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From the December 23, 2013 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

This article was originally published in The Christian Science Monitor.

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“Which place goes deepest inside you?” Listening to a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk by travel writer Pico Iyer, I found my thought captured by this question. I love a lot of places! They’re places of real beauty—beaches, mountains, rivers, gardens. Or venues where I’ve spent happy times with family and friends. Or far-off travel destinations I can’t wait to visit again. But what goes deepest?

Good question. For many of us, it’s the place we call home. In fact, Mr. Iyer’s talk is all about defining home. Is it where we were born or raised? Lived longest? Love returning to? Have the most relatives or friends? Elements of all these enter into how home feels—warm, comforting, safe. But for me, the only lasting answer has come from looking to God, both for what home means and for a place to call home.

Years ago I felt trapped in the very home I’d grown up in. With a college degree and a year of teaching abroad under my belt, it was the last place I expected to be. And although it was filled with happy memories and two loving parents, it sure wasn’t where I wanted to spend the rest of my life! Yet the future stretched out with no options in sight.

By the time I'd filled many pages of double columns, my limited concept of home had grown exponentially.

A spiritual pioneer I greatly admire spent years moving from place to place before finding home to be purely mental—a powerful, present idea from God that makes itself known in our lives. This deep thinker, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote these comforting words: “Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 254).

Heaven—not a final-resting-place kind of location, but our current home? I began to get more interested in exploring the concept of home as heavenly than in lamenting my earthly situation or trying to change it.

Starting with what I already sensed to be spiritually real about home—qualities of peace, harmony, and happiness, for example—was easy. So I challenged myself to think bigger. Flexibility, color, order, balance, and so many more qualities came to thought. And when my efforts ground to a halt, I started looking and listening for qualities everywhere, in whatever I read or watched on TV or heard in conversation.

The search became a quest. By the time I’d filled many pages of double columns in a notebook, my limited concept of home had grown exponentially. It now included every single Godlike quality I’d come across. Frustration and longing turned into spiritual energy and joy, right where I was.

Not surprisingly, my entire experience expanded as well. Two wonderful temporary jobs opened up in quick succession, then a full-time position across the country. Sweet new friends, including my future husband, came with this breakthrough. Best of all, I gained a deep-rooted sense of home that has stayed with me through more than a dozen ensuing moves. Truly, home came to mean heaven, the presence of God, made tangible in His countless qualities.

Does home sometimes seem far off or unattainable? In reality, it couldn’t be closer. Christ Jesus’ words, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), are all about home, the heavenly kingdom we all include. His counsel tells us exactly how to find it: “Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, .... But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Luke 12:29–31).

My search for a spiritual concept of home was this kind of seeking, a looking beyond an outward or physical thing to the idea it represents. God being infinite Mind, His entire universe is made up of ideas—ideas that reflect Him in goodness, power, and permanence. Even a fledgling effort to grasp a bit more of God’s creation is rewarded. For me, home, the idea, became home, the reality. Not one of my current circumstances could stop that idea from being manifested in my life.

If you’re looking for a home, think big! Your Godlike makeup already includes home, and you have the ability to perceive it. Actually, getting to know this stellar idea—and every other idea of God—is your right and privilege. This spiritual quest will replace an unheavenly sense of home as missing or broken with solid evidence of the kingdom of heaven right where you are. Jesus’ promise guarantees it: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

Cheryl Ranson lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

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