Monday, May 3, 2010

Scrape and Stretch

I am a dentist chicken.

And I just re-read that line and am now picturing my dentist in a chicken suit, but I'm leaving it, because it's funny.

You get the point, I'm a big 'fraidy-cat when it comes to The Scraper. And then there's the whole Calvity issue, which has only further compounded my jitters.

I had to go for my check-up today and I had myself convinced that I had a mouthful of cavities. I was already repeating the line in my head, "There must be something in the water around here..." I mean, it sounds so silly. It is so silly. I had worried myself to the point of believing that I needed to prepare for the looming disappointment. I visualized my reaction to "the news". I was mentally lining up sitters for drill day.

For the love of Pete, I'm not prone to dental woes. I had nothing to base all of this on. I was cooking up a plate of trouble with tableservice for one.


Oh, I really don't have a clue.

All I can tell you is this - I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the meaning of life, these days.

I'm pondering the meaning of it all. I can't escape it. It follows me to bed and, come morning, to the shower, where it knows it has my undivided attention.

I used to think of life as one big gift, with a lush, high-quality, grosgrain ribbon tied around it, just so, in the color of my choosing.

And I still do think life is a gift. I know life is a gift. But maybe it's more than that pretty package.

Maybe there's more than the idea that God breathed life in us only to ensure that we are happy and carefree and wealthy and spoiled and protected and blah blah blah. Maybe those things fall more toward the bottom of His agenda. I'm second-guessing the notion that God is primarily here to serve our needs on earth - snapping His fingers and poofing away all of our problems. What has ever rooted within us the idea that His big job is mostly to lavish "blessings" (aka "things") upon us? I'm thinking that might be the very opposite of the Truth. What would be the big story behind that headline?

Sitting fixed beneath the lead vest, my mind murmured one last prayer for no cavities. And still, I worried that this might just be one more lesson, stapled to the bottom of the list. Maybe I'm too prideful about my dadgum teeth. Maybe that lesson learned vicariously through Calvin wasn't enough. Maybe we could use one more unexpected bill. Maybe-maybe-probably.

Then, the verdict. No cavities. Keep up the good work! It all looks great.

So, it seems, that life is one big gift. And today I choose this color for my bow. Make it double-width, if you please. I will unwrap this gift today and find clean, whole teeth. But I will also find a soul-stretching so real that it feels a little like the flu. I will find no promise that Cory's job will survive tomorrow's election. I will find my baby sister, boarding a plane for Africa, not to return for a year. I will find the tugging/pulling/yanking from God to lay down my pride, my smart ideas, my selfishness. I will find a home that extends far beyond these four walls. I will find compassion. I will find redemption. I will find sorrow. And joy that spills over the edges. I will find love undeserving. Faithfulness big enough to steady me against the hairpin turns of this world.

This life is the grandest gift. But only if I'm willing to take it all and only if I give it back.

"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong."
Ephesians 3:17

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