On Being at Home
RECENTLY, I was profoundly touched by reading Vaclav Havel's poignant account of feeling at home in a prison cell. By putting his aspirations into writing, he brought creativeness, activity, dedication, vitality, and expansiveness into a place of confinement. He minimized bars and walls. It's not surprising, then, that he began to view home more universally, without limits-- an ideal that includes family, friends, profession, country, the world, the universe.
His words spurred me to think more broadly about home. Shouldn't we, too, adopt a more expansive, inclusive view of home--a view that isn't subject to confinement, uncertainty, change, circumstances, or outward control? Where do we really live? Isn't our home, in the deepest sense, with God, our divine Parent? Because this is our permanent home, we don't need to accept the media messages that insist that man is imprisoned, a roamer, fleeing from danger, separated from family, deprived of honest, satisfying work and precious peace. Nor can we ignore the plight of the thousands who appear so homeless today. But we can turn to God for help.
Christian Science provides the spiritual standpoint that offers the certainty of the outlook in the Psalmist's words ``Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations'' (Psalms 90:1). Elsewhere the Psalmist sings, ``I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust'' (Psalms 91:2).
When we base our thinking on eternal God, Truth, we become conscious of the warmth, security, grace, and beauty that home truly represents. We can never be deprived of those qualities, because they originate in God, divine Love, who has created man in His own likeness. We can see ourselves as we are--God's children-- trust His care, and realize that this relationship never changes. And man, God's idea, can't be misplaced, deprived, or forced out of the place that truly satisfies his needs. As God's spiritual self-expression, each individual reflects the benefits of home in precisely the way that suits his need. So whether individuals are on the road, looking at rentals, living alone or with a family, God identifies each one as His own and provides the home that satisfies.
Learning to be at home in God requires that we let go of habitual beliefs that materiality constitutes home and its benefits. Home isn't possessions that determine our comfort. True home is a spiritual idea provided by God, infinite good. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, learned this from firsthand experience. Irving C. Tomlinson, in his biography of her, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, recalls that she once said to her household: ``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 satisfies'' (p. 156).
If we're comfortably placed ourselves, we can't ignore the plight of people uprooted from all they hold dear. Our prayer enables us to see all mankind as God's children at home in Him-- not helpless mortals facing despair. It's worth remembering that Jesus didn't have a home address during his three-year ministry, yet he was always safe and serene. As he walked from place to place, healing and teaching, he lived in conscious oneness with God. His prayer for his followers throughout all ages explains that all being is centered in God. ``As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.... And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one'' (John 17:21, 22). We are all at home in God.
The sparrow hath found an house,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
even thine altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King, and my God.
Blessed are they
that dwell in thy house.
Psalms 84:3, 4