My Prescription

prescriptionOur troubles are like a prescription written out specifically for us from the Great Physician. And lately I’ve been going through some painful troubles I wish He hadn’t prescribed for me! However, I know I must be strong enough to get through this, because it has happened. It has been prescribed.

I am incredibly thankful to have survived into my forties relatively pain-free. I did have two natural childbirths mind you, so that does put everything into perspective! But I have not broken a bone except my big toe when I was a teenager (that was painful). And I suffered through a bulging disc (decades ago, back when we called it a ‘slipped disc’). But I have mercifully escaped dental pain. Until now.

Biting something tiny and terribly hard right in the center of a molar that caused a crack in the tooth has led to a painful chain of events. Just breathing the cold air outside or sipping a hot cup of tea caused excruciating pain, and a throbbing ache that kept me from sleeping. I was relieved that my dentist referred me to a root-canal specialist. Then, a couple of days later I was very thankful to that office for rearranging some appointments with others who were not in pain so that they could work me in quickly.

jarful of flowersWhen I arrived for my first-ever root-canal, I made the office staff laugh when I placed on the counter a jar wrapped with silk ribbon and filled with flowers, as I said “I’ll bet not everyone brings flowers to their root-canal appointments!”
I wanted to thank them for going out of their way to work me in quickly, and they loved it.

Fast forward through my meditating and silently reciting poetry to get myself through the four (yes four!) needles required to numb the area, then an hour of drilling and such (which I don’t mind – it’s needles that horrify me) only to have the dentist tell me the bad news: he found a crack at the tip of the root and the tooth cannot be saved.

My faith wavered and my spirits fell. I felt like my fear of dentists was only overcome by the urgent need to put an end to the pain, and now to face the imminent prospect of more appointments (with more needles!) to go through an extraction and future tooth implant procedure, and how long would it take to afford all that… well, I struggled to keep from crying as I drove the half hour trip home.

It can be incredibly challenging to feel joyful and filled with gratitude for life when we are in pain. And especially when our future is looming with images of more pain. Being immersed in a state of joy-filled gratitude is my normal state of being, and it felt lonely, cold, and sad to be in this bleak place, bereft of hope. However, as I do with the various climates of being, I allowed myself to feel miserable. I let the tears come, about the waste of money and the waste of my time and pain to end up with nothing. I let myself feel all my feelings. I postponed meetings and begged off supper duty for a couple of days as I rested, cried a bit, felt hopeless, and slept.

OpenHands thankingToday, three days after the procedure, I woke up feeling like my old self. I did my meditation prayer and felt rejuvenated. “Thank You God!” I said aloud cheerfully. Having spent time in the darkest of blues has made my return to the brightness of optimism and enthusiasm all that much brighter.

Balanced with this renewed brightness is an even greater empathy for those who are in pain. A grumpy person, a reckless driver in traffic, a stranger cursing in a store… who knows if these might be people enduring awful and persistent pain? It urges me to offer even greater patience, especially to those who don’t appear to deserve it for it might be those who need it the most.

Before I allow someone’s apparent lack of manners or social niceties to lower my energy or upset me in any way, what if I considered that they might be in pain? Could I forgive someone who snapped at me in a store, or cut me off in traffic if I knew they had an aching tooth, or a bulging disc? Could I remain at peace and send them loving white light?

Yes I could, and I can, and I will. I choose to remember my recent misery and allow this newfound empathy to help me shine my loving light to those seemingly unpleasant people who may cross my path. Thank You God for this essential prescription you recently wrote for me. It has brought me deeper empathy and an even greater capacity for love and forgiveness.

I won’t say that I will ever enjoy going to see dentists, but I’ll always remember to be thankful for the services they offer. And I might even bring flowers.

35 thoughts on “My Prescription

  1. Gina,
    All I can say is: I love you. Your perspective is so genuine, heartfelt and true and I can so relate to your post here. Our own pain helps us to be more empathetic to others. Years ago, while I was in my first semester of Physical Therapy at University, I ruptured my appendix and spent 10 days in the hospital for a very frightening, painful and difficult time. My surgery was on Christmas Eve, and I spent the entire holiday break very sick, feeling very sorry for myself and in a lot of pain. But I have often said that it was one of the most important parts of my training as a healthcare professional because I learned how to be empathetic from that horrific experience. I’m sorry about your tooth, but I know everything will be okay and you’ll be even more enlightened from the experience. Thank you for this wonderful post.
    Cathy

    • Bless your kind and loving heart, my friend! Thank you so very much for your delightful cheer of support. I thank you for your sympathy, and I too am sorry you went through that awful time – frightening and lonely and in pain! But we both are stronger and even more enlightened from our special ‘prescriptions’. I can definitely see what a caring and empathetic healer you are, and I know that painful past helped you grow. I know I feel more empathetic now. So much love felt, celebrated, and reflected back to you Cathy!
      Love, Gina

  2. Oh Gina…I feel for you sistah. Tooth problems are the worst!! If we didn’t have some dark times I wonder if we could appreciate the simple things as much. That seems like a silly thing to say now doesn’t it. It reminds me of the time my husband blurted out a statement about childbirth….” it couldn’t hurt THAT much you know, it is natural after all”… Oh my stars he will never live that down, it is a running joke in our house…. Sadly, dental pain is the worst, we DON”T ever need that to see the light that is for sure…:0))… I am sorry you had to have all that pain and I am glad you are feeling better… now if you could just win the lottery to take care of that bill!! :0)

    • Hello sweet sistah! Thank you so much for this lovely and sympathetic comment Kim :) And your comment of appreciating simple things is leagues better than your husband’s blurt! (‘natural’ = ‘doesn’t hurt that much’?? Ya, not so much!!) Thanks again for your sweet and delightful cheer of support, and your photography continues to uplift and inspire. What you share through that lens continues to blow my mind :D
      Hugs, Gina

