two experiences I would like to share with you.
The first one happened in 1973-74, when I was living in Ottawa. I had just arrived from the Sahel, and there was a major campaign on cancer detection in the public transport system, with little ads in all the buses I took almost daily, warning people of the dangers of cancer. I let this influence me, and started fearing I might have cancer!!! So I went to see a spiritual healer, and at one moment he said, ‘Pierre, have you ever had recnac?’
I replied with a huge burst of laughter: ‘Recnac? Why, I have never even heard of it.’
‘No? Well, its just cancer spelled backwards!’
I realized I had been afraid of a word and all the word stands for. This fear of cancer in the West is a cancerous growth in itself! I do believe Mary Baker Eddy is correct when she states that fear is the origin of most disease. Get rid of the fear and you get rid of the disease.
I experienced this in West Africa when I started a grassroots educational magazine, which rapidly became a journalistic phenomenon on the continent. I had already lived close to three years there, and travelled widely, without any second thought for malaria, nor taking any pills to ward off possible attacks.
Then I had to proof read an article on malaria prevention, speaking of mosquitoes as the agents of the crime, and I suddenly started being fearful of mosquitoes! Immediately after that I had to travel to remote rural areas, where I was abundantly pricked by the little devils… and rapidly developed the symptoms of malaria. The only three times in close to 40 years that I had to have significant recourse to medication (once even hospitalized for three days) was due to malaria attacks. The last two attacks I was able to handle without medication: once alone, and once with the help of a healer.
A turning point
The second one was in 1981, when I was a consultant to the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a whole year. I had to visit something like 100 institutions in seven Western countries in around 4 months! The very first day of my trip, landing in Schiphol airport (Amsterdam) I started having a terrible headache (I never had such things ever). Then I started dragging my right leg on the pavement when I walked, and I could hardly write (and I had to interview people every day!) At moments, I even had difficulty coordinating my thoughts. I had the choice of entering the local hospital, returning home – or healing the problem spiritually. I opted for the third alternative.
Now these are serious neurological symptoms, and as my mother had been operated on for a brain tumour, you can imagine that my rather vivid imagination had a heyday!
The turning point came on a train when I had a long trip to visit a renowned sociologist in another part of the country. I felt so bad I went to a remote part of the train where there were no passengers, and just cried to ‘God’,‘What do I need to know?’
And the reply came so gently with the first words of a spiritual, ‘He’s got the whole world in his hand’. Then, ‘You can fall on the pavement in the middle of the street, Pierre, but you can’t fall out of my hand. Hang in there baby, you’re not alone!’
That was what I needed to feel. That quiet assurance that somewhere, all was well and taken care of.
The struggle continued, at times extreme, all through Belgium and Germany. It started abating in Great Britain, improved considerably in Canada, faded significantly in Norway, and when I got to Sweden, I was scot free. And I consider the report I wrote on my trip to study development education the best thing I have ever written, apart from The Gentle Art of Blessing.
She’s got the whole world, including you, in Her broad, strong, loving hand.
With great love to you all, Pierre