Author and Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy once gave her students this advice when it comes to healing themselves and others, “I will tell you the way to do it. It is to love! Just live love – be it – love, love, love. Do not know anything but Love. There is nothing else. That will do the work. It will heal everything;…Be nothing but love.”
Over a hundred years later, author and physician Larry Dossey wrote, “If scientists suddenly discovered a drug that was as powerful as love in creating health, it would be heralded as a medical breakthrough and marketed overnight – especially if it had as few side effects and was as inexpensive as love.”
Individuals all over the world are finding the health benefits of loving more. The individual stories of those who are finding their lives better physically, mentally and spiritually by sharing love with others would fill volumes.
One group that is dedicated to sharing their love with children and teens is the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP). Made up of eleven chapters in Illinois, FGP’s over one thousand volunteers serve as one-on-one tutors and mentors to over 4900 children and teens.
Quoting Ghandi, Gloria Monahan, director of one of the Illinois FGP programs, stated, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” She told me, “This activity gives seniors a new purpose. They feel needed and wanted. Volunteering is a great way to overcome social isolation.”
Volunteer Jack Sunderlik agrees. He told me, “I’ve always felt that the purpose of life is a life of purpose. This is just right for me. I want to teach as Jesus taught. Not only can you make a difference in a child’s life, I’m getting more out of this than the kids. This work benefits me mentally and physically. These children make me feel young!”
“We are reaching children in a prevention capacity,” Monahan told me. “That is true for our seniors also. They are given a bi-annual mood assessment and over 90% of our volunteers have an improved sense of wellbeing through their volunteering.”
Sunderlik commented about the children he helps, “I’ll be at the grocery store and hear ‘Hey Grandpa!’ Then a child, who doesn’t look at all like me, comes up and gives me a hug!” One African-American child also told him, “You’re the first white person I really like.” And a grandmother came up to him one day and said, “You’ve saved my grandchild.”
“I now have 463 grandchildren, and my son is not even married!” Sunderlik quipped.
Eddy wrote, “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.”
It’s a good resolution – let’s love more this year. It’s good for your health!
©2017 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois