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WHY would anyone write something called ``Etc.''? Because so much of human experience seems to fall into the ``et cetera'' category. There are, of course, those great topics of concern to all, like love for God and love for one's neighbor, healing, and immortal life. But then there is always et cetera! You know, all that small stuff, too minor to include in a detailed listing, the kind of thing you may not spend time praying about. Dictionaries define it as ``and others [of a similar sort]'' or ``and the rest.'' Generally, these are things we leave to work out as best they can, after we've put our effort into the major things. Or we may simply feel that not much can be done about them anyway. Perhaps they include some obligatory telephone conversations, certain dinners one has to attend, and minor inabilities or dislikes. Some people's et cetera category may be larger than others! Actually, the smaller your category, the larger your sense of life--life which isn't lifeless or aimless but alive and full of meaning. Once my wife and I were on our way to what might have been termed a mandatory dinner. I was to sit on the dais because my boss had been invited and was out of town. But we knew no one, and it seemed we had nothing in common with anyone there. The closer we got to our destination, the more the heart sank at the prospect of a supremely et cetera evening. But we decided to drive and pray, listening for what God had to say instead of dwelling on the prospects as we conceived them. We then could begin to see there were no meaningless events, no such wasted space as was being suggested in this instance, because God had already filled that space with His meanings, with sheer intelligence and overflowing love. We persisted in holding on to this viewpoint throughout the evening. The outcome was that we found ourselves in the midst of a surprising number of opportunities to express needed care and support of one kind or another for our dinner companions. And one new acquaintance that was made led to a spectrum of special friendships and pro- ductive working relationships that have aided the community and lasted nearly two decades. There really is no reason for an et cetera category in a universe governed by God, divine Mind. Here there can be no loose ends, no string of indeterminate, vague, ungoverned items. And increasing spiritual understanding that all is in fact under God's productive command means a decreasing sense of any possibility of lack of meaning and value, whatever the human circumstances may at first appear to be. Since God is not absent, we don't need to suppose He is. To the consciousness of divine Spirit's all-encompassing presence, nothing is insignificant. All is touched with God's light and meaning. And even the minutiae are seen to be opportunities for discipline, love, healing. Obviously, one doesn't, with some grand gesture of spiritual commitment, begin to live a life of only major moments. But minutes can be seen to be part of God's hour, as it were, as we gain the correct, spiritual idea of what our lives are really all about. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, says of the example of Christ Jesus: ``This spiritual idea, or Christ, entered into the minuti8 of the life of the personal Jesus. It made him an honest man, a good carpenter, and a good man, before it could make him the glorified.'' 1 1 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 166. This article is a condensation of an editorial that appears in the June 24 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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