Lord of the Guestroom

I have so many things that I want to write about. My life has gone through so many big transitions since my last post. New city. New job. New life. Same me. I’ll try to catch you up on all of it over time.

For most over a year, most of 2014 and the beginning of this year, I lived in the guestroom of my best friend. He and his wife, welcomed me into their home at my worst moment. They never made me feel like a nuisance, even after the second time that a pen that I had left in my pocket exploded in their new dryer. I am a messy person. They are so not. I didn’t have much to offer, with the exception of an occasional six pack and witty banter that, admittedly, got less witty over time. They were exquisite hosts and loved me in the way that I most needed. They were about as good to me as friends can be. The cats never really seemed to warm up to me though. God, I love cats!

Through no fault of theirs, I lived with the keen awareness that I was not in my own space. I tried to tread lightly. I didn’t want to be an inconvenience or a bother. I tried to give them their space. I live with a nagging fear that I am in the way or that my needs are hindering other people from experiencing freedom.

I’m living with another friend now. Many of the dynamics are different. I have a job where, eventually, I’ll be able to contribute on some level. The indifferent cats have been replaced by a dog who keeps constant vigil. There are two children who live who call me “Mr. Derrick” with sweet, adorable voices. I am, once again, incredibly grateful for the hospitality. I could not have made this move without a place to hang my hat.

But again, I feel like a nomad, like a wanderer. I feel like Cain, I am forced to roam the earth for his sins. Truth be told, I haven’t felt at home… in “my” home in a space for years. My son was young the last time I felt at home. The girl wasn’t on the scene yet. We were a family of three, figuring so much out. We had routine. There was comfort. I miss the feeling of “home”.

I talked through this feeling with the friend with whom I now live and she pointed me to this:

From the Iona Community:

He was always the guest.
In the homes of Peter and Jairus,
Martha and Mary, Joanna and Susanna,
he was always the guest.
At the meal tables of the wealthy
where he pled the case of the poor,
he was always the guest.
Upsetting polite company,
befriending isolated people,
welcoming the stranger,
he was always the guest.

But here,
at this table,
he is the host.

Those who wish to serve him
must first be served by him,
those who want to follow him
must first be fed by him,
those who would wash his feet
must first let him make them clean.
For this is the table
where God intends us to be nourished;
this is the time
when Christ can make us new.

So come, you who hunger and thirst
for a deeper faith,
for a better life,
for a fairer world.
Jesus Christ,
who has sat at our tables,
now invites us to be guests at his.


It is uncomfortable to be served, especially when you define yourself as a servant. It is uncomfortable to be a guest, especially when your deepest desire is to show hospitality. It is uncomfortable to be so vulnerable as to bring your mess into the home of another, especially when you feel called to help others to navigate their mess. And yet, this prayer says to me that we cannot, in any real or deep way, be of service to others until we are able to allow ourselves to be served. I think that we have to experience our own neediness in order to be able to engages the needs of others and to do so with humility.

I am thankful for friends who have put roofs over my head. I know that there are others who would have done the same for me, and that makes me feel like a rich man. That I might be a friend to others as they have been to me is my prayer.

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