After the clerk had made sure everyone had left the store, she confided in me, the one remaining customer, that she’d just received news that her house had burned down. “Thirty-five years completely gone,” she said. She’d waited until the building was empty because she didn’t want everyone to know – “Too hard to handle all that emotion.”
As I stood at the counter, my heart went out to her, and I looked her straight in the eye. Trying to be as calm and comforting as I could, I told her that somehow everything would be OK. She and her husband were alive and safe, and so was their dog. The woman’s eyes started to tear even as she struggled to control her emotion.
In no way did I want to minimize the calamity of what had happened, but I couldn’t stay silent, nor could I just hop in the car and go home. As I looked at her distressed face and sad eyes, I thought of something Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy said in regard to home, and shared it with the woman: “Home is not a place but a power.”
Her face brightened visibly, and she smiled with a look of surprise and relief. She said: “That is absolutely wonderful. That is so helpful. Wow.”
There’s more to that quote, but just that first sentence was enough to lighten the woman’s load, to brighten her face with a ray of hope. The entire quotation comes from a comment Mrs. Eddy made. 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” (Irving C. Tomlinson, “Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy,” Amplified Edition, 1996, p. 211).
So many people move from one house to another. Others sleep on the open desert, 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 Army barracks. Some people are struggling to keep their homes because of financial challenges. Regardless, everyone can gain a spiritual sense of home that goes with them everywhere, and with it comes tangible strength and peace of mind. It can be felt by acknowledging the presence of God, and affirming God’s goodness, tenderness, and perpetual care for each of His children – each of us.
This true sense of home is powerful because its source is untiring divine Love, which expresses itself at every moment. Spiritual peace comes from abiding in the arms of God’s fathering and mothering of each one of us, His spiritual offspring. A weather-tight roof, beautifully furnished rooms, and a two-car garage in a quiet neighborhood can neither guarantee nor destroy this peace – which can be discerned and demonstrated in practical ways for every one of us, even if we have to start all over again, through inspiration that brings solutions to our needs. The ideas that constitute this highest, spiritual sense of home are indestructible and always present, because God, divine Spirit, is infinite.
The Bible is clear about God’s fathering and mothering care for all His beloved children. For instance: “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young – even Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You” (Psalms 84:3, 4, New King James Version).
When I returned to the store a few days later, the clerk was decidedly more upbeat. She told me that 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” (Job 11:18).
Adapted from a Christian Science Perspective article published Feb. 25, 2009.