Only a Belief
by Rev. Irving C. Tomlinson
“When one is sick, why do you say, ‘It is only a belief’?” This often-asked question has an answer in the following incident, told by a New York Scientist.
While playing lawn-tennis, a young woman was hit in the face by a tennis ball. After recovering from her confusion, she found that her two front teeth, supplied to her by the dentist and set in gold, were gone. She quickly arrived at the conclusion that she had swallowed her teeth, and that her life was in danger.
Had she been a Christian Scientist, she would have known that the swallowing of her teeth was only a belief, and that, as God’s child, she was “all right.” Not being a Christian Scientist, she sent for the family physician, who knew she had swallowed her teeth, and that she was “all wrong.” The usual grave announcement was made: “The case is very critical,” followed by the frank avowal that “The teeth, with their gold prongs, cannot be pumped up or thrown up. The patient must be kept very quiet. She will grow weak, lose her appetite, take to her bed, suffer severe pain, have convulsions, and most likely die.”
It is not said that the physician was a prophet nor the son of a prophet. Oh the time-honored (?) custom that decrees the fulfillment of medical prophecy. In a critical (?) case, to prophesy doleful disaster is very “regular,” to declare that it is only a belief is very “irregular.”
In this case the treatment was “regular,” and the symptoms which followed were “regular.” The patient was kept quiet; she grew weak; she lost her appetite; she took to her bed; she suffered severe pain — but she did not have the convulsions. Before this symptom was due to manifest itself, the patient’s sister found the teeth in the grass on the lawn and carried them to the patient, who was thereby convinced that the swallowing of her teeth was only a “belief.” When she saw that the teeth in her stomach were only a belief, and not a reality, she saw there was no necessity for convulsions, in fact no necessity for her being in bed at all, or for that matter, being in any way ill. Then she knew she was all right, and she was all right.
Had Christian Science cared for the case, what was known last would have been known first, and several unnecessary illusions would have been avoided; for she would then have known that the swallowing of her teeth was only a belief, and that, as God’s child, she was all right.
Moral. — Learn to know that your “beliefs” are in the grass and not in yourself, and you will be all right.