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Finding home at college—and beyond

From the February 10, 2020 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

When we face big transitions like going to college, it can seem pretty daunting. I’ve definitely struggled with changes and had concerns about whether I’ll feel at home somewhere new. However, when I started the transition from high school to college, I was comforted by an experience I had when I was little that taught me more about what home really is.

As a child, I had a hard time being away from home and often couldn’t sleep anywhere but in my own bed. My family moved several times, and I never took well to the change. Making friends was also difficult for me. 

When I was near the end of fourth grade, my family needed to move yet again. We’d only been in our current home for two years, and I dreaded another drastic change. 

My parents suggested that we pray about the fear I was feeling, and since prayer had always helped me overcome other challenges I’d faced, I agreed. Together, we prayed with several passages I was familiar with from the Christian Science Sunday School. One was Psalm 23, which I’d learned was about how God guides and loves His children, including me, the way a shepherd watches over and cares for his sheep. The final verse reads, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (verse 6). 

I understood that as one of the divine Shepherd’s sheep, I already had a spiritual, eternal home in this “house of the Lord”­—which Mary Baker Eddy interprets in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as the consciousness of Love (see p. 578). I realized that since my true home was not a physical place but Love’s ever-presence, I could never be outside of home, and I could be aware of Love’s presence and feel safe in Love no matter where I went. 

I’ve been blessed with a conviction that wherever I need to go, God will lead me, and I can find the comfort of home.

I also came across a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal that seemed like it was speaking directly to me. It begins, “In heavenly Love abiding, / No change my heart shall fear.” I realized that I didn’t have to fear the change I was facing, since I was dwelling with God, safe in Love. In fact, nothing was really changing at all, since my true home was spiritual. Joyfully, I read on. The second verse says:

Wherever He may guide me,
   No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
   And nothing can I lack.
(No. 148, Anna L. Waring) 

I felt so comforted by the idea of God, my Shepherd, leading me forward and meeting all my needs. 

One afternoon soon after this, my mom and I were walking outside when she suddenly stopped and pointed up. There was a rainbow! As soon as I saw it, an idea hit me almost as if I’d been spoken to: “God will find you a home.” I was flooded with peace and felt absolutely certain that I could trust God. It didn’t seem coincidental that in the Bible, a rainbow represents God’s promise, and I knew God would keep this promise of home.


That summer at overnight camp, I saw another rainbow. This time, I was hit with a message just as strong as the first: “God has found you a home.” Excited, I wrote to my parents, asking them what they’d found. It turned out that they’d signed the paperwork for a new home on the exact day I’d seen the rainbow! 

When I started my new school in the fall, I ended up meeting people who are my friends to this day. And in that new home and town, I felt more at home than I’d ever felt before—in all aspects of my life. I’d found my place. Home, as I now understood it, truly is spiritual. 

Ever since, I’ve been blessed with a conviction that wherever I need to go, God will lead me, and I can find the comfort of home. For example, even when my college application process felt difficult, I was able to fall back on the promise of my Shepherd’s guidance. 

Indeed, I was led to a school that’s just right for me and where I’ve found a new home. And I was able to transition to college life with very little stress and without fear. I love knowing that God’s promise of home is fulfilled for each one of us.

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