In the town where I live, there's a small coffee shop that's a regular destination for bicyclists who ride up from New York City. Although it's tiny, with only a dozen chairs around a few small tables, it's not unusual for there to be 30 or 40 people crowded into this tiny space on a weekend morning.

One Saturday, I was sharing a table with several cyclists. We were jammed in, shoulder to shoulder, each of us huddled over his or her own small area of the table. Before long, the woman nearest me bumped the table with her knee, sending a large cup of hot tea sailing in my direction. I instinctively reached out to stop it, and as I grabbed the cup, the hot liquid spilled out onto my hand and wrist. As I mopped up the mess with some napkins, I felt intense burning and saw that the skin on my hand and wrist had turned bright red. The woman who'd bumped the table seemed completely oblivious to my dilemma, and although she offered me a tissue, she didn't really seem to be aware of what she'd done.

In that first split second, as I attended to the mess, I was also attending to my mental state. I was startled, afraid, and I felt hurt and a bit annoyed at the woman's apparent lack of concern. As a devoted student of Christian Science, I didn't welcome these emotions, and I wanted to prohibit them from invading my consciousness and supplanting my peace. I realized immediately that this was an opportunity for me to prove, as I have in other instances, what Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that "accidents are unknown to God ..." (p 424). To me this means I can never be the victim of an accident of any kind, and there also can't be any residual effect from something that never occurred in God's view of reality, which, I've learned, is the only correct view.

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March 30, 2009

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