A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dave's Deep Thoughts - Going to the Dentist on Your Birthday

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
Birthday agenda:
Cake, lots of it.....check
Cards from family & friends.....check
Happy birthday sung in a variety of public settings......check
Dinner out on the town..........check
Presents.............let's hope!
Trip to the dentist...........say what???
I like birthdays, especially my own.
This one isn't a "big" one with a zero at the end,
but it is a speed limit birthday,
higher than a work zone
but not quite highway driving.......
I know there are many
who like to ignore birthdays.
For many, it is just a reminder of our mortality
and the mirror reminds us that things have changed.
But all of us are mortal,
and those of us who know our Creator & Savior
are headed onto immortality.
And from day one,
we have all been in a process of change.
It didn't begin at age 30.
I like my birthday.
I see it as a reminder
that I am loved by God, friends, and family.
I matter.
My life has purpose and intention
(for those who doubt, try Psalm 139....)
But a visit to the dentist???
It's not exactly birthday party material.
Especially this dentist. Dr. Driller.
I'm sure he is a decent human being.
I'm sure he pays his taxes
and feeds his children.
Maybe it starts with
his rooting for the rival football team.
There's not much you can do to retaliate
when he is throwing barbs at your team
and you have a minimum of 4 of his fingers in your mouth.
And so, instead of Happy Birthday
What I got was
I'll bet that last second loss really hurt......
now rinse please.
How many offensive lineman are injured this week?
Two? Three?
I suppose I could have bit him,
but with a digging pick in his hand,
I think he would have had the last laugh.
After about ten insults thrown at
the best team in the history of the universe,
he changed subjects.
Oh my,
that doesn't look good, he said
I thought he was still talking about the team offense
but then I realized he meant my teeth.
What's wrong??????
I tried to say,
but with cotton balls in my mouth,
it came out sounding like
Charlie Brown's teacher voice.
These fillings don't look good.
How old are they ?
Now I hadn't had fillings
since I was a child.
Instead of trying to speak the answer in garbled syllables,
I began to flash my fingers in groups of ten.
Oh dear,
they're ancient!
If there is one word you don't care to hear on your birthday,
it just might be ancient.
Man, they are old!
Okay, enough!
If anyone was going to be able
to rob me of my birthday joy,
Dr Driller seemed to be succeeding.
We're going to have to replace several of them.
Okay, can I have my cake now?
I thought as Dr Driller continued to prod and poke.
Wow, these have been in here so long
that they are going to cause some problems!
I waited for him to tell me it was all a joke
and for all the dental assistants
to storm into the room singing Happy Birthday.
But there was no singing to be had in exam room #3,
just some floss and some cinnamon flavored toothpaste.
and the thought of more dates with Dr. Driller.
And so I crawled out of the chair,
and slinked to the receptionist
to schedule three more visits to see Dr Driller
and to pay the bill.
(no dental insurance, final kick in the pants on my special day)
Each birthday
and the 364 days that follow it,
are gifts that we receive from God
There is no guarantee
that each morning.
our spirits will be returned to us.
And so each morning when I awaken,
I thank God for the gift of a new day.
It might be a day filled with sunshine and things that make me smile,
or it might be a day filled with challenges & frustrations,
or a day with the mix of the two.
But it is a day to treasure none-the-less,
because once it is gone,
I'll never have it back.
And that makes it the best gift I could ever have.
As I headed toward the door,
Dr Driller came through and said,
Oh, Happy Birthday,
Now let's get to work on those linebackers......
Happy birthday to me and happy day to all!
This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Psalm 118:24

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