younger daughter was in tears because no one in our family could understand what she was saying. We knew that she had lost something from her pocket—something that was precious to her. I prayed with a desire to help her, something our family needed to do often when communicating with this child. We longed to have her healed of a serious speech difficulty. In my prayers for her, I realized that everyone with challenging speech difficulties could experience freedom. It was comforting to have faith that one's inclusive prayers would bless our child and others.
Ever since she had begun to talk, most of the time we could only guess at what this daughter was saying. As a Christian Scientist, I knew that the beauty and perfection of God were expressed by our child in her true being, the spiritual image of God. This divine fact had to be proved through practice of the spiritual truths that the Bible and Christian Science teach.
As I prayed to help our daughter find what she had lost, I noticed a small book with a cover that portrayed a noted author and her daughter. The child in the portrait is embracing her mother. As I thought of our daughter's words that we could not fathom, the word hugging came to me. I then asked our daughter if she was telling us that she had lost a picture of a little girl hugging her mother. She happily nodded yes. Her tears changed to smiles when she finally received the longed-for answer and the picture.
At bedtime our two daughters prayed the following prayer for children in Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy:
Guard me when I sleep;
Guide my little feet
Up to Thee.
After our younger daughter listened to her sister say the prayer, she could only say in broken English, "I pray the same, God." We knew she longed to speak as well as her sister and the other little children.
I prayed for everyone, my family and the world. Such prayer for mankind has often been for me a gateway to healing, a prayer that one knows is answered because of a silent inner assurance as powerful and as convincing as spoken words.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy states, "Science declares that Mind, not matter, sees, hears, feels, speaks." I thought of these words of Christ Jesus' in the parable of the prodigal son: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Luke). It was inspiring to know that this inclusive spiritual fact promises all good for everyone.
As I remembered the healing power of a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal, I found these lines from the first verse helpful:
In Thy clear light of Truth I rise
And, listening for Thy voice,
I hear Thy promise old and new,
That bids all fear to cease:
My presence still shall go with thee
And I will give thee peace.
A statement from Science and Health is engraved on the wall of many branch churches: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need." My family and I considered deeply and reverently this sacred promise with its power to heal.
My mother was coming to lunch one day when we were praying with strong trust that divine Love does "meet every human need." As my mother entered our house, she asked, "Can Patricia speak any better?" In a little while, as we gathered around the dining table, our younger daughter greatly pleased us as she said perfectly, "I can say God; I can say good; I can say Love; I can say anything at all." And she could! Our family was profoundly grateful for this beautiful healing of speech.
In kindergarten and first grade our younger daughter's school marks had been poor. In second grade, after her healing of defective speech, she received all A's. Her teacher wrote to my husband and me saying that in all her years of teaching she had never known such a remarkable improvement in a student's speech. She called the marvelous turnaround a miracle.
When this daughter was in high school, her school chose her to represent them in a television program in the state's largest city. The officials said they chose her because of her excellent speaking and confident manner. Later her school again chose her to take part in the state's assembly of gifted speech students. The girl whose family formerly could rarely understand her words was among those who received the highest honors in speech in their state.
Regarding the healing of speech, I recall this hymn in the Hymnal:
It was the voice of God that spake
In silence to thy silent heart,
And bade each worthier thought awake,
And every dream of earth depart.
Louisa Velnett Palmer Kent, Ohio
I do not remember all of the details of the speech difficulty. I do vividly remember sitting with my family at lunch and amusing myself with an imaginary game of cowboys and Indians, when all of a sudden I was making the sounds of hard c's and g's—sounds I had been unable to make before. What a joy it was!
I am of course very grateful for my mother's diligence and firm conviction in God's healing power. And I am deeply grateful for Christian Science, which continues to bless me and my family. Today my profession, interestingly enough, is that of English teacher!