Who doesn’t have a strong desire for home and community? The longing for them can be heightened when we’re unable to be out and about with other people, or we find ourselves alone at the holidays.
As a frequent traveler I’ve spent a good many weeks away from home, which is why the hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal that begins, “Pilgrim on earth, home and heaven are within thee” (Peter Maurice, adapt., No. 278, © CSBD), has always meant a great deal to me. It’s a potent reminder, as it was for me one particular holiday season, that we can never truly be separated from home and community, and the good we associate with them, such as happiness and companionship.
I had been on the road for several months, away from family and familiar friends. During the week of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, I was housesitting at a friend’s cottage on a lake in a small East Coast town that was home to summer vacationers, but not many year-round residents. It was a beautiful and peaceful place to spend time quietly praying and meditating, as well as reading and studying the Christian Science pastor—the Bible, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I had made some wonderful new friends in the area but spent a lot of time alone. I got used to the solitude and began to actually enjoy the quiet time.