A few years back I spent a number of months on the road, touring with a show. During that tour I became increasingly aware of a large number of people who spent most, or all, of their working lives on the road. Not just actors and actresses, but people with the circus, salesmen and saleswomen, and so on.
While the life style of someone working on the road may have a certain romantic quality, especially for the young, there can be hardships. Playwright Neil Simon, describing his new play in a recent interview, talked about them: ''It's about people who are on the road, isolated from their families and their roots, and who have to make an existence for themselves. When you're spending long periods doing that, it's a lonely life.'' n1
n1 The New York Times, March 27, 1983.
It's one thing to try to escape the loneliness and homelessness. (And unfortunately, drinking is one of the more common escape routes.) It's quite another thing to face the challenges head-on and deal with them through the teachings of Christianity.
Because Christ Jesus so clearly understood his inseparable relationship with his Father, God, it's hard to imagine anyone with a more embracing sense of family or a more constantly present sense of home than the Master. His statements about the brotherhood of man and about his Father's house bear this out. Yet he apparently had no permanent home. n2 Wasn't his home, then, a state of consciousness, the consciousness of God's presence and love?
n2 See Matthew 8:20.
From a spiritual point of view, home and companionship are mental concepts, and as such they travel with us. So the problems of the road - the isolation, the rootlessness, and so on - can be dealt with effectively in one's own thought , through prayer. It's a question of our relationship to God, a question of what we accept into consciousness.
The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, n3 includes a chapter entitled ''Footsteps of Truth.'' The chapter concludes with a sentence that is both reassuring and welcoming: ''Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God.'' n 4 That's it! We're each the guest of God, welcomed by Him, cared for by Him. Home is heaven - and heaven is found whenever and wherever we are conscious of God's government, His reign, His harmony.
n3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health, p. 254.
Think of God as Father-Mother, as divine Love. God is not just your Father-Mother, but the one true Parent of every one of us. And this father-motherhood of God is made manifest in the brotherhood and sisterhood of man. The more we understand this, the more we'll find ourselves companioned. Not because we've found ''friends'' in a bar, but because we're moving through each day conscious of our sonship or daughterhood with God. This consciousness is naturally expressed in a sense of completeness, of belonging, of warmth. It's not too sweeping to say that wherever we go we can feel that we're rooted in divine Love, sheltered by Love. That's where we belong, where we can feel that we're wanted, where we fit in.
Remember the twenty-third Psalm? What a message of companionship and welcome and assurance it has for the traveler! Mrs. Eddy illumines the final line of that Psalm in this way: ''Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house (the consciousness) of (love) for ever.'' n5
n5 Ibid, p. 578.
Wherever we are, we truly dwell in the ''consciousness of Love.'' No rootlessness or companionship problem there. In the degree we understand this truth, we will find that the challenges of the road don't loom so large. And if challenges do come up, we'll have the spiritual resources to deal with them decisively. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? . . . If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the ses; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. Psalms 139:7, 9, 10