I realize that it's been over a month since my last blog, and that they've been pretty few and far between lately, but I'm realizing how much it helps me to think through things when I write in here and deciding to make my posts more frequent. I'm not sure how frequent they will be, but at least for the next week they will show up very often since I'm on spring break and I have lots of time to think.
I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday, and I look like a complete chipmunk. My face hit a new degree of swollenness a few hours ago, and nothing has changed since then.
This is actually before it got bad. :(
As I sit in my comfy bed and ice my cheeks, I think about what a wimp I am. I'm not in that much pain, and I'm trying to avoid painkillers, but about an hour ago it got to be too much for me and I succumbed to the temptation of (yet another) ibuprofen. I got my teeth out yesterday morning, and apart from one trip to my friend's house and one walk around the block, I have done nothing much but sit on the couch and watch movies.
Thinking about my complete lack of toughness makes my heart go out to those around the world who endure much more pain than I do. I think about Christians tortured for their faith. I bet some of their mouths have swollen up more than mine is, and no mommy was there to comfort them and make them yummy soup. There are many people without good dental care who, rather than getting problem teeth romoved or fixed, live much of their lives in worse pain than I am in. Or even those who have dental care may be exposed to way more bacteria than I am or have to handle tooth extraction without sedatives. I was out before they even opened my mouth!
I don't think that God brings these things to my mind so that I feel guilty about the treatment I received; I think He makes me think about it so that I have compassion on those less fortunate than I am. Rather than moving me to shame for the cost of my "extraction (I hate this word)", it should move me to action! What am I doing to make this world a better place for the least of these? Based on my aversion to any kind of mouthwork, I don't feel strongly called to a dental ministry, but what kind of attitude do I have during my job teaching Spanish to little kids? How am I spending my free time? When given any choice, do I automatically choose what's "good for me?" Am I a slave to the world or a slave to God?
May God keep me in a state of discomfort (hopefully not mouth pain, but a more emotional discomfort) so that I don't forget that I have a mission in this world, and it is not to please myself.