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“Drafting” and my career path

It was an especially hot and overcast summer day for a 25-mile bike ride. During a water break, a more experienced cycling friend asked me, “Have you ever heard of drafting?”

I replied that I’d heard of it in connection with drawing up architectural plans, but never in relation to cycling. So he explained to me that drafting is a technique where cyclists will tuck in behind the back wheel of the rider ahead of them. He went on to say that drafting enables a pack of riders to travel for longer distances at faster speeds because they face less wind resistance.

Well, it was one thing to visualize the vortices and air pressure that made drafting possible, but another to actually trust someone enough to ride that close behind! At that point, I wanted to draft when we got on the road again, but had to move beyond my fears. What if someone bailed off their bike or had to hit the brakes suddenly? How would I know when to shift for an uphill climb? What if there was a pothole or I got a flat because I couldn’t see the pavement ahead of me?

But as I hopped on my bike and began to ride again, I realized that the lead rider had his eyes fixed on the road. If there was a turn or hazard, he would let me know. My sole responsibility was to stick close to him, and I would be fine.

Once I started to draft, I noticed that the resistance lessened and the rest of the ride flew by.

After the ride, I started to consider the spiritual significance of drafting. It was more relevant to my life than I’d realized! I remembered many times when it was hard to see “the road ahead”—when following God’s lead down a path felt more uncertain than making my own way.

As a Christian Scientist, I’ve always tried to rely on the lessons of spiritual pioneers in my daily life. I guess you could say to “draft” behind them and learn from their undivided focus on God. And Jesus was undoubtedly a spiritual role-model. In the Bible, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” To me, Jesus is saying, “I am the example. See my life as your guide.” Drafting with the timeless Christ, or the divine nature he expressed so well, means getting over pride and humbly following the model of true love and unselfishness that Jesus set out for us.

Studying Christian Science helps me practice this. A few years ago, I spent spring break away from my job at a school, deep in prayer about a significant career change. I had a new direction in mind, but wanted to make sure that it was a sound decision to resign from one job before launching into another line of work.

It was Easter time, so I was thinking about and studying the story of Jesus’ resurrection in that week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson. After reading selections from the Bible, I read the following passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Glory be to God, and peace to the struggling hearts! Christ hath rolled away the stone . . . .”

“Rolled away the stone.” I mulled that phrase over. Huh. I saw that the stone symbolized discouragement or any obstacle that would keep us from feeling peaceful, moving forward in our lives and close to God. At that point, I knew that the decision about work, though complex, was a step of progress. I didn’t need to feel anxious. This experience was teaching me to keep my focus on God by following Jesus’ unflappable example as a healer.

What a comfort to know that as much as I felt that I was blazing my own trail, the Christ ideal which included “Love your neighbor” and “I am the way” was leading me. So when I came to a crossroad or challenge I could think about the confidence and tenderness with which Jesus handled situations. He proved that life is unlimited, immortal, and incapable of coming to an end.

Well, that was it. I felt at peace with my decision. I submitted my letter of resignation, and the transition to my new line of work was smooth. Just like drafting—I’ve found a greater sense of endurance and trust as I follow the divine ideal.

Mary Baker Eddy, the spiritual pioneer who discovered Christian Science and shared it with the world, described the benefits of following a spiritual path this way: “Christian Science enhances their endurance and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity” (Science and Health). And I’ve found this to be true.

So whether I’m doing something for the first time, or finding fresh ways to make each day more meaningful, there is certainly less resistance and greater conviction when I stop trying to prove myself and start following the spiritual precedent laid out by those who have walked the narrow way before us. They leave behind so much more than a historical record of their lives. We can draw on their ideas—ideas to love more—and celebrate our unceasing unity with God.

Originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel, September 17, 2009.

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