CAN you imagine a wheel without a hub, or a hub without a wheel? Recently, while preparing for another move, it occurred to me that home is like that wheel. It must have a nucleus of affection and love for God, but if there are no spokes of outreach coming from the nucleus, there will not be much progress or purpose for that hub. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,1 there is a statement that expresses this idea: ``Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections.''2
This was just one of the many enlightening thoughts on the subject of home that my husband and I found helpful when we were looking for our first house.Each time we were required to move after that time (and this was often), we found that when our thoughts centered on the qualities associated with home, such as love, gentleness, peace, and unselfishness, rather than simply the more obvious, outward factors of style, location, price, and so forth, we would find a satisfying house. Each was appropriate for the time. The physical characteristics of each house were incidental to the recognition of the spiritual qualities of home. We found that as we remained faithful to the true meaning of home, our family life reflected much joy, and our interests and affections grew outward toward the community, our nation, and the world as well. Then an interesting thing happened. We found a small ranch in the Northwest that looked like a bit of heaven on earth. It seemed the ideal place to settle down and stay. But although sixty beautiful acres lay at our feet, we soon began to feel a closing in. To my husband this was oppressive and he wanted to move. It affected me in an opposite way. In fact, staying there became almost an obsession to me, although I did not recognize it as such.
But then I began to see that I was cherishing a piece of property rather than the spiritual qualities of home, which had served us so well in times past. Before, my attention had been directed toward other members of my household and the community. Now there was only a preoccupation with the ranch -- making the little farmhouse cozy, watering the pasture, tending the garden, caring for the livestock. Not that any of this activity was wrong, but my thoughts had largely turned inward and I had even grown weary of keeping up with community and world affairs; I was contented more with the observation of nature than considering the needs of others.
With this recognition, however, there began to be a turnaround. I let go of the fierce hold I'd had on the place and started trusting in God's government. I knew that beauty and home are, in truth, spiritual ideas that cannot be taken from us -- that man as God's spiritual image eternally includes these ideas. They're inherent in him. As my perspective improved through this higher, spiritual view and unselfishness became my goal, our marriage was happier. We opened our home to two senior relatives who needed a helpful family environment. And a few years later when the time came to leave, I felt no anguish or loss.
In a sermon called The People's Idea of God, Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Every step of progress is a step more spiritual.''3 This concept can pertain to a growing idea of home too.
The Psalmist said, ``I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.''4 Who wouldn't cherish this house? As we gain clearer views of home -- see it more as a spiritual idea than a physical place -- we find that we have always been dwellers in God's heavenly home, in the consciousness of His love. It may seem at times that we're far from the sense of harmony associated with home. But our true selfhood is never a wandering mortal, never separated from God's care. As offspring of Spirit, we live and move in Spirit, and through a humble yielding to this truth, through a prayerful recognition of it and a willingness to follow God's direction, we'll find the appropriate spot to live.
Home is not static. It is an ever-active idea, whether or not one moves in the literal sense. Like the wheel whose hub holds all together, home has its powerful center, a love for God and man. And the tender relationships we enjoy in each house go on to nurture others in an ever- widening circle of love.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 58. 3Peo., p. 1. 4Psalms 23:6.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. I John 4:12