With many others today, I celebrate the Christ child made known to a traveling band of Magi. It had been a long journey. They came out of the east guided only by a star, their questions and faith. The wise men must have felt both joy and relief, for surely they arrived in Bethlehem tired and sore from their travels.
Today I am more tired than sore thanks to the wonders of pain relief medication. But I too received gifts from completing my long-awaited appointment with the dentist’s chair. No frankincense, myrrh or gold are in hand, but my gifts were precious all the same, since they lightened the heaviness of a day that I’ve fretted over since this time a year ago.
My dentist would be surprised to find himself the bearer of gifts in my eyes; his quietly spoken quips are just his ordinary dose of levity to keep patient’s distracted from the task at hand. He may not have thought I’d remember the words to tell the story. I was, after all, under the effects of nitrous oxide for the better part of an hour.
In my experience, the gas called laughing gas normally tends to make life calm and serene, even when someone is putting all kinds of scary torture devices into my mouth. But today it actually lived up to its name. In that happy place, far removed from the fear of leading edge dentistry by one of the city’s best and brightest, I wonder at my daring to call one of my gifts epiphany, defined as,
“a sudden, intuitive perception of …or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.”
In no particular order, I share all my little treasures with you — the “Quips from my dentist” alongside (my unspoken thoughts in parenthesis)…
- “Boy, I’d forgotten how tiny your mouth is. But I bet YOUR friends don’t find it so small. (Really, now, how does he expect me to reply to that, especially with a needle in my mouth.)
- After many, many one-line quips, to which I was in no position to respond with a half-dead tongue, I thought: (Being a dentist is a great proving ground toward becoming a stand-up comedian)
- At the critical point where it was time to install the implant, my dentist thoughtfully said to my tiny mouth, “Now, how am I going to do this?” (Do I want to hear these words coming out of your mouth right now..?)
Having shared these, I realize none of my gifts may actually be viewed as an epiphany outside that far away land of nitrous oxide. But today, it’s all I have — these few moments of levity that brought light into a dark scary place — which made my dentist no ordinary wise guy.
I’ve suffered less at the hands of dentists than most, enduring in a lifetime (so far) one small filling and one extraction of an impacted and infected wisdom tooth.
Funnily enough myrrh would have been a useful gift as it is used as an ingredient in mouthwash and can heal spongy and infected gums. Frankincense slows and deepens the breathing and produces calm in panicking people.
And gold makes the best filling or replacement tooth!
My thoughts are with you and my prayers for steady healing!
You are thoughtful my friend — I can’t sleep right now, so I came back to work on this post with clearer head than what I had yesterday.
I enjoyed your analysis of the healing properties of frankincense, myrrh and gold. The gold I had thought of, but not the other two. Makes a lovely insight into the post and I thank you for adding it.
Thanks for the kind words. I”m taking it slow, following all the doctor’s orders in being kind to myself.
My dentists have always complained about my small mouth. Guess we are just blessed.
In more ways that we know. I’ve a batch of spaghetti sauce coming your way — I’ll bring it if I come to Abigail’s contest.
Hopefully, I’ll feel up to driving…
I’m chuckling along with you, especially about that query: “Now, how am I going to do this?” That question probably stands at the top of the list of questions I’ve asked in my life – asked in every kind of situation and with every kind of emotion.
I’m glad your dentist had the answer. May we be so blessed every time we ask the question in the coming year.
Yes. May we be so blessed…. a lovely benediction.
It’s hard to step into the dark not knowing when or where the light of truth will shine.
But when I heard my dentist pose this question, I promptly stretched my mouth to open it as big as I could make it. He seemed relieved. Maybe the darkness and unknown does this for us too — I like to think so.