My alarm went off at 7.30am. “Wha-?” Snooze.

Why did I set it early again? Not work… Oh. I remember I need to walk to Maidstone via an ATM to collect a network repeater I bought off the local Buy/Swap/Sell Facebook group.

The alarm sounds again. Snooze.

This is not how I thought my weekend was going to go… I had Friday/Saturday clear – maybe to write and have some sacred space. One housemate is away at a wedding and school holidays have started, things will be quiet around the house.  Yet somehow a conversation has started up about supporting a family of refugees who are staying in two rooms at The Palms. They’re approved for housing but the waiting list could mean anywhere between days and months or, let’s face it, months and years before a 5 bedroom place with disability access comes up.  At the motel they will run through their income for a fortnight purely on accommodation leaving nothing for transport and food.  It seems on Monday they will move in with us.

I wonder whether anyone might imagine that this is some extraordinary thing?

The room swap for my shift-working housemates’ peace may now be a bit redundant.  We have four bathrooms between three units which felt very luxurious not to have to negotiate, though to cycle through 6 new others might take some negotiation, similarly with the use of the kitchen when dinner is in progress.  My head keeps going through the details – need: beds, bedding, another fridge…

The alarm sounds again. Snooze.

…and more internet, which means a wireless signal repeater, which means you have to get up now and go and collect it.


The signal repeater is in place.  The signal is extending further than it did before but it’s not any stronger.

These are the the basic tenets of our faith: I was homeless and you gave me shelter, hungry and you gave me something to eat, disconnected and you gave me connection.

This is what we are called to.

Is how it will inconvenience us the place to start our discernment about it?

I believe in Your ability to provide not only the practical and material things but also for the mental, emotional and spiritual needs of our community.

I do not need to be able to see the way forward as long as I can see You in what we are setting out to do – trusting that You know all that has been, is, and will be.

This is it. Are you ready?


I confess I cried a little today, re-packing and putting away boxes I had unpacked with such gratitude only days before, to make space for the others coming.  I go and walk it off: “Who is this space home for? It’s called a’share house’, what were you expecting? I want to build a foundation that is strong. Rooted.  I have lived here two weeks. Who am I to extend safety and stability to anyone else?”

I turn up a side street to get home only to realise it is a dead end. I double-back on myself and notice a cane basket of clothes out as hard waste on the verge.  I pick it up and carry it with me… a physical manifestation of providence… feel the weight of this, touch it, look at it, take it with you. Providence.  And, somehow, I feel better.

Reassured of my physical capacity for carrying things.


We try and create a sense of welcome.

We know there’s limited language between us so we create a bi-lingual, pictorial noticeboard that will have all our names, where we are, what we’re doing. We clear out, clean and label the cupboards our new roommates can use in the kitchen and decorate with a Somali proverb we think speaks to the the sense of home we want to create.

IMG_5018  IMG_5021

somali welcome  somali proverb

And yeah.

They are not literate in Somali or English.

So, just in case anyone is ever wondering whether it is an extraordinary thing to live with a family of refugees, this is how it comes about: a series of small and ugly thoughts, some big, bright, beautiful thoughts, and some well-meaning but misguided good intentions.

Sometimes you say the wrong thing, sometimes you do the wrong thing.
Sometimes you say the right thing, sometimes you do the right thing.
You can do that in any family.

I am blessed in the trying.
My life is more noisy, more colourful, more crazy and I am the happier for it.
It starts when you stop pressing “Snooze”.