This fall the community of women who I host on Monday nights are reading and discussing a book called “Perfectly Imperfect: Character Sketches from the New Testament” by David Busic. It is a very fitting book for many reasons.
The most ironic is that my home is far from perfect.
For example, two weeks ago – with my beloved community of young women – my home was invaded by cockroaches. Big, fat, black sewer roaches. The kind that horror movies are made out of.
Many years ago, the first time I spotted one of these monstrosities in my house, I called an exterminator. He had to give me the very unfortunate news – while I cried just a little bit – that there is nothing we can really do about this problem. These massive cockroaches are not infested in our home. They come from outside – literally from the sewers – and since our house was built in the 1940’s there is no way to seal up every crack where they can find their way in.
It’s just become a quirky problem about our old, cherished house that we deal with. Although I still scream just as loud every time I flip on a light and one of these beastly creatures goes scuttling across my floor.
The record temperatures and humidity in San Diego this summer has made our cockroach problem worse than ever:
- First of all, there are MANY more than what has been the usual.
- Secondly, they come out during the daylight, not just at night.
- And the worse part is that they. learned. to. fly.
So back to that Monday night two weeks ago…the roaches began appearing in the kitchen while we were trying to cook.
And they swarmed outside during our dinner and bible study discussion around The Table. We could hear them crawling in the creeping fig. They would appear out of nowhere, flying and landing on the young women. Periodically a roach would suddenly charge across the top of the table right towards a young lady in her seat. And the worst moment was when a huge cockroach crawled onto one woman’s collarbone, out from under her long, beautiful hair.
We were able to finish our discussion and prayer time by:
- moving away from the table and the creeping fig,
- forming a tight circle with our chairs in an open area on the patio,
- holding our feet off the ground,
- staying vigilant and passing around a can of Raid to destroy any incoming roaches,
- and praying with our eyes open.
Sadly, we screamed so many times throughout the two-hour study that our dog was shaking with fear by the time everyone left.
This week, the most remarkable thing happened. Everyone came back!
However, in another last minute adaption to our Monday night routine, we had to stay inside. But not because of the cockroaches. A rare, fall rainstorm that day had left everything too wet to meet around the candlelit table on our patio.
We crowded into my tiny bedroom instead for our book discussion and prayer time.
And we had one unfortunate encounter with a cockroach.
One thing that opening my home to community has taught me is that no one expects or needs my home to be perfect. They just want to be welcome and for my home to be a place that is real.
When people encounter genuine caring with people who are authentic – rather than without flaws – they come back.
Do you have a story you could share about an unexpected encounter with pestilence, or weather, or something else that derailed your perfect plans for a community gathering – and yet authentic connections happened anyways?
I REALLY do hope that it isn’t just me!