What founts of wisdom mothers are - especially those who stay tuned to God's wisdom. Whenever I was looking for a new place to live, my mother would say, "You already have a home. All you need is the bricks and mortar to go with it."
I knew exactly what she meant. I already have all the qualities that make a good, happy home - stability, protection, comfort, a loving environment. Also, I believe she was saying: "Don't set your heart on a whitewashed cottage with an ocean view and hollyhocks peeping through the windows if your job requires you to be in a metropolis a thousand miles from the sea."
After that motherly kickoff, what I've learned over the years is that home is not defined by location or by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you have. Some people have their home on wheels. As a journalist, I once changed "home" 29 times in four months.
I now know that home, in the highest sense, is a state of consciousness, a shelter from life's storms, a quiet refuge - especially from unstable thoughts that hover more toward evil than good solutions.
Home is a great place for sleepovers with God. It's also a great place for bringing together the "lost sheep" you may encounter on the streets, on school playgrounds, or at the water fountain in the office. It's a special place where you can warm the hearts of those who have been frozen by bitterness or grief; or cool those who are overheated with anger or frustration at some perceived insult or other form of mistreatment.
Home is more than a longed-for destination or a place in which to lock yourself away from the world's fears. Your home is God's home. A base camp, if you like, for thought mountaineers. A spiritual soup kitchen. A quiet resting place in which you can help bind up the brokenhearted and restore their energies and hopes.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 58). Might those words be a call for everyone to establish a deep, secure, central place in their thinking where they can identify and cherish the spirit of affection that God has given them, and then set out to share those blessings with others?
I sometimes wonder how my mother would have described the "homeless" people I see with increasing regularity on city streets. I've become quite friendly with one whom I pass every morning on an upmarket shopping street. He has his own sidewalk "turf," which he feels is as exclusive as the boutiques outside which he asks for "small change" - or big change.
Recently, he was not on his beat one gray, wet morning. The next day, I asked him where he'd been. He replied: "I looked out from under my bridge and said, 'There's no way I'm going to work today. I'm stayin' home.' " I guess we all have different concepts of home.
A few years ago, I lived on an acre of property, rich in lawns and huge trees. I had a tennis court and a sparkling swimming pool. A year later, I changed jobs and moved to a one-room city apartment, with a tiny bathroom and a shared kitchenette. It took some adjustment, but I learned a lot about "home" - very quickly. Through study of the Bible and Science and Health, I regained my peace of mind and found happiness in new wrappings.
Home is far more than just "where the heart is," as the old adage puts it. For me, it became the place where God is - always is. The place where prayer - laced with praise and gratitude - constantly reveals the presence of spiritual qualities created and secured by Him.
No wonder Mrs. Eddy related home to heaven, suggesting that "Pure humanity, friendship, home, the interchange of love, bring to earth a foretaste of heaven" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1893-1896," page 100).
That "foretaste of heaven" can be ours, whether we're living in one room or in a spacious house.
Pilgrim on earth,
home and heaven
are within thee....
Christian Science Hymnal, No. 279