    • I love that term: nosegay :) Reminds me of the sweet little bouquets of flowers people used to hang on doorknobs on the first of May. Actually I intend to bring that idea back! Thank you so much for your very kind and sweet comment Z! Hugs, Gina

        • What a lovely idea! Yes I need to purchase a wee nosegay for myself (‘purchase’ required since my garden is currently buried under snow) and having it by the kitchen sink window is a delightful idea. Thanks for the inspiration! Hugs ~ always. G

          • you’re welcome! when i lived in a coloder climate, i often visited the florist during the cold months and there was little in the yard; i asked permission to visit their cooler, and i would select one stem of this and one of that, and go home with a modest bounty that cost little! ah, i spread little nosegays throughout the house, and the colder climate kept them fresh for a long time!
            you deserve happy flowers always, especially if you’re recovering from dental work! z

            • Your replies are so wonderful that I’ve got to respond :) I’d forgotten how you haven’t always resided in your current warm locale. I laughed at your story of the florist coolers because it’s so similar to my late winter habit of frequenting garden centres in Feb & March to simply smell the plants and see the tropical blooms. And just maybe come home with a new Primrose or two ;)

  3. It’s so inspiring to read how you take pain and let it be transformed into something beautiful which can be used for the good of others & the world. Thank you for sharing! (But, I still want to avoid dental pain as much as possible).

  4. Teeth – they are like diamonds :). For some reason I spent the better part of a decade putting up with a wisdom tooth that gave me trouble – and then it cracked and i had to get it pulled out. By the time I got an appointment (2 were cancelled because of floods!) I was that relieved to get it out and to experience the ‘no pain’ after weeks of pain, I didn’t care about the needles or the pliers (or the dentist,but that’s another story :) ) I hope you get resolution for your pain soon xxx

    • Sara! Thank you for this compassionate (and rather funny!) comment ~ I really appreciate it. And I know exactly what you mean about how the pain of a tooth can help us overlook the whole appointment. “Please just stop the pain!” Knowing an extraction is in my future now that I’m out of pain (but on borrowed time with a temporary filling) means I have to be a brave ‘grown up’ and just make an appointment to ‘pull it!’ Yikes. ;) Well a week or two to enjoy and then I’ll take the next step. Thanks again Sara! Hugs, Gina xxx

        • Ah Sara! Your kindness spreads farther than you know! These words help a lot. Thank You! I must remember, it is the FEAR itself (of the needles) which is more painful than the experience itself. A wise reminder. Thank YOU again! Hugs, Gina

  5. I’m willing to bet you’re right, Gina. That’s probably the only bouquet (BEAUTIFUL!) the root canal endontist team ever received. Even in your darkest hour, shedding light! What an example you are, friend. Hugs! Jamie

    • :D Thanks Jamie! Yes that action brought me as much of a burst of light and joy as those who received it: two talented and experienced ‘front line’ workers (as a previous admin myself, I like to use that expression). The whole team enjoyed it, and even the dentist thanked me. I hope to promote the action of giving flowers to those who expect it the least :) I’d certainly bring you flowers my friend, to say thanks for your encouraging comments and posts. With a loving hug, Gina xo

  6. Your post reminds me of the oft-quoted, “God doesn’t give us more than God knows we can handle.” But, thankfully, usually it is one challenge at a time – and we have time to recuperate and learn from one before God hands us the next one. Each one comes complete with a lesson to be learned, doesn’t it? You shared your experience and the lessons accompanying it so eloquently that we all can relate and emphathize. Thank you! This week my husband and I experienced the distress of plumbing problems that filled our basement with errant water. Yes, it taught us a new appreciation for water that comes correctly through pipes!

    • Oh Jan! Errant water is never welcome, but yes – like you mentioned – challenges always include a lesson from God, and we all can remember to be thankful for water remaining in pipes and the service of plumbers who help make it so. Your oft-quoted expression reminds me of a favorite by Victor Hugo that ‘God never makes fruit grow on a branch too weak to bear its fruit’. I do see challenges as a sign that I’m ‘up for it’ because God must know I am. And there’s always a lesson ~ and a gift. Best wishes for a nice dry basement! Loving hugs of gratitude, Gina

  7. Gina,
    First, {{{Hugs}}}.
    Second, you are amazing. I can’t believe how quickly you rebounded from this event. You not only became “your old self” again, you have become much more. Your ability to see this challenge as a way to delve deeper into empathy and forgiveness is a great example for all of us. Thank you for being the shining light of love and empathy. I //bow// to you as a teacher, saint, and friend. {{{Hugs}}} kozo

    • Kozo, your presence in my life means more than you may know! This delightful comment is such a treasure to sign on and discover. There are unfortunately times in life that take me away from my computer and keep me from signing on here and connecting with important friends such as yourself. But please know that you matter in my world. You are an old soul, a wise and kind person, a writer who is a teacher and mentor, and you and your comments and of course your amazing articles definitely make a difference in my world. Bless your heart ‘Kozo’s dad’. You matter in my world.
      Love, your friend, Gina

    • Hello my dear friend. THANK YOU for sharing this empowering Truth. We have the power, and if we don’t feel respected, heard, honored, or safe, we need to exercise our right to stand up and leave. A powerful lesson that I need to remember… having been raised to always respect persons in authority. As I’ve grown I know they only have an expensive education… and to view the process from a ‘step back’. Your comment is wonderfully wise and I appreciate all your visits very much! Thank you Dani Lynn! Hugs, Gina

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