Yesterday was a nice day, especially for December. The temperature was above normal and the Sun was shining bright, so I stretched out my hammock in the back yard and enjoyed a rare December day, relaxing on the hearth of God’s bright, enormous fireplace. While listening to the birds singing joyful thanks to the Creator for such a beautiful day, I looked up at the trees that were holding my hammock. I realized that the same trees that provided shade from the Sun in the Summer were now clear of leaves so that the Sun could shine through and warm the Winter ground below. What a marvelous design. And believe it or not, while laying there in the hammock, I actually got to talk with the Designer.
Easter was less than two weeks ago and already the trauma is fading. This past Easter was no ordinary one for me. Church was online and pre-recorded because of Covid-19 and the need for social distancing. It was a beautiful Spring day, so after the “service,” I went outside to deal with some metal spikes that were sticking out of the ground around some old rotted landscaping timbers. I was afraid the dogs would get hurt on them, so I was trying to remove them. That’s how I got hurt. Isn’t that ironic.
I won’t go into the details, but it involved my finger, a couple of metal spikes, a sledgehammer, and bad aim. Thirty minutes later I was sitting in the urgent care facility waiting for a tetanus shot and some stitches. When the doctor came in to stitch me up, I apologized that he had to do this while having to also deal with all the Covid-19 virus everywhere. He said he was glad to get to do it. It gave him a break from dealing with all the fevers, coughs, germs and such. I do think he almost enjoyed stitching up my finger.
In less than a week, Tammy pulled the stitches out for me. Today, less than two weeks after the bad-aim incedent, my finger feels almost normal again. There’s a little scab left, and it’s still a little sore, but in a few more days, even that will be gone and there will be nothing left but memories and a scar.
My body is healing itself. God made it that way. It happens countless times every day, in every place, all over the world. Cells regenerate, cuts and punctures seal up, broken bones knit together and a numberless army of tiny warriors in the bloodstream incapacitate invading germs. It is the miricle of life, an amazing design by an amazing Designer, that deals with the vast majority of evil things on this planet. But there are those rare occasions when the system is overwhelmed. And in time, the body wears out. On those occasions, for those happy souls who are prepared for it, our Creator has a new and improved model waiting. Can you even imagine what it must be like?
My dentist has a massage chair in his office. I went to get my teeth cleaned this past week and had to sit in it while the dental hygienist stuck her assortment of torture tools in my mouth. I guess the idea is that it is supposed to relax you while getting your dental “procedure” done. Speaking from personal experience, I can attest categorically and undeniably that, it does not work.
I will admit that when I first sat in the chair and leaned back, it felt kinda good. The tooth torturer left the room to prepare, so I sat there trying to relax. But then she came back in the room, snapped on some latex gloves, and picked up a small, sharp metal spike. I’m sure it has a more innocuous official name. Something like “dental probe” or “tarter removal tool.” But I’ve seen it. I know what it is. It’s a small, sharp, pointy metal spike and it’s headed straight for my mouth.
At this point, (yes, a pun) the relaxing massage chair is completely overpowered by the sight of that spike and the knowledge of the discomfort that is to come. As the spike moves toward my mouth, every muscle in my body is the exact opposite of relaxed. The scraping, the poking, the high pitched whine of the miniature pressure washer, all blow away any inkling of relaxation the paltry massage chair could hope to provide.
While I lay back in the chair, suffering the consequences of actually using my teeth to chew food, I realized the futility of the massage chair. It was starting to annoy me. The stupid mechanical hands relentlessly kneading my spinal cord as if to make taffy out of my vertebrae. I wished it would stop. I wished the tooth torturer would stop. And as the poking and scraping moved on to the pressure wash of pain, I wondered why God didn’t make people like sharks.
Why didn’t God make our mouths more like a shark’s, with rows of teeth ready to replace those that wear out? If our mouths were like a shark’s, we would NEVER have to go to the dentist. I am confident no one has ever seen a shark at the dentist office for teeth cleaning, much less a root canal. Even if a shark DID show up, what dentist in his right mind would stick his hands in a sharks mouth saying “Now bite down?” No doubt, if I had a mouth like a shark, I would not need to visit the dentist. Sure, it might make french kissing my wife a bit dicey, but if it meant no more dental visits . . . Maybe God should get some advice from me next time He decides to create. Or maybe not.
Well, I admit God knows best. Otherwise He wouldn’t be God. I also figure God can, and does use these experiences to teach me something if I am listening. So, in order to make sense of this whole dastardly dental deal, I have come up with three key points.
1) A simple pleasure or indulgence that can make you comfortable in the right context can be an annoying detriment in the wrong place or at the wrong time.
2) Sometimes in life there is pain. Suck it up and get through it. Yes, God could have designed a world with no pain, but in His wisdom, He saw fit to at least allow it. Perhaps He has a reason for His design that goes beyond my puny human understanding.
3) Never french kiss a shark because a) it could be dangerous and b) since they don’t have to go to the dentist, we should refuse to allow them the pleasure of a loving kiss. God designed that one for us.