Thankful for the good

February 28, 2024

By Jeff Becraft


At various times, roaches have caused havoc in our household, particularly with the female members of our household. Now, I know that some people call them Palmetto bugs… but a roach is a roach by any other name.

Our most recent episode was when my wife opened up a kitchen drawer and screams and runs to the other side of the kitchen. I know by instinct that there has got to be a roach somewhere in that drawer.

I broke down into my kung fu stance (which I learned while dealing with lizards in our house… not that our house is Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom or anything…) and I threw the sponge into the drawer. (I happened to be doing dishes at the time when all this happened.) I know that roach must have known right there on the spot that he had met his match.

Anyway, I had to take everything out of the drawer and eventually I did find it and he is now history. And he was just a smaller roach… he wasn’t one of the big grizzly bear roaches.

Our son, Josiah, had a friend who was unbelievably courageous. He would do anything and try anything. He and his brother would even capture live copperheads and put them in their backpacks. (Now, I used the word courageous… I didn’t use the word wise.) But one thing that really would get to him and make him scream like a little kid was roaches. (You can call them Palmetto bugs if you want but a roach is a roach by any other name…)

And so, our son, Josiah, and another friend of his named Sam, wanted to surprise Nick on his birthday.  They captured about 4-5 live roaches (now these were the big grizzly bear roaches) and they put them in a gift box and wrapped the box in gift wrap.  While they were at our house (and I don’t think Josiah and Sam had clearly communicated to Brenda that they were going to give this gift inside our kitchen), they presented the gift to Nick. Nick unwraps the box, opens it, and roaches go scurrying everywhere. Sure enough, Nick is screaming like a little kid. (I think Brenda might have chimed in a little herself… so we had a little stereo action going on.)

As you can see, there is no love lost between roaches and our family.

Recently, Brenda asked me to spray some bug preventer along the edge of some of the cabinets. I said okay, I will do that. Unbeknownst to me, though, there was a hole in the bottom of the container of the bug preventer and it leaked out a six-foot-long reservoir. Now, there is bug juice all over our kitchen floor. Once I discovered it, I took the container outside and tipped it up on one side so it wouldn’t leak anymore. Then I had to go back in and begin the process of cleaning up this massive lake of bug juice. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned for that day.

But… I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that there aren’t going to be any roaches crawling across our kitchen floor anytime soon. I am sure word has gotten around the roach community.

So… even when our day is not going the way we planned it… and even when there are major disruptions… we can still be thankful for the good that comes out of that day.


Jeff Becraft is the Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Our Place of Hope is a paradigm shift for people living with mental illness that encourages them to regain meaning, purpose, and hope for their lives. You can connect with Jeff at  [email protected].