When you feel shut in a box and the flaps are held closed and there seems no way out remember the words of Amanda Berry to the 911 operator: “I ‘m Amanda Berry…and I’m free now”. Never give up. Never forget who you are. Amanda recently helped me through depression. A photo on Facebook emerged on my Newsfeed of two men in professional positions that I hungered to fill. While happy for them a weight of sorrow and futility held my joy down. I felt like I was boxed in, as I read Amanda’s captor had done to his wife – putting her in a box and then closing the flaps out of cruelty. A heavy hand pressed upon my thoughts, and I felt overwhelmed by feelings of discouragement, regret at past decisions, victimized by tragic circumstances, trapped by people and devoid of hope for the future. I sat in a frozen funk for five hours thinking “if only….” Then the wail of the children of Israel when Moses led them out of the bondage of slavery resounded in my thought. “Hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” And I remembered that Moses’ strong answer was “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.” Ex. 14:11-13. A friend had asked me to pray for her. Her body hurt. She was immobile in pain. Although I felt my own situation lacked promise, I yearned to see her free and happy. I loved and cared for her and this moved me to mentally step outside the box. I opened a book that has had special meaning in my life as the author, Mary Baker Eddy, won freedom from severe debilitating illness, the harsh circumstances arising from widowhood, and the oppression of a husband who left her trapped in a small house in New England, sick, and without money. In this book Science and Health Eddy provides keys to the Scriptures. She gained her own freedom and went on to found a worldwide church, and a global newspaper, but what struck me was that her stated goal, written in a paragraph titled “House of Bondage”, was “The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharaohs, who today, as of yore, hold the children of Israel in bondage.” Through faith and trust in God she was guided “into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged.”SH 226:25-2. Freedom is the law in the land of Christian Science. Out of love for my friend I let myself warm to God. I clicked on His page. I saw that to help my friend I needed to let go of what had become a confining belief that God had ever left me, and that my life was out of His sight, hidden away. He asked me if I could believe instead that He loved me so much that I was never out of His care and that His purpose for me was grander than anything I could imagine. At the same time it felt like someone was pushing the flaps closed on my mental box, and I was tempted to panic or push back. But then I realized that God was IN that box. God is everywhere, even in the house of bondage. I felt His gentleness. And I realized that the sense of the box disappeared. Deep, powerful and inspired prayers of gratitude freely flowed and my friend was released from pain. I recently read a book of poetry titled Taps on the Walls* written by United States Air force fighter pilot John Borling. He was shot down on his 97th mission over Vietnam and was tortured for 6 years and 8 months in a North Vietnamese prison. He writes “Jail me, hurt me, hate me, but the mind and spirit are weapons.” Without pen or paper he and his fellow prisoners tapped messages of poetry to each other in code. When I heard the 911 tape of Amanda Berry, I heard the same poetry of freedom. “I am Amanda Berry…I am free now.” I am me. And I am free now. I know my name, God’s Child. I know my address, the land of Christian Science, and I know under God’s law that I am free, we all are free…to let our light shine. *From Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton by John Borling. Copyright 2013. Greenleaf Book Group, LLC.