Many today are yearning for a fuller sense of home. The idea of home is more than a place, a feeling of being safe, or of knowing we’re cared for; it’s also a feeling of having a purpose, and a sense of belonging. How can we better feel this sense of home, and even welcome others into that precious home circle?
A while ago, I was visiting family in South Africa. I have always loved that country, and of course I love my family, so it wasn’t hard to find a comfortable groove once I arrived. But within a few days, I found myself rebelling against simply having a self-focused vacation; I really wanted to feel like I had a purpose there – like I really belonged.
I was soon able to find an opportunity to volunteer, teaching disabled Zulu and Xhosa children how to ride on horseback. Seeing the smiles on these precious children’s faces, realizing that love truly is universal, rejoicing in their victories, and supporting them in their struggles, I discovered a true sense of purpose.
Interestingly, directly in tandem with my dawning sense of selfless service, I was also finding a deeper, truer sense of home – a real sense of belonging. The landscape I looked on was the same, my family was the same, but I was mentally looking outward instead of inward, and in that way, I found home. No, I didn’t move to that beautiful country; this was a deep, abiding, spiritual sense of home that came to me, which was independent of place. Yet it has proved to be a rock and a shelter ever since.
I like to think of this experience as learning to “let my light shine.” Christ Jesus put it this way: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, New King James Version).
In a way, it’s natural that I found my sense of home as I let my light shine, because we see most clearly when there is light! But the light Jesus was talking about wasn’t a physical or personal light, but rather a recognition of what we truly are – what God, our Father and Mother, made us as. That spiritual sense of things, that spiritual light, reveals the substance of Spirit, God – including a deeper, more permanent sense of home. As this verse from a poem titled “Home” explains:
Home is the Father’s sweet “Well done,”
God’s daily, hourly gift of grace.
We go to meet our neighbor’s need,
And find our home in every place.
(Rosemary Cobham, alt., “Christian Science Hymnal: Hymns 430-603,” No. 497)
Jesus’ command to let our light shine includes this result: to “glorify your Father in heaven.” We don’t let our light shine so that we can show off how good we are. We shine, or express God’s joy and love, so we can show how good God is!
Christian healer, teacher, and founder of this newspaper Mary Baker Eddy elaborated on this idea when she wrote, “Man is not God, but like a ray of light which comes from the sun, man, the outcome of God, reflects God” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 250). As the creation, or outcome, of God, it’s natural that we would each be able to show what God is like, to live our true identity as the spiritual reflection of His peace and goodness. And it’s there, in God’s infinite love, that we find our true home, which can never be lost because we can never be separated from God.
All of us have the ability to let our light shine and therefore see more of what we are, and what our purpose is. Because we are the spiritual outcome of God, to know ourselves – including our sense of home – is a fruit of knowing God. It’s not a frantic search through real estate listings, or couch-surfer ads that will yield this sense of home. It’s letting God’s love minister to us, being alert for the ways His love is being expressed, and being willing to keep embracing others in that growing sense of home.