Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Upside to Novacaine

You hear people say a lot of things about root canals; mostly, how awful they are. They seem to be the benchmark against which people measure some truly awful opportunity. "I'd rather get a root canal than have to vote for Donald Trump," someone might say. I might say that, at least.

You never hear about what good they do, though.

About 24 hours ago, I had just been told by my dentist that it was possible I would lose my tooth and have to pay $4,000 for an implant.

NO. I panicked. I had just posted a blog about how much I wanted to lean into hope, how much I intended to look for it, to write every day until my husband heads out of town and then, bam.

I was really angry. I mean, sobbing, angry.

So, when the endodontist today said that, no, actually, he could save the tooth with a root canal and let's go ahead and get this thing done and get you out of pain, it was like someone was giving me a huge puppy. OK, a puppy that required a lot of novacaine and two hours in the chair, but still.

Seriously, it's all about perspective people.

Graying, toothless, 37 year-old woman with sleep-deprived bags under eyes and an anger complex, because, really, let's add a big empty socket in my mouth right now?

OR, graying 37 year-old woman with sleep-deprived bags under eyes and a hope complex.

I'll take the second, thank you very much.

And now I sit here, very gingerly sipping some warm coffee, trying to infuse myself with some energy before the little people wake up. Maybe years ago, I would have come back from hours of dental work and thrown a movie in, but now, I'll be down and dirty on the floor, playing trucks, wrestling, changing stinky diapers, having dance parties with a numb face.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. I mean, maybe it'd be nice to have an hour on the couch with a movie, but my oldest son injured his foot in PE today so HE gets the couch and the movie and an icepack and, as I promised myself I would do, I am writing. Claiming gratefulness, looking for hope.

Yes, today, friends, I am grateful for a root canal. As the pamphlet so eloquently puts it, today my diseased pulp was replaced "with a substance that will keep the tooth functional."  Sounds familiar. As I was laying in the chair, staring at the ivory ceiling, nodding along when the the doctor asked me questions, I had time to think.

This is so what God is doing right now.

He sees all this struggle, all the anger I have, the selfishness, all the ways I am way too weak to handle life on my own. He sees it, he diagnoses it. And then he drills down through my bitter exterior. He slowly, methodically, lifts out the gunk and replaces it with something that will make me function even better. He doesn't come down and rip the whole damn tooth out, leaving an empty spot and teeth that shift around and an awkward way to chew and a less than winning smile.

He saves who I am but makes it SO MUCH BETTER.

I gotta be honest, though, I do wish there was something akin to spiritual novacaine. Something that makes it feel less painful as the work is being done.

Oh, wait.

There actually is. If there was one thing I have seen, time and time again when I have found myself to be at the edge...during our miscarriage or years of infertility or waiting for our adoptions and now in the midst of an incredibly challenging phase in parenting...I have seen the people. The people who make meals. Who offer to fly out and help. Who pick up your kids so they can go play and you can nap or shower or write. Who text you things to make you laugh when you need it. Who pray.

People, friends. You guys. Spiritual novacaine.

And the upside to spiritual novacaine as opposed to a shot in the bloody gums?

You guys don't leave my face numb. You just leave it with a smile.

So, thanks. Thanks for your responses yesterday when I laid bare my heart. Thanks for those who are pitching in when he is gone. And those who are far away but who will be praying and thinking of us and yes, sending me things to make me laugh in the midst of it.

That's the kind of shot worth having.

No comments:

Post a Comment