After the clerk had made sure everyone had left the store, she confided in the one remaining customer that she just received news that her house had burned down. "Thirty-five years completely gone." She'd waited until the building was empty because she didn't want everyone to know – "Too hard to handle all that emotion." So he reached across the counter, took both her hands, and looked her in the eye. He told her that somehow everything would be OK. He tried to be as calm and comforting as he could. Both she and her husband were alive and safe; and so was their dog. Her eyes started to tear even as she struggled to control her emotion.
No way did he want to minimize the calamity of what had just happened, but he could not stay silent, nor could he just hop in his car and go home. While looking at her distressed face and sad eyes, he thought of something Mary Baker Eddy said in regard to home. Pausing for a moment, he said to her, "Home is not a place but a power."
Her face brightened. Her eyes got big. She looked him straight in the face and smiled with a look of surprise and relief. She said, "That is absolutely wonderful. That is so helpful. Wow. 'Home is not a place; but a power.' " Then he mentioned that this was a statement by the woman who had founded his church.
She kept looking him right in the eye. The idea that home is a power was so encouraging and strengthening to her. She was obviously energized and inspired. Even though it hadn't seemed appropriate to quote the entire few sentences, just that first one was enough to lighten her load, to brighten her face with a ray of hope.
The entire quotation comes from a comment Mrs. Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, made in the late 1800s. She said, "Home is not a place but a power. We find home when we arrive at the full understanding of God. Home! Think of it! Where sense has no claims and Soul [God] satisfies" ("Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy," Irving Tomlinson, 1996, p. 211).
So many people move from one house to another, taking their spiritual sense of home with them. There are also many people who sleep on the open desert at night, or on a mattress in a homeless shelter, or in a different hotel room each night while on a business trip. For someone else, home is a cot in an Army barracks. Some people are struggling to keep their homes in the face of the current mortgage crisis. Regardless, anyone can gain a spiritual sense of home, and with it comes tangible strength and peace of mind. It can be felt by acknowledging the presence of Soul, God, and His goodness, tenderness, and perpetual care for each of His children.
A weather-tight roof, beautifully furnished rooms, and a two-car garage in a quiet neighborhood can neither guarantee nor destroy the spiritual peace that comes from abiding in the arms of God's fathering and mothering of each one of us. And since home is a power, it is something that can be discerned and demonstrated in practical ways for every one of us, even if we have to start all over again. The ideas that constitute our highest sense of home are indestructible and present.
The Bible is clear about God's fathering and mothering, from the birds of the air to each one of His beloved children. The Psalmist wrote, "Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee" (Ps. 84:3, 4).
When the customer returned a few days later, the clerk was decidedly more upbeat. She and her husband had quickly found a small cottage to live in while steps were being taken to restore their housing situation. She expressed her gratitude for a better sense of what real home is.
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope;
yea, thou shalt dig about thee,
and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.