Thursday, September 25, 2014

The road of patience

Yesterday's blog entry asked "should we expect a miracle?" I know a man who did. When I was a senior in high school, Mr. Henniker-Heaton was my Sunday School teacher. He was from Great Britain, and during WWII lived in bomb-ravaged London. Here's his story, as he shared with us.

Peter J. Henniker-Heaton

"Just before World War II, I was working for the British Home Civil Service when I began to lose the use of my legs. When my sick leave ended, I had a week-long medical exam and they said I had some form of paralysis for which there was no known cure. I was invalided out of the service, and my dear wife cared for me at home, but for almost 10 years I could not stand or walk. At times I ate little and slept poorly. Our home, an upper flat in central London, was under Nazi air attack for four of those years. And we were low on funds."

No medical remedy existed, but Mr. Henniker-Heaton prayed for healing. He read the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, from cover to cover. When he was too weak to turn the pages, his wife left the book open before him, and he memorized the page. Eventually he knew more than half the book by heart. Fellow Sunday School teachers called him "the walking concordance." Walking?

"As I studied, spiritual joy filled me," he remembered, "and with it a keener sense of spiritual innocence. In the tenth year, I began to walk again. My sleep and appetite returned to normal as I went forward in God's strength. All the good of those years remained with me; all the loss and evil are as though they had never been."

Mr. Henniker-Heaton was a part-time poet. When asked how he could trust God patiently for ten years until his health returned, he responded with this verse.

No mortal effort builds the road of patience.
God laid it well before the world began,
Himself, the God of love, the God patience,
For man, His perfect child, to walk upon.


  1. Sure appreciate this brief posting about Mr. Henniker-Heaton. I recall listening to articles he'd written for some of the Christian Science periodicals, when I was a kid. My parents were very fond of his articles for the clarity & direct reasoning his articles exhibited.
    Hearing of his spiritual persistence & trust is encouraging to me.

  2. I find the book Jubilee and Other Poems by Peter Henniker-Heaton speak to me in satisfying my need of peace and comfort; as well as, to share with others. Today, I am sharing the poem: Inhabiting Eternity in a card to my brother, whose best friend was in a fatal car crash. Many, many of Peter's humble and clear meaningful poems are read fresh again and again finding delightful lessons. When I had studied Christian Science briefly and working at the Christian Science Publishing House, Rose Henniker-Heaton was a visible presence there, whom I heard carried her husband up the stairs to their flat for many years. Steadfastness and Patience are beautiful qualities they embraced. I'm deeply grateful. From-- Jo (Josephine)

  3. I just read his hymn #591 from CS Hymnal. He sounded like a wonderful person