May 9, 2012

When we smile...

She glared at me. Her lips quivered with obvious anger. She wrapped a white string around her fingers like a tiny white garrote. But she didn’t strangle me – even though I know she wanted to. No, she only lectured me. And then the torture began.
I really don’t mind going to the dentist. And when the cleaning is finished, I feel like I just received a wax and shine on my pearly whites. I love rubbing my tongue on my teeth and knowing that all the food, bacteria, and particles are gone. But I always leave with my ears ringing from “the lecture” …because apparently I don’t floss my teeth as often as I should.

 From behind her little white mask I can hear the sneer in her voice, “How often do you floss?”
Every time I lie, “Oh about once a week.” But that is reaaaallly stretching it. The truth is, I only floss when I have something stuck in my teeth. Sometimes I’ll floss a couple of times a week, but that is rare. How do I tell her the truth that I hate flossing and I’d rather kiss a chicken than floss?
“Well you need to floss more often”. Having been properly reprimanded, I mumble a promise to do better next time.
The truth is, I really don’t know why I hate flossing. I know it protects my teeth and gums. I know it only takes about two minutes – (although because my teeth are so close together, it takes me a lot longer). I know that my dentist would supply me with a lifetime of floss if I’d promise to use it. But I also know that the floss would end up in my Floss Drawer – a special collection of floss I have been hoarding since the ‘70s.
I once tried to prove to myself that flossing was unnecessary. Surely I would find someone on the internet that would back up my claim that we really don’t have to floss. I mean, the Cave Men didn’t floss – did they? But apparently flossing can prevent all sorts of diseases -including heart attacks. On one site a person asked a Dentist if it was really necessary to floss every tooth. Her reply was hopeful, “Absolutely Not! You only have to floss the teeth you want to keep”. Great.
I suppose I could wax on poetically about our existential existence, Plato, Anselm and Augustine but the truth is I have no justification for my bad behavior. Really, if flossing were necessary to get into heaven, I’d be toast.
But flossing isn’t necessary. For salvation, that is. Jesus – who lived before flossing was invented – took care of that! And in heaven, I’ll have a new set of pearly whites that won’t fade, yellow, stain or decay. And if I meet my Hygienist in heaven, I’m going to smile and say, “I told you flossing wasn’t necessary”.
Pastor David Hook

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