BY SUSAN ANDERSON
The Christian Science church members of Bainbridge Island offer a free talk each year on a topic they feel can contribute to healing of some issue in the community.
This year, the lecture was titled, “Angry No More, prayer, healing, forgiveness, discover the connections” and was given by Michelle Nanouche, a Christian Science lecturer and teacher.
She told a story about a time she was in the car with her young daughter who was pushing all of her buttons.
She resorted to a time-tested method to get her attention. She started to count to three.
Just as she was rounding “two”, with an expectation of a restoration to order, her daughter spoke up and said, “You know, Mommie, my friend’s parents count to 10.”
Michelle said, “Oh, Betsy, you don’t know what you’re asking. If you made me wait until 10, I don’t know what I would do!” That caught her daughter off-guard and they laughed.
Michelle said, “My counting to three was a form of prayer. Years earlier I had learned that I would need to be extra diligent neither to repeat the parenting behavior that I had witnessed growing up of reacting to misdeeds in anger nor to overcompensate for early experiences by letting problems go uncorrected, so I adopted this three-count method to stop my own reaction to anger. It was to remind me of who and what was in control.
“Here is my prayer: 1. God, who is divine Love, is in control of me. 2. This same Love is in control of her. 3. Love, divine Love, is in control of the situation.
“My three-count prayer was simple but also very effective. I had never had a challenge to this prayer until that day. To accept her deal would have involved accepting that my prayer would take 10 counts before it would be effective, that I would see no immediate results from this prayer. And that to me was unacceptable. So we stayed at three and I think it was good for both of us.”
The recent series of workshops at the high school, Bainbridge Healthy Youth Summits, sponsored by Raising Resilience, Bainbridge Youth Services and the Bainbridge Island School district, has focused on encouraging internal strengths in our youth, our families and schools. This three-count prayer is a way to connect appropriately with our children, our friends, associates, even the guy who cuts us off in traffic, the robocalls, whatever would try to push our buttons!
Just pause, count to three and after each count, recognize that Divine Love is in control of you, the other person and the situation.
Susan Anderson — Sunday School teacher, Reading Room attendant and member of First Church of Christ, Scientist — loves children, playing clarinet, hosting jazz concerts, skiing and gardening.