Home improvement

A Christian Science perspective.

Movie and television images occasionally touch on people's deepest longings. Think of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," as she discovers that to get back to Kansas, she only needs to click her heels and insist, "There's no place like home." Dorothy's childlike desire to be home or to be with the familiar, the comfortable – to be where she belongs – is, in fact, timeless.

We yearn to fit in – to be loved, respected, and surrounded with what seems good and beautiful. Yet are such longings attainable in a world where natural disasters or environmental neglect can devastate landscapes and homes? What about situations where ethnic cleansing moves whole populations from their birthplace?

Actually, longings for home are natural to everyone, everywhere. And they point toward a higher spiritual outlook that can lead to practical solutions for individuals and communities.

Perhaps Jesus was best at pointing people in the right direction when he said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matt. 6:33). He also explained that this "kingdom" is within us – so it is not vulnerable to anyone or anything outside ourselves. It's not a place we see with our eyes, but a spiritual, or mental, dwelling place – real and practical – in which all the good things can be found.

To reach this sense of home involves trusting God to meet our needs, even when an adjustment to the circumstances may seem impossible.

The Monitor's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896," p. 307). God is all good and supplies His children – that's each of us – with the inspiration and intelligence to discover that they are already one with Him, dwelling in His care. Grasping this spiritual concept and trusting it can change the human circumstances, so that people are brought into better conditions or gain a new view of where they are presently living.

When I was a young child, my family moved from a quiet rural area in eastern Canada, where I had never met another child of a different faith or ethnicity, to a busy, developed area of the United States. Children there who were my age came from many beliefs and backgrounds. Sometimes they were much less strictly brought up than I had been, and I found their behavior frightening. In our new location, the peace and quiet I'd loved so much were gone. People locked their doors, neighbors didn't know one another, and no one seemed to understand me at all. I never felt at home there.

When I grew up, I moved about a lot – even overseas. Eventually my work brought me once again to a very developed area of the US, to an environment similar to the one I'd struggled in as a child. I fell in love, got married, and agreed to stay permanently. But the people and landscape seemed even more unfamiliar than those in my previous experience; I had never felt so far away from home.

During that time, however, I was learning that God loved me, and that since God is good and always present, right where I was living, there had to be good. In fact, the Bible encourages us to "entertain strangers," for it says we may find ourselves entertaining "angels unawares" (Heb. 13:2).

Indeed, I soon began to see signs of God's beauty, grace, and love all around me. I found friendliness present where previously I'd found only coldness. I also discovered many places nearby that were extremely beautiful, and eventually accepted a position writing about them. A time came when I couldn't imagine more beautiful locations or more beautiful people.

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