EVERY time her father went away on business, a little girl started making ``return home'' gifts for him. Once she made a handkerchief out of a piece of an old sheet. Another time it was a wall plaque that said in third-grade lettering: ``Home is best. Love to you, Daddy.'' Nobody needs blueprints of houses or reasons of the heart to explain why home is best. It's a given--like the air we breathe. But finding home doesn't always seem like a given. Too often home seems to be subject to depletion or dislocation. At such times the intuition that home is our spiritual center, and actually exists by virtue of our relationship to God, can lead to practical results--even to security, location, affection.
When I was in New York City once, trying to find an apartment for the summer, this spiritual sense of establishing home came to my rescue. We had prayed during the tense dance auditions that led to our daughter's summer scholarship. Our conviction that we could look to spiritual authority--God--as the source of good had helped in maintaining poise as one by one the doors of the dance company had opened. The Bible verse ``The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me''1 counseled us well. But the next needed evidence of good--an open door to a sublet--wasn't appearing so surely. After a two-day search I was discouraged. I had followed every possible lead--personal contacts, newspaper ads, agencies, notices on university bulletin boards, even rumors among the mothers at the auditions.
As I walked the sidewalks of the huge city I realized that the actual need was simply for more prayer to the same authority--God, Spirit. Not the prayer that pleads, ``Please, God, do this thing for us.'' My sense of prayer and its purpose--the distinguishing joy of prayer--involves aligning thought with the spiritual fact of God and man. God is Spirit, as the Bible teaches, and He imparts without interruption all the good that His offspring require. A perception of this truth enables us to exchange a mistaken, limited concept of ourselves for the spiritual idea of man as complete. And this change of thought opens the door to a harmonizing of our circumstances.
At that point I recalled the little girl's plaque, ``Home is best.'' I began to associate the ``best'' with God's love and saw our real home as the kingdom of God, which Christ Jesus said is within us.2
Praying along these lines, I began to feel that acceptance of the truth that man never could be separated from the very best home, love, authority, because these came from the Father, was the most important thought I could have. It was even more important than finding an apartment in New York.
The last particle of concern and pressure (train for home leaving in two hours) vanished as the words from a hymn, written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, quietly slipped into thought: ``It matters not what be thy lot,/ So Love doth guide.''3
It occurred to me next to walk several blocks to an apartment building where friends had told us there was no hope of a sublet. I went around to the office, explained to a receptionist who I was, what I was looking for, and why. She stated flatly that nobody in that building ever sublet. But as we were talking, I noticed a gentleman at the corner desk pick up a phone, engage in a short conversation, then motion me to his desk. It seemed that a certain woman quietly and occasionally did sublet and was just then looking for family people. I was asked if I wanted to go up and meet her and see the apartment. It was just right, and for six weeks we had our best New York home.
This incident was important to me far beyond the establishing of our summer home. The locating of one little family in a sublet in New York is relatively insignificant, especially when set on the scale of the needs of countless people in the world who are homeless, without family, perhaps even without a country. But this was important because it did illustrate to me the practical effect of prayer. It was a small but delightful proof that security is provided and needs are met when trusted to God's law and love. And if this manner of prayer--of yielding thought to spiritual intuition and listening to God's guidance--is applicable in one case, however small, it surely can apply in other cases.
1Psalms 138:8. 2See Luke 17:21. 3Christian Science Hymnal, No. 160. DAILY BIBLE VERSE My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19