I was in the office restroom crying my eyes out when a
woman I didn’t know walked in. She couldn’t miss my large,
pregnant belly. Joann Franklin hugged me and asked me if I
knew how beautiful I was. I didn’t. She said she had a book
she’d like me to read if I was interested. Of course, I was. At
this point, I would try anything.
The next morning, she handed me a copy of Hidden Power
for Human Problems (DeVorss, 1957) by Frederick Bailes. I
was so hungry for a lifeline that I read almost all of it before
falling asleep that night. She was totally surprised when I
returned the book so quickly and shared some of the things
I learned from it. I was so hungry and thirsty for Truth that I
asked for more.
Joann invited me to a weekly meeting at her neighbor’s
home where a small group sat in a circle and discussed Unity
principles and metaphysical interpretation of scripture. I was
fascinated by this new language and its relevance to real life.
When the baby came, my two children and I joined Joann
and her two daughters on Sundays at Unity in downtown
Kansas City, where Rev. Mauritz Erhard was the minister.
I was like a kid in a candy store, and the lessons, books,
publications, and discussions were the sweet nuggets of
Truth I had been seeking. As the saying goes, “When the
student is ready, the teacher appears.”
This set me, at 21, on a personal mission to heal my life.
My children feasted on Wee Wisdom® and I made Daily
Word part of my daily spiritual practice. This was the manna
from heaven and living water of which Jesus spoke.
Two years later, the baby passed away suddenly. I thought
I was pretty much grounded and invested in Truth, but this
experience rocked my world. In selecting the music for the
funeral, I chose “Come Ye Disconsolate” simply because of
the last line: “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”
I knew that the Unity philosophy was “words have power
and thoughts are things.”
Right after the song, Rev. Erhard invited everyone to listen
as he spoke directly to me. Standing there in front of that
tiny casket, he reassured me that I was not “disconsolate,”
and that my son was here for a purpose and that there will
always be a connection between us.
That was in 1974, and all these years later, the words he
spoke that still resonate with me are: “Don’t look at what
you have lost; look at what you have left.” With that simple
statement, I began to slowly change my focus. I had a
healthy, 6-year-old daughter craving my affection and love
who was also grieving her brother’s passing.
A few months later, as I was reading a Unity publication,
the following message leaped off the page: “I will restore
to you the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2: 25). That
message, too, has kept me looking forward to the good
that I know is already there for me to recognize and claim.
Several years ago, during my first licensing and ordination
interview as a student in Unity Urban Ministerial School, I
was asked what scripture I was using in my five- to seven-minute talk on my call to ministry. It was a no-brainer for
me as I thought back throughout my life’s events—and
particularly the times when I felt I was at my lowest points.
I believed with all my heart that someday God would
restore to me the years that the locusts have eaten. In
today’s vernacular, I would say that God has enabled me to
turn my mess into my message.
Joann Franklin made her transition many years ago.
The beauty she saw in me and the wisdom she gave me
will live on in my heart forever. Today I focus on what is
before me. I am so grateful that this student was ready
when Unity appeared.
Rev. Sandra Campbell is an
associate minister at Unity Temple
on the Plaza in Kansas City,
Missouri, where she has been
a member since 1980. She is
also on the Board of Directors
for Unity World Headquarters.
Campbell completed ministerial
training through Unity Urban Ministerial School in
2012 and was licensed and ordained a Unity minister
in 2013. She is also an accomplished speaker,
cofounder of Temple Toastmasters Club, and a
dynamic playwright and historical reenactor.
Readers sharing how Unity has changed their lives 44
What You Have
BY REV. SANDRA CAMPBELL