I shifted in my seat and folded my hands to keep my fingers from fidgeting. The tension of waiting gnawed on my nerves.
Suddenly I felt the presence of someone slide into the seat to my right. A soft introduction cued me to begin speaking.
“Well, it’s been seven years—” I tried to sense a reaction before plowing ahead, “—I know I’m way over-due, but, um, I’m here today because . . .”
I spilled my story. I owned my actions and braced for the consequences. I submitted to the prodding—this is what I came for—as I waited for the pronouncement.
After some quiet contemplation, I received the verdict: “No cavities. Your teeth are in really good shape for it being so long since you’ve seen a dentist—hardly any buildup. Now let’s look at that chipped tooth.”
My shoulders slumped in relief. The fix for the tooth and subsequent cleaning flew by. I barely noticed the poking and scraping. I was practically giddy knowing my years of dental inattention didn’t cause any long-term effects.
As I got out of the chair I realized the weight of guilt I’d been carrying as I pretended I had everything under control. I waited seven years. I waited until I was broken.
And I do the same thing with God.
I try to do better on my own. I wait until I’m damaged beyond what I can repair. I squirm in His presence because I know exactly how long it’s been and what I’ve done.
Yet when I confess, He scrubs me clean and smooths the rough edges. He points out the tender places and weak spots we need to keep an eye on together. I have ongoing responsibilities. But He never gives me what I deserve.
Textbook mercy. And I know it.
How easy it seems to try to handle things on our own. Thanks for the reminder of the One who loves us and is always waiting for our invitation to step in, heal and forgive.
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I love the Church of the Holy Molar, oops, the cross reference of Catholic confession and the dentist’s chair. I love how you write.
Sometimes the material presents itself. And while I am not advocating a seven-year hiatus from the dentist’s chair, I appreciate the impossible to ignore lessons!
Oh, Ktisten, you continue to amaze me with your insightful writings! You really are gifted, in more ways than one.
Thank you, Carol! You are an amazing encourager to me!!