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, when the weather is hot & humid we are often horrified by fat, black sewer roaches that invade our home. 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 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. 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 recently has made our cockroach problem worse than ever:
- First of all, there are MANY more than usual.
- Secondly, they come out during the daylight, not just at night.
- And the worse part is that they. learned. to. fly.
Two weeks ago, on a Monday night, these repulsive creatures began appearing in the kitchen while my community of young women 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 trying to land on or near us. A ginormous roach charged across the top of the table right towards a young woman. And the worst moment was when a huge cockroach crawled onto one woman’s collarbone, out from under her long, beautiful hair.
We were determined to finish our book discussion and personal sharing. And so, we moved away from the table and the creeping fig, and formed a tight circle with our chairs in an open area on the patio. We held our feet off the ground, and stayed vigilant looking for approaching buggers. We passed around a can of Raid to destroy any incoming roaches. And we prayed 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!
And then, 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 when people encounter genuine caring with people who are authentic they come back – regardless of the flaws.
Meaningful connections don’t happen when we create an environment that’s perfect. They happen when we create an environment that is real.