Sunday, March 18, 2012

In Perspective

Kids love to hear stories about the day they were born. 

I don't know if you've ever talked to your tiny folks about that day, but it's like magic for them - to know 
the first thing you thought the first time you saw them, 
what their baby hair looked like, 
who came to visit, 
and what the doctors and nurses said.
All the smallest details are magnified
because children need to hear their stories. 

(After all, what does the middle of a book mean when you've skipped the beginning?)

I try to give my kiddos a new detail often, although sometimes I tell the same story a hundred times. Like music, it calms them, fixing their eyes on mine as we walk the same road. It's the simplest song I sing, and one of the most important.

Ultimately, the words help my tiny folks see themselves in the bigger story, of grandparents and aunts and cousins and friends. Details shape the narrative they'll tell their own children and grandchildren. And this is the context they'll give that story, all the shared understanding that makes it our own:

We wanted you.
We wished for you, and waited.
When you came, 
we welcomed you. . .
and so did the rest of your family --
the ones who traveled hours to see you,
the ones who waited home, itching to meet you.
We all welcomed you;
we still do,
because we waited, and you came. . .
because we wanted you.

Those are the messages that permeate our narrative. And all of that -
the teaching and the detail and the time -
all of it both tells our story,
and writes it.

Painting word pictures,

Shared here:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crowning Glory

A few weeks ago, for the first time in my adult life, I needed work done on a tooth. (Work. Sounds like such a harmless little word, doesn't it?)

The night before Thanksgiving, I had chipped a piece off one of my molars. No big deal, really. But it sure was sharp. And it sure was sensitive. And it sure was traumatic to Mrs. Tough Teeth.

So off to the emergency dentist we went to have a Band-Aid applied. The dentist warned me that the Band-Aid was only temporary. She said, "You've got 30 days, tops," and I nodded solemnly. No prob! 30 days is plenty of time to get back to the dentist for a real, live crown.

83 days later, I broke my Band-Aid.

(Don't judge. I was busy!)

Cue the second emergency dentist. He was understanding, and totally didn't raise an eyebrow when I told him the truth about my slacking tooth. Inserting a gravelly paste into my mouth, he told me to come back in the morning to start the crown process.

The next morning, when he stuck a Q-tip in my mouth and told me to bite down, I had no clue what was happening. But I obeyed; I was trying to make up for the sin of 83 days. Quickly, my mouth went numb, and I felt peaceful. This would be an easy fix.

*Cue the hypodermic needle.*

The last time I had work done on my teeth, I was a child. I'd never had Novocaine; laughing gas had always worked fine. So you can imagine my fright at seeing a needle the size of my arm heading toward my face. Thankfully, the Q-tip had done its work, and the spear went in with a dull pressure; I hardly noticed it!

But the medicine? Uh, not so much. It hit the inside of my gums with a warmth that washed into my cheek. My eyebrow went numb, and I panicked. I knew I needed to calm down before I jumped out of the chair and ran. 

So what does the good Preacher's wife do when she's afraid? She meditates on Scripture, of course! Only this Preacher's wife isn't so great at remembering things under pressure:

Think, think, think. Ok, so it's been a while since I've memorized anything. Hmm... "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pas-"

Wait! Isn't Psalm 23 the chapter they read at funerals? Not good. 

Ok, so now what? John 3:16? Romans 3:23? Psalm 139? Oh, that's a good one!

Confession: I remembered exactly one verse of that chapter.

Thankfully, by this time the dentist was basically finished, and his (half-blind) assistant told me I looked too young to have a six-year-old. I don't know whether it was the medicine or the compliment, but suddenly my blood pressure leveled, and my heart started its normal pace again. He finished the job without a hitch, and I was scheduled for another day to get my real, live crown.

And in the end, I left the dentist knowing two things for sure:

1) I need to get back on top of the whole memorizing-Scripture thing; and

2) Maybe 83 days wasn't quite long enough.

Working toward the final crown,