Looking for a better home life?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
How are things at home? Does your living space feel crowded, limited, unattractive, stifling? Maybe you wish you could live with people who understand, encourage, and support you. Or you feel trapped in an uncomfortable living arrangement caused by poverty or a lack of family loyalty.
Improvement can begin now, right where you are.
It happened to me. While still living with my parents and siblings during high school and college, I often longed for a home where I could feel free to explore and exchange ideas without fear of ridicule, condemnation, or disinterest. The intellectual and cultural atmosphere in some of my friends' homes seemed so much more welcoming and stimulating. This also hurt: while many of my friends were making plans to go away to college, my parents made it clear that this was not an option for my sisters and me. Knowing that we all really did love each other somehow made it even more difficult. I knew they worked hard to support us, and I felt guilty about my judgmental attitude and higher aspirations.
But, as I was learning in my church, this kind of thinking was only adding to the problem. To find a solution, I had to see what God's plan was for me. That was the way out of the limitations in my life.
I was finding out that I was God's child. That I was really already in possession of every quality of God that I needed to live a complete and satisfying life. I began to understand that my individuality was spiritual, anchored in God - in Truth, Life, and Love - and that I had a perfect identity from God. I began a real effort to affirm that God was my one true Parent.
Jesus said long ago, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Matt. 8:20). He was talking about himself. He didn't have a permanent dwelling. Jesus showed that you and I can trust God to provide for us. He went so far as to recommend this: "Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:31-33).
I began to be glad that I did have a wonderful home, where I could go anytime. My real home was in my understanding of who I was. It was found in "the kingdom of God." It was beautiful, comfortable, peaceful, and safe. It was mine because I was a child of God.
The Christian Science textbook, by Mary Baker Eddy, gives a way of seeing the Kingdom of Heaven: as "the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 590). Mind and Spirit and Soul are all names for God.
So, what were some of the qualities given from God that I needed to express in order to build a better home? Some were nonjudgmental compassion; a joyful spirit; a willingness to be of help; and gratitude for small favors. These were good beginnings.
With my parents' help and a part-time job, I enrolled at a university within commuting distance. Striving to bring more of the spiritual (Godlike) qualities of thought and action into the house and the family, I began, as I returned home from my classes each day, to see more that good was being expressed there.
Very soon after I began this activity, I fell in love and got engaged. After my graduation, my fianc and I married and started our own home. From our first small apartment, through many moves to various cities and houses, my home life has been expansive and beautiful, providing an encouraging and supportive atmosphere that has nurtured the individual progress of each family member.
The best part is that I've come full-circle in my love and appreciation and understanding of my parents. I can see more clearly than ever that God is the Father and Mother of us all.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society