Where We're Living, What We're Doing
THE advertisement said: ``Beautiful old Victorian on a tree-lined street in a quiet, country village. Schools and playground close by. Walking distance to everything.'' It was easy to imagine ourselves living a happy, unhurried life in that village. It seemed so far from the malls, the hustle, the congestion, that many of us face every day. It seemed ideal. My family did find the quiet, peaceful life we were looking for, but not in the village advertised. We found it right within ourselves, right where we lived then. We discovered it in a new spiritual perspective on where we were and what we were doing. In fact, what we do has become much more important than where we live.
When I think of home, I often remember how Moses led the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. This search for a new home took many, many years and included some hard spiritual lessons. Remembering it makes the ninetieth Psalm really meaningful to me. It starts out, ``Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.''
Just think how literally true this must have been to Moses' people! After all, they lived mostly in tents and found hostility, not hospitality, in most places along the way. They had to learn to recognize their home and community in God, as the psalm indicates. Later in that same psalm appears another passage which carries great meaning to me, when it comes to thinking about where we live. The passage says, ``Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.... Yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.''
Our idea of what man really is does much to determine our happiness, wherever we live and whatever we do. We can't see ourselves as merely mortal and still seek to find our home in God, who is divine Spirit. Because God is infinite Spirit, our ideas of who we are need to match more closely the spiritual truth of man. Since God creates man and provides him with spiritual sustenance, this is where we should start. We don't have to change ``man'' as we spiritualize our concept of our lives. Man is spiritual because God is Spirit and creates man in His own image. Man is God's most basic and most loved work. All the goodness of God embraces His creation of man.
The fact that man is already spiritual is the key we can use to unlock any door in our lives. This can itself be the most important work we do wherever we live. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it in terms of entering paradise, in one passage. She says, ``The spiritualization of our sense of man opens the gates of paradise that the so-called material senses would close, and reveals man infinitely blessed, upright, pure, and free....''1
Spiritualizing thought can be ``the work of our hands'' that we do to glorify God. This work doesn't gloss over a bad living situation. And it isn't just ``keeping busy'' in the face of a lack of direction or meaningful work. Instead, it begins with God and the spiritual facts about man. It draws on these facts as they govern our own situation. It begins with our understanding of God and works spiritually from the inside out until our thought about ourselves, our home, our work, changes.
Make no mistake about it; spiritualization of our thought is an actual activity. But it can make any home and community a better place to live.
1Miscellaneous Writings, p. 185.