Today I watched as my sweet 9-year-old daughter sat in a chair clinging to her favourite teddy while someone drilled a hole in her tooth. For such an occasion, I thought it prudent to bring with me my arsenal of parenting weaponry. The peaceful smiley “it’s all ok” face, the over enthusiastic thumbs up shrug and in my back pocket for emergency use only, the stern but confidence inspiring Mummy voice.
I sat helplessly as she lay back and endured the pain. I watched as her legs tensed, her toes wriggled in her shoes, and she squeezed the living daylights out of her teddy. I sat, and watched, and pondered the award-winning parenting advice I had given her earlier. “Yes, this may hurt, but it’s ok to feel pain, it’s part of life. Sometimes it’s best not to try and avoid pain, just face the feeling.”
And then I nearly choked right there in the Dental Clinic as I attempted to swallow the huge ball of hypocrisy in my throat.
Great advice. Why don’t I take it?
Clarity’s a bitch.
Cos right now it feels like God has snapped on his industrial strength gloves and decided to give me a root canal.
He’s got his big ole drill out and has been relentlessly carving away at my insides. He’s drilled in nooks and crannies I didn’t even know I had. He’s drilled for so long I’ve started to think its normal to have a jackhammer constantly chipping away at my life, and just when I think he is finished he shakes his head, opens me up, and drills a bit deeper.
Then, for good measure, he holds his little tricky dicky mirror up so I can see the gaping holes he has drilled. See? See what I did there? You don’t need that.
Still more? Sure. I’ve got this pick axe I can also use to get in those sneaky crevices, you know the ones where you like to hold on to things. Let’s get those too while we are here.
Great. Now let’s get a torrent of water and blast every remaining speck out, and suck out the remaining dregs of your life with this life sucking vacuum.
“Yes, this may hurt, but it’s ok to feel pain, it’s part of life. Sometimes it’s best not to try and avoid pain, just face the feeling.”
Eye roll emoji. Stupid parenting advice.
So, I could rave on about how God took out the decay in my life so he could fill the cavities with himself.
But that is trite bullshit.
He didn’t just take decay, he’s taken half of my teeth out. I’ve even taken a few out myself, and now I’m hobbling around with a numb toothless grin.
There’s no happy ending, neat package, moral to the story. Sometimes we do just walk around with a gaping hole in our life.
It hurts. Deeply. To the core.
Our nerve endings are exposed, and it’s incredibly painful.
And when those feelings are front and centre, when our life is sucked away into a vacuum and we are left rocking in the corner dribbling saliva do we take our own parenting advice? Face the pain?
I’m trying to, and I’m also hanging onto God, squeezing the living daylights out of him. Because sometimes when you have nothing left but him, you are blessed. Blessed to be hanging on for dear life, blessed to have a Father I trust despite my feelings. Blessed to have a life that knows joy and pain.
Do I get a sticker?