Cockroaches on My Porch: Humility Lessons from Louisville

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
-Proverbs 11:2

This week our family moved to a new city for my husband to attend seminary and are living in family on-campus housing.  What this means for us is close quarters, close neighbors and a new peer group: future pastor’s wives and future pastor’s children ALL AROUND US! 

As much as a I pray about it and speak scripture to my heart and mind, I struggle constantly with prideful thoughts of what OTHERS think of me, my children, especially as first impressions are made.  Of course, I’m concerned about the little earthly carnal things, and in a stroke of sovereign good humor, God ordained a mortifyingly humiliating experience (to bring low the pride, as in Isaiah 23:9.)

As I unpacked a box of photo albums in our apartment on the first day, a “Palmetto Bug” tried to come out (for those non-South-Carolinians, this is a two-inch cockroach that SC has given a nicer name!)  In panic, I pick up the box and RUN outside, slamming it down on our little porch!!  The box is closed, so the cockroaches don’t come crawling out.  As I set the box down, I look up and Jenny* and Whitney* my new neighbors were sitting in my yard only feet away from my porch, talking and watching their children play.  I have an inner dialog with myself, as I say “hi” to the neighbors and frantically try to think of a graceful way out of this.  

I can’t take the box back inside, and I can’t just tape it back up and throw it away - not with photo albums in it, maybe I could take it around the apartment unit and open it out back - no, one of the roaches might crawl out onto me. . .I can’t just wait around, hoping they would go back inside - they told me just a few hours ago that they practically live outside when the weather is nice like this! I had no other option, I had to accept this lesson and be HONEST with them and tell them what was going on.  No secrets in seminary housing, I guess.  I told the ladies what was happening so they wouldn’t freak out.  They were very calm, telling me how to get a hold of the exterminators on campus, then stayed in their lawn chairs as I opened the box and stomped on and sprayed the cockroaches that came out.

Humbling?  Yes, without a doubt!  Good for my heart?  Yes, yes, yes!  If I’d rather hide the box of cockroaches and not let another sinful human know they were in my house. . .how much more absurd it is that I try to justify and hide the cockroaches of sin (pride, for example) that come crawling out - before a perfect and holy God?

I guess it’s time I took my good friend’s reading recommendation: Humility, by Andrew Murray.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent