Root Canal

So yesterday, had some dental work done.  I don’t know about you, but when it comes to all things dentistry, I am a bit jumpy.  Nervy.  Trying to get a cat in a carrier is easier than getting me in a dentist’s office, I think.

Lest you think badly of him, I actually have a wonderful dentist.  So wonderful in fact that he is on the list of one of the better doctors I’ve ever had, and come to think of it, I think it’s because he gets this, my nervy cat reaction around dentistry.

So, yesterday had to have some work done.  Some BIG work, some almost-root-canal work done.  Blech.  So, anyways, I had enough work done (don’t know if I’m comfortable admitting this or not, but here goes) and I am enough uptight in the dentist’s chair that I qualified for the laughing gas.

And I’m not proud, with all the drills they pulled out, I said a non-hesitant yesYES, PLEASE. Side effects? Meh, I’ll worry about that later.

So off we went into the Land of Laughing Gas for the first time, and all I have to say is whoa.  I was all Salvador Dali and melting clocks stretching off mantles, and like “who cares? “ well, actually I was more like “whooooooo carrrreeeeeeeesssssss” if you must know.

In fact, I may or may not have said that to the dentist at some point.

Tingling fingers, tingling toes, my breathing was slow and deep, and they kept moving my chair up and down so much that I felt like I was falling into the center of the earth and it was weird but nice, but I don’t think I had too much gas, why do you ask?

But back to the point, the point was I didn’t care.  And if you know anything about me, I do care.  A lot.  To a fault, almost.  My typical mode of operandi is uptight, major uptightness with a capital U.  And tied in a perfect bow, please.

And not caring, letting go, being this sort of relaxed is not something I am either comfortable with or at ease with.  I, to some degree, have a fear of too much relaxation, mostly because I do enough of it at home.  I mean, if I get any more “relaxed” about my home life, chores might not get done, the laundry will fall behind.  What happens if I relax too much? Do I lose too much productivity?  There is already a shortage of socks in this household, what happens if I don’t do laundry? Nobody wants to see a lawyer sockless, just so you know.

So after yesterday’s experience, I think the answer is yes, I do lose productivity.

And lost productivity is not a bad thing, every now and then.  And after yesterday, I also now think I have a grasp on not caring sometimes. And LaLa land was a wonderful place to visit momentarily; not having a care is a lovely, lovely thing every once in a while.

I usually don’t not have a care in the world, so it was nice for a change.  I was able to not care about the potential need for a root canal, I was able to float on by the thought of drills and noises and all these things, and I turned Mumford and Sons WAY UP LOUD because I was all for tuning things out, and in my opinion, the one thing I am allowed to tune out is dental work.  Love my dentist, yes I do, but don’t like the dental work.  Maybe I should think about that when I’m on eating 20th gummi bear next week.

But tuning out isn’t always an option.  In fact, most times it isn’t an option at all (ever been to a Doctor’s office where you had to turn off your cell phone? Longest wait of your life, FYI.)

But somehow, we think tuning out; zoning out, blasting music up, doing this “x” thing that distracts us is always an option.

Because, most days, that’s how we live our lives: tuned out. Zoned out.  Knocked out on drugs, Facebook, alcohol, people, you name it, we’re addicted to it.

We’re addicted to it, not because we want to be of course, but because the tuning out makes us think we escape the pain.

Why go through and dig up old wounds? Why wonder why people have hurt us or left us, why go through all of that, ever, we wonder while we eat a whole gallon of ice cream without noticing until we’re scrapping the bottom of the carton.

I don’t have any hurts! I am fine! We declare as we make our lives and schedules so busy there is barely time to think beyond planning the next activity.

It’s done, we think, no need to think about it anymore, as we say yes again and again to the drinks with friends without realizing we have been good and drunk for an entire month.

If you get my point, it’s not that any of these things are bad.  A little glass of wine? Not a big deal.  Some ice cream? No one dies from eating ice cream.  Or at least, if they have, I haven’t heard about it.  Activities and plans are generally good, actually.

However, in the bi-polar world we are living in, it’s not all good.  Rare is the person who can do all these things without overindulging in all of it or cutting themselves completely off and away from it.  I can name about 3-5 people who have this whole matronly sounding “moderation” thing under control.  And let’s be honest here: I’m not one of the 3-5 people I can name.

Now, the rest of us that take up the remaining fingers and toes-those of us who eat but who really are hungry for something that’s not food, those of us who drink in order to get drunk, those of us who entertain and over-schedule, well, we’re not doing it really for the sake of our kids as much as it is for the sake of our own avoidance.

We are over-planned, over-busy, over-lazy, over-fed, starving, and yet over-stimulated and under-cared for.  But even through all that, we still have time to think and wonder:

When am I going to be loved?

When am I going to stop hurting?

When am I ever going to be good enough?

When we stop distracting and distancing ourselves from ourselves, then.

When we stop long enough to look around and size up the shabby rafters of our souls, then.

When we stop long enough to feel pain, deep inside where the wounds live, and not be afraid of the rain, then.

When we put trust in Him, and in us, again, then.

And not a moment sooner.

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Swiss cheese life

My life: it’s all swiss cheese and gift wrap at the moment. The translation? It’s sort of messy.

I liken it to swiss cheese: holey, missing parts-and somedays-it’s like there is not enough caulk in the world to patch the holes I keep stumbling upon, unaware.

This same sort of thing happens to me often around Christmas too; the literal sense of how I feel most days.

I, proudly thinking that I have prepared well enough for all the gift wrapping to come, that I have calculated out the correct density and height of whatever I’m wrapping, and have enough paper to more than cover all sides of the gift, proceed to arrogantly cut the paper to wrap the gift, only to behold this: the paper does not meet in the middle.

It doesn’t match up.

So, then in an instant, I realize I have to patch in some random gift wrap paper (because somehow, I always use the last bit of the gift wrap that would actually match it), all the while cussing and sweating and trying to figure out where I miscalculated, where I could have gone so wrong with the whole gift to gift wrapping paper ratio.

And then I usually sigh.

And that’s kind of where I’m at right now: a great deal of sighing, some holes and unsightly gaps in my life needing some patching, and a whole lot of gift wrap not meeting in the middle, not lining up nicely, where it should.

Oh, should. That nasty, guilty word.

And most of the time, it feels like all of this means that I don’t add up; that somehow others have figured out the answers to these sorts of problems, that they are smarter than me and somehow are able to guesstimate gift wrap and can get their gift wrap seams (and also: their lives) to measure up in some way that I cannot.

Not everyday is like this, but lately it seems a constant challenge. Some days the holes are pinpricks and paper cuts, and some days they feel like they gnaw at the very foundation of me, like the way a termite goes after wood.

Thankfully, though-I’m not alone in this.

Certainly I’m not the only one whose life is messy, not the only one whose laundry basket is generously overflowing but whose patience is running thin and low.

Not the only one, right? Right?  

And though I am so uncertain, so fragile at times, I am solidly certain of this: that God is here.

That Jesus cares.

And loves me, even me with the gift wrap calculation problems, even me with the more-holey-than-holy-swiss-cheese life, and is even ok with that giant laundry basket that seems to consume more dirty clothes by the hour.

This makes all the difference in the world.

This helps me, especially on those days that I stare off into the sunset and wonder, those tough days I want to shake my fists at the sky and say “This better be a really good lesson!”

Jesus loves me, even through that.  And that is awesome.