Crosses from the Dentist Chair

Sep 23, 2005Family Uncaged

I’ve been visiting the dentist a lot.

Several weeks ago, my hubby was sweet and decided to take me out to dessert. We walked to a local pizza place, sat outside and ordered ice cream. No, it wasn’t Rocky Road. Just pistache (pistachio for you Americans). And, said pistache had a wee pebble within its greenness. I bit down. My tooth (molar) cracked.

I know. I know. You’re holding your jaw about right now. I know I did. You see, one of my greatest most terrible fears is that a tooth breaks. Sometimes I’ll have these dreams that all my teeth just fall out into my hand and I frantically try to put them back in. Perhaps it was God’s wry sense of humor to show me that, yes, I could endure one of my worst fears–even in France!

Even so, tears erupted. I fretted. The next day I saw a nice dentist who gave me lots of shots and dealt kindly with my shaky fear. I told him in my addled French, “J’ai casse mon dent avec un petit rocher.” He laughed.

A petit rocher, turns out, is a small boulder. So apparently, I’d been chewing on a boulder when my poor tooth broke under the pressure. The proper word? Caillou. Go figure. The only caillou I know is that weird bald-headed kid on PBS. So I broke my tooth on a caillou.

Turns out most of the tooth was gone, so it’s taken several visits to get things right. So the dentist and I have chatted quite a bit (well, he’s chatted, I’ve listened with my mouth open, drool spilling out). He sings Elton John while he drills. By the way, the French don’t seem to use laughing gas. No earphones playing soothing music. No massages. Just lots of shots. (Now is the time for you to shower me with utterances of my bravery!)

So, today, I brought the dentist a copy of Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God. We’d been talking about parenting and he seemed very interested in the connection between parenting and God. I know it sounds very odd, but I felt like after my last visit that I was supposed to give him this book. He held it, read the back cover copy, and thanked me.

Today he whittled down my poor wee tooth and all the while I watched the ceiling. It is one of those acoustic tiled things, so there are long metal bars separating each tile. While the drill screamed in my ear and my brain rattled, I looked at the ceiling, seeing many crosses. I kept my eyes on the crosses separating the ceiling tiles and considered Jesus. He endured more than root canals on that cross. Way more pain. Way more suffering. Every time I started getting shaky, I glanced afresh at the ceiling and my heart grew calm. Jesus suffered. My little bit of suffering He could handle. Could shoulder.

So I left today with a temporary crown (with choruses of Crown Her with Many Crowns echoing in my head), and a newfound infatuation with Jesus. The dentist thanked me again for the book and I thanked the Lord for prompting me to give it to him. Who knows how Jesus will use my silly words.

Who knows?

He does.

And I rest in that today, crowned and all.