where community ends

“perfection is overrated.”

she said this quick before another thought and kept talking.

i sat next to her in my living room and didn’t hear anything else she said.

this woman had begun to symbolize perfection to me and i didn’t really even know her.  we were not friends.  we went to the same church and she was a big deal and i was one of nameless many.

now i was dumbstruck.


i was receiving her quiche for my new family of three.

i had cleaned up before she came because she’d never seen my house.  she’d never walked in and drank tea and talked real.

but she was coming over now and she handed me a quiche.  it was in a tin foil pie plate.  no need for another meeting, no dish to return.

she turned to me then on the couch holding my baby and asked me sincere.

“how are you doing?”

she meant it and i could see that she did, but i had no words.  i was too busy putting on a show and keeping on a mask.   i had a real live important person here with me.  my house was clean.

i told a friend later about the visit.  we marveled at the gall!  to come over when we weren’t even friends and ask how i was!

the glaring imperfection of a baby born wrong was the crack in my veneer that allowed her to slip in and bring me warm food when she had her own family to feed, her own flock to tend.  when i was brought low, life spilling over with what could not be managed by my own abilities, she offered a real moment.

and i was wrong.  i wasn’t able to tell the truth.  she hadn’t jumped through enough hoops, there was no honesty from me just because i was hurting.  i couldn’t imagine that i needed a friend.

and i did.

i needed every friend i had to knock on the door and ask me how i was.  i needed to say i was fine until i couldn’t lie anymore.


but this is the real world and people can’t wait on us, wait with us, like god does.  we’ve all got lives that tug at our elbows and responsibilites that drag our legs their way.  we’d like to stay with you, we really would.

he doesn’t go.  he sees the mess.  he hears the crying out clear while the next door neighbor wonders at the muffled sound coming through the wall.

he knows everything about me and he stayed.  he watched me pack that moving truck filled with my own version of god’s will and he got in right beside me and drove along to that new town.  he does what no one else can do.  he stays closer than we would ever consent to let him.

god moves slow because we move slow.

i am ever stopping to wonder at his patience.  i am hard pressed to extend the same mind towards those unable to see why they’re doing what they do.

i’ve got my own life to live, kids to cart, food to buy.  but he stays and he’s much better at telling you the truth.

repost from the archives

2 replies on “ where community ends ”
  1. absolutely. love this post. so much truth here.
    may we always have courage to live free and care what God alone thinks.

    thanks for linking at imperfect prose.

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