In November 2014 our home burned to the ground while I was on a business trip. As I understand it, the scene was quite dramatic – one of my sons home at the time of the fire saved himself and his girlfriend by leaping from a 2nd story window, and the fire was the lead story on most of the news programs in our area.
I was deeply grateful that my kids were safe and that all that had been lost was “stuff.” Over the next few weeks I worked with local and state officials and insurance adjusters to sort through the rubble (literally) and work out the many issues that had to be dealt with. The outpouring of love and support from church members, friends and neighbors (including many of my Association mates) was beyond heartwarming – it was staggering. Several fund raising efforts sprang up overnight. Clothing, food and household goods came from multiple directions. We were offered several homes in the area to live in temporarily. Relations with the insurance folks were smooth and unobstructed and we quickly reached a settlement.
I was already planning to close my business offices and transition to a virtual enterprise where all my employees and suppliers were now online. As I prayed to be continually guided by Mind, the way became clear. I chose to relocate along with my two teenaged kids to another state, which was closer to family, friends and several clients. Among the citations that I found helpful during the move:
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country…For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10)
“Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance.” (Mis 117:31)
“All that God imparts moves in accord with Him, reflecting goodness and power.” (S&H 515:22)
I had selected a home to rent in the new location. The discussions with the landlord were protracted but we at long last reached an agreement. Over the next week we pulled out the stops to move what remained of our household goods to the new location, and chose a Saturday in late January to make the move happen. That same Saturday evening – literally on the way to our new location with our stuff in a moving van, my kids in one car and I pulling a trailer in another – I was shocked to find out that the landlord had unilaterally cancelled our agreement. We were stranded – homeless in a rest area on the turnpike with nowhere to turn.
I contacted a practitioner for help. I was reassured that all of Mind’s ideas have a home. The line from hymn 66 came to thought – “Safe in Thy Love, we live and sing alway, Alleluia!” I felt a sense of peace and warm reassurance come over me. My sister-in-law who lived near where we were moving opened her house and her heart to us, and the realtor offered us the use of his garage to store our household goods until we could find a more permanent place.
But inwardly I struggled with panic. Was this really the right course? Was this truly right for me and for my kids? What if I was mistaken? What if things didn’t work out? What would my wife have said? What if the insurance money didn’t come through? What if we couldn’t find a home? What if…
For the next several days I prayed to more clearly see myself and my family as unbounded and unconfined as indispensable parts of Love’s infinitude. It was a challenge – I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I had made a series of horrible mistakes and that as a result my kids would suffer. That Wednesday I attended the weekly testimony meeting. The readings that night explored the concept of spiritual strength, which was encouraging. But what really caught my attention were the passages in Science and Health, but Mrs. Eddy, concerning the two approaches to treating bone ailments. (See S&H 422:22 to 423:26). Mrs. Eddy’s trenchant observation about how tentative and defeat-inviting the surgeon’s approach was – because the surgeon did not hold the reins of government in his hands but felt that matter was more powerful than Mind – was a thunder clap.
I realized I had been, in a fairly literal way, “entertaining” doubts and fears and “inviting” defeat with my hesitancy, because I was seeing myself as a well-meaning but weak mortal trying feebly to lay claim to some truths that might or might not be true for me. I was sponsoring a fear party! Instead, I saw it was time to take a stand. Man, God’s unerring idea, can’t be mistaken or lost, because divine Love won’t allow it. And I am that man. It was time to toss the unwanted guests – fear, uncertainty, doubt – out the door. The healing was immediate, right during the church meeting.
The next morning my kids and I were scheduled to view many different rental properties. The very first house we visited, all three of us agreed this was the house we wanted. (Imagine – an adult and two teenagers agreeing on ANYTHING. This just had to be Mind at work!) We told the realtor our decision, he contacted the landlord, and by that evening we had an agreement. We were in the house a day and a half later and the kids were in their new school that Monday.
Transitioning to being a single parent in a new location as well as continuing to run my consulting firm hasn’t been easy. I continue to pray, listen and follow obediently. I am learning more deeply to truly lean on Mind for direction, on Principle for foundation, and Love for guidance and support. But I know that the way does indeed lead upward.