Who ever likes to go to the dentist? Not many of us. But who likes to take their kids to the dentist when they are having a tooth problem? Not many of us at all!
Well, that was today for me. My 8 year old had a cavity that I probably waited a little too long to deal with, yes you can insert “mother of the year” here. 🙂 So here we go. I load up the 4 kids to drive the 45 minutes to the city to go to the dentist. Geared up for a long visit, I pack the snacks, books, and games and mentally prepare myself for sitting in the office awhile!
Sure enough, the x-rays come back and they are going to have to do some work – some intense work on my little 8 year old’s mouth. This pediatric dentist is an awesome place…they have kid stuff everywhere! So, as she is taken back to get the laughing gas mask on to start the procedure, she starts crying. They haven’t done any work yet, but real big tears are rolling down her little cheeks.
She is worried, she is scared, she is unsure, and when she lays down in the dentist chair, she sure isn’t too certain about the mask they place over her nose. That was a bit much for her. How do you explain to a 8 year old that these crazy contraptions on their mouth and tubes, and noises, are all actually there to help her?! All she can see and hear is new things that may or may not cause her pain.
As I sat there holding her hand, I thought about the simplicity of this visit and the irony of how it applies to our lives. We have something that is maybe causing us pain, but to fix it and get rid of the pain, there are many uncertainties on that pathway. Maybe it’s a change we need to make in a relationship. Maybe it’s a change we need to make at work. Maybe it’s a new habit we need to adopt. But all we can see is the uncertainty of the current situation, and we often would just rather stay where we are….even in pain.
So as I held her, I kept saying to her – “it’s going to be okay”. I know it’s hard to believe right now, but it’s all going to be okay! Only 35 short minutes later, the dentist had fixed her problem areas, and here she was walking out with a balloon, a new bouncy ball, and a half smile on her face. The best smile you can make when your face is half numb 🙂
Then the dentist gives her a coupon for ice cream and all is right with the world again! No more pain, no more issues in her little mouth, but it took going through some uncertain circumstances to get there. She had to trust in that dentist and in what we were asking her to do, in order to come out better on the other side.
What in our lives can we trust God with…knowing that it may mean going through some tough times first, but that in the end it will actually bring us to a better place? What can we do today that may hurt a bit, but that will lead us to a more pain free situation tomorrow? What can we eliminate from our lives that may be hurting us, but if we will let it go, can actually bring us peace?
I’ve not enjoyed the pain of these life “dentist” lessons I have had to go through. None of us do. But I do know that I wouldn’t trade one painful lesson for anything because it has brought me to a better place spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. The bad tooth aches I have faced in life (whether in relationships, work situations, or just plain hard times) have made me into who I am today and they have equipped me to handle the next bad “tooth” that comes along! And the best part of it all, is the ice cream we can enjoy after the pain of the dental work!!
Founder, P31 Fitness