I have to go to the dentist. Normally, not a big deal. At least, it isn’t when you haven’t been stalling. But I have, for quite awhile now, in fact. And I have lain in bed many a long night worrying about it because I just didn’t have it in me to call and schedule a date to be tortured.
But this morning, I was brave. This morning, I called! The dentist will see me on Monday. Why did I do this frightening thing? I did it because it’s Lent and I love God and He loves me and we both really do hope that my teeth will stay in my head for at least a little while longer.
Also, I’ve been thinking lately that I may have become a bit of a disappointment to poor Jesus. You see, I’ve deluded myself into believing that I’m willing to do anything for Him. But then, I can’t even get myself to the dentist when I’m supposed to! I guess I’m proving one thing to Him. I’m a terrible wimp. He’s probably not impressed. When I think about it, I realize that if I can’t even bring myself to do this one, silly, little thing, how dare I have the gall to assume tI could stand firm for Christ if some real, honest torture was to come my way?
There are a lot of saints in heaven and not one of them got there by being a wimp. Lent is a good time to tackle the hard things that we don’t want to do; you know, the things we’ve been putting off or resisting or cowering from. Lent is a good time for hurting a little. During Lent, the cross seems closer, somehow, clearer even. We can see Jesus nailed up there, still alive and bleeding. We can see Him looking down at us, hoping we’ll be brave enough to prove, in the many ways we already know we should, that we really do love Him.
Now, going to the dentist may seem like nothing to you. But to me, it approaches the peak of fear. Do I know why? No, not exactly. Maybe it has something to do with that massive, dripping needle coming toward my face while I pretend to be okay with it? Being a grown up and all, I’m not supposed to scrunch my eyes and scream, “Never mind! NEVER MIND! Get me out of here!” Or it could be the drilling sound that does it? Coupled, of course, with that vaguely alarming smell of burning tooth. Or perhaps it’s just that blinding interrogation light in my face and that terrible moment when I inadvertently catch my “I’m desperately trying to ignore the pain,” expression reflected in the dentist’s glasses.
Well, whatever it is that I’m afraid of, I am going to do it anyway because I cannot hope to make big sacrifices for God if I haven’t the guts to make little ones. So, you see? I am going to be brave this Lent.
And so are you.
by Alanna Smithee, a pseudonym for a homeschooling mother