Kathy and I were scheduled to help our daughter and her husband build a retaining wall in their back yard. The wall would be around 40’ long and 32” tall and require over 200 pavers that weighed 68 pounds each. A lot of heavy lifting!
On the first day of the project, my job was to lay the foundation layer of bricks in the ground. The foundation had to be perfectly level, so I’d put a brick in the ditch, check its level, lift it out, smooth the gravel below it, put the brick back in, check the level, lift it out, smooth the ground a bit more, then place the brick in again, and hopefully have it correct! It was a lot of heavy lifting from below my feet. After a few hours of this, the suggestion entered thought, “You are not used to this kind of heavy physical labor. You might start to feel aches and pains later today or tomorrow from so much heavy lifting!”
I did not ignore the suggestion. I instantly saw it as a red flag that I needed to pray and see why I could only end this project blessed, in perfect health and without a single ache or pain for the effort.
I thought about Mary Baker Eddy’s comment in Science and Health,
“You say, “Toil fatigues me.” But what is this me? Is it muscle or mind? Which is tired and so speaks? Without mind, could the muscles be tired? Do the muscles talk, or do you talk for them? Matter is non-intelligent. Mortal mind does the false talking, and that which affirms weariness, made that weariness” Science and Health, p. 217.
I decided that if I kept all types of mental aches and pains out of my thinking, I would keep them out of my body. And by mental aches and pains, I’m talking about any belief that I should suffer or could suffer. Also, any types of mental strain like feeling overworked, stressed or tense. I based my prayer on the absolute truth that I was a spiritual being that was wholly harmonious and capable of only feeling peaceful and free without exception.
As I worked and prayed, if I ever started to tense up and detect distress in mind or body, I’d stop, stand up, and remember that I was wholly spiritual, that I was doing unselfish work and expressing love toward my family and I could only feel peace and harmony as a result. Each time I did this, the tension would go away from my thinking, my body would relax, feel fine, and I proceed some more.
We finished that wall in 3 days, and were delighted with how beautiful and perfect it turned out. And I was also happy to recognize that there was not one single evidence of ache or pain in my entire body. And I didn’t hear any complaining coming from anyone else either. We all had a grand time together working on a labor of love.