Ever since my conversion to Christianity a couple years ago, I’ve been enchanted with the idea of Christian hospitality. An introvert by nature, my new religion inspired me to embrace a spirit of love and generosity and open my home to guests more often.
When my first such guest arrived on a recent afternoon, a friend named Catherine, everything was perfect. I’d even thought to set out a tasteful yet comfortable back pillow since she was six months pregnant.
For an extra touch of elegance, I’d whipped up a scrumptious pan of mushroom-feta casserole. As she settled into the couch, I set a timer and popped the casserole into the oven for warming. I walked back through the kitchen to announce our menu, but saw something that made my announcement come out as:
“Could I offer you some [expletive] SCORPION?”
A large scorpion sat in the middle of my kitchen floor. Unfortunately, this was not the first time I’d encountered one in my home. The last time was a particularly bad experience, even by scorpions-in-the-house standards, in which I attempted to kill it by dropping a book on it, only to learn a very painful lesson that scorpions that seem dead are often not dead at all.
Noticing that I was backed against a wall, spending most of my mental energy trying not to spew profanity, Catherine suggested that we get rid of it. After listening to me hysterically sputter counter-arguments along the lines of “these things don’t die!” and “I am so not kidding, these things don’t die!” she asked for a large book. She would kill the scorpion.
“It’s not going to die!” I predicted ominously while jumping onto a chair to protect myself from danger.
Catherine dropped the book.
Recalling the historically limited success of this technique, I asked if she wouldn’t mind jumping on it a bit. After my pregnant guest was done bouncing on my book to make sure the poisonous arachnid was properly smashed, I asked from the safe confines of my kitchen chair if she wouldn’t mind moving it back and forth a bit for good measure.
When she was done, it was time for the moment of truth. She hesitantly lifted the book, and we saw:
Hindsight being 20/20, I recalled that the time that I’d seen a scorpion survive a book dropping was when it was on the carpet. As she now pushed the book away to reveal a pulverized, mangled, surprisingly liquidy scorpion carcass, I realized that perhaps dropping books on scorpions on linoleum works just fine. Perhaps it was not in fact necessary to have my guest jump on it and smear it back and forth.
Just then, the timer beeped. The casserole was ready. After I finished wiping what could only be described as “scorpion juice” off of the kitchen floor, I resumed my sentence from a few moments before: “Could I offer you some mushroom feta casserole?”
And that, perhaps, is really the essence of Christian hospitality: letting dear friends share in all parts of your life — even the imperfect parts that might involve a little scorpion juice.
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