“This story originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Unity Magazine; www.unitymagazine.org.”
Thomas Scheinler is a student at the Unity Urban Ministerial School. He and his wife Casey attend Unity of the Seacoast in Dover, New Hampshire. Scheinler enjoys
reading, writing, and playing guitar. In his writing, he strives to create a blue-collar understanding of Unity and its principles.
Thomas was recently feature in Unity Magazine in the January / February issue under Expressions: Readers sharing how Unity has changed their lives.
When I was in my early 20s, my kidneys started to fail. I received my first transplant at 29 and a second one five years later. Although I developed type 2 diabetes from the immuno-suppressive drugs, I was able to work, exercise, and do all the things I had planned in life. At 50, however, my body began showing signs of weakness.
One day at work I collapsed with chest pains. I did not have a heart attack, but I was close to it. Doctors told me I needed a procedure to repair my arteries, which could be done only by a specialist. I also learned the surgery would have a negative effect on my kidney. Yet I saw all that was going on with my body as a gift—an opportunity to “go Myrtle.”
I’d first heard of Unity cofounder Myrtle Fillmore through her famous affirmation: I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness. So for me, “going Myrtle” had come to mean connecting with God and fighting back. With that affirmation, everything I needed to change my mind about sickness was laid out in front of me. I studied books. I took Unity classes. I was told, “It is not enough to know. We must act. We must do the work.”
Doing the work had become my theme. I started each day by meditating on gratitude and empathy. I was not going to leave my days to randomness. Because I’d been experiencing depression, I decided to add one word to the affirmation: I do not inherit mental sickness. I also created another variation: I do not inherit unhappiness. I also added this statement: I deny the power illness holds on me. So later on when I learned I’d need this tricky surgery to fix my heart, I was ready.
My doctors fought for 17 hours, during which I had three strokes and flatlined three times. They then put me into a coma for three days. When I awoke, the first thing I did was ask for water. The next words out of my mouth were, “I am going to run a 5K in the spring.” Setting intentions is part of “going Myrtle,” so I visualized my red running shoes crossing the finish line. When I actually did run the 5K, my time was terrible, but I finished the race.
Then my heart, although strong, started creating clots. Six months later, I was back in the hospital for a triple bypass and to repair what created the clots. After the surgery, the doctors told me my kidney had taken a hit and was now functioning at below 20 percent of its capacity. It was a Thursday, and they wanted to start dialysis on Monday. I took the news stoically but cried
when the doctors left. That kidney had been my hero for the last 23 years. I remembered then that “going Myrtle” is relying on thethings you know are true. It is putting into practice words,
wisdom, and love. What did I learn? I asked myself. And what did I forget? Gratitude. I forgot gratitude. I was so busy being stoic that I forgot to be humble. That night I prayed and I meditated. I thanked my kidney for all the years of wholeness it had given me.
On Monday, the doctor came in. “Tom, I want to hold off for a day,” he said. “Your kidney function has gotten a little better.” Each morning my kidney function improved from the day before. It was soon up to 50 percent function, then 70 percent. Now my kidney is working better than it has at any point since I received it.
I have another 5K planned in May. I no longer suffer from depression. That doesn’t mean rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns dance around me. It means I have the ability to deny the power negativity has on me. If Jesus can overcome death, then what problems do I have that are so big?
“Going Myrtle,” as I discovered, is choosing how to react in each moment with God’s faith, determination, and love. Healing follows.