Finding Christ in the Dentist Chair
I took a breath and said, "Come, Holy Spirit!" Due to quarantine, there was no one else in the office. I was alone in the chair and my dentist was about to walk in. All I could offer him was a broken crown and a prayer.
I have taken great care of my teeth and have yet to have a cavity. Yet, I learned I have a dead front tooth that required a crown in order to match the rest of my teeth. My tooth has been so weak that the crown fell off a couple of times within the time the city has been shut down. This led to getting to know my dentist better by sharing faith, hope, and positivity. I had to depend on his expertise to help my crown last until the labs reopen.
When my crown came off the first time, I was surprised at my calm reaction. I look back now with gratitude as I have witnessed my growth in emotional maturity. Diagnosed with anxiety, I do not deal well with change and can begin to worry when I'm not sure how something will work out. I mean, it's pretty important to have your front teeth right? ;-) And yet, in the midst of a pandemic, when we all are carrying our various crosses, I was at peace trusting that Christ was at work in this craziness.
During Lent, God wanted to teach me about his role as a Good Father and Divine Physician and helping me to be a better daughter and patient. I did not expect that the Easter season would bring so much time leaned back in a dental chair, blue paper pinned across my chest, and blinded by a warm overhead light.
Leading up to the consequent appointments, I felt a blessed assurance that all would work out well. Yet, when I was in the chair, waiting for him to enter the room, I started to feel my lack of understanding and helplessness. Though I've been in school most of my life, fixing teeth is nowhere in my repertoire. This presented the opportunity and the necessity to depend on someone else. I had no input or advice for him. He was the doctor. I was the patient. All I had to do was lay back, close my eyes, and pray for him to be inspired and encouraged by what he has learned in his training and experience.
Though no one wants their teeth to fall out (above a certain age ;-) ), God definitely can work in mysterious ways to teach us lessons about his love, mercy, and assistance in our lives. Though I hope not to continue going to the dentist multiple times a week, I do hope that I can constantly surrender to the Divine Physician as he heals my wounds and operates on my heart.
How is God working on you? How are you being asked to surrender to His healing hand?
Almighty God, Father of all mankind, I thank You for giving me another day to serve my fellowmen through the practice of dentistry.
Give me a keen mind to diagnose the ailments of my patients. Help me to treat them with gentle care so that I may correctly apply the treatment that they need. Make my hands light and firm in extracting the tooth and wiping the pain through the power of Your healing touch. Teach me O Lord to wear a cheerful smile and say soft and kind words that would soothe the dental suffering of my patients so that they may have full confidence in me.
After the dental treatment and procedures, grant my patients the beauty of a lovely and healthy smile.
In Jesus’ Name,
Saint Apollonia, patron saint of dentistry, pray for us
Jesus, I trust in You!