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Found: a better view of brotherhood

The tiny charms on our daughter's bracelet were a three-dimensional diary of our family travels. There was a little Ferris wheel with its seats swinging and dangling precariously. It was a miniature of the famous one in Vienna. And there was the smallest of cuckoo clocks from Switzerland. It had taken years to fill the crowded bracelet. I felt terrible when I lost it in the midtown mall. I had just picked it up from the jeweler, who had attached new charms from a recent holiday.

Retracing my footsteps through the mall got me nowhere. I even returned to the jewelry store. Nothing! There were hundreds of people downtown, and the bracelet was in a small envelope. What would protect it from uncaring feet?

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I quickly discovered there were some more things I needed to lose before this situation was resolved. The unwelcome baggage was mental -- fear and guilt.

Christian Science has been my way of life for a long time. It has become natural to pray in response to daily events -- the welcome ones as well as the unwelcome ones -- such as this loss of the bracelet. While individuals and the world as a whole face far greater challenges than the loss of a particular item, however precious, it's important that we prove the power of prayer in the smaller concerns of life as well as the larger ones.

Much of my education in prayer has come from the man who prayed as never man prayed before -- Christ Jesus. Jesus' teachings on prayer -- faith and trust in God, love for God and man, and the understanding of man's relationship to God -- are iterated in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.1

During this experience some familiar words from Science and Health came to thought: ``It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established.'' 2

I had learned that passage in Sunday School, and it makes a strong demand. I had to stop and wonder how it matched my need to regain trust in God's control of the immediate situation.

Did I really believe that all individuals have one Mind, one God and Father? Could I believe that someone who had the same Mind that I did -- someone who in his true being was the spiritual likeness of the one God, as I was -- would keep something that was not his? But even more challenging was the helpless feeling that went with wondering how the bracelet could ever be returned. It had no identification. I wrestled with these questions until I was able to submit to the demand to acknowledge and acc ept that all individuals, in truth, have one Mind.

I stopped searching for the bracelet and went home. As I came through the door, the phone was ringing. It was the jewelry store. ``Come back downtown. The bracelet has been found and brought to the store.'' The little envelope had the jeweler's name on it. The finder simply delivered it and left. There was no damage to any of the charms, even though they had been lying on the tile floor of the mall for quite some time. What had been required of me was trust in the one all-knowing Mind that is Go d. Trust lifted me out of the fear of many minds with possible conflicting motives and acts.

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Understanding that all people have one Mind erased the guilt that went with believing that I had a finite mind that could do something careless. Self-condemnation couldn't flourish in the one Mind, whose omniscient goodness rules out mistake, accident, carelessness, loss.

At this point I was curious to know the context in which the healing message from Science and Health appeared. I found that the words that had come to me in the mall were preceded by Mrs. Eddy's quoting of the Old Testament command, highly endorsed by Jesus, ``Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.''

How wonderful! I could see that I had indeed been loving my brother as myself when I finally gave up the fear that one of God's family could steal or damage or even overlook something that belongs to his brother in Spirit. Far from naivet, the understanding that all individuals have one Mind, one God and Father, showed that my brother loved me, too. The bracelet was restored. 1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Science and Health, p. 467.

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