Our 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.
When 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.
Today, 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.