I must be honest with you. I am not overly fond of having people stick their fingers in my mouth, let alone the variety of instruments they tend to be holding. However, I understand how important dental care is to one’s overall health … and God is very clear when he says, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6.19) Thus I make it a point to have my teeth cleaned and checked regularly – which is why I was there this past Tuesday afternoon.
It was around 35 years ago when we heard of a dentist in our neighborhood who was great with kids. We started going to him, and through one office move and two home moves, we have continued with him ever since. We have all gotten older. I am sure that many different staff members have come and gone. It feels like we know much of the current staff quite well … and they us (especially the inside of our mouths).
Doc is a huge U of M fan (Red Wings, too). He is a season ticket holder at the Big House (and of the Wings). He has a special tailgate location just outside the main gate. We have stopped by it a few times over the years. This week, before I left his office he said, “Be sure to stop by when you are at a game this year.” I will be at the Notre Dame game … and intend to see him there.
The young gal who cleaned my teeth has two children. The youngest, a girl, is nearly 2 months older than our granddaughter. She was born premature … and they seem to have worked nicely through any issues. Her husband is working while also studying to become a nurse. Though they have moved to New Baltimore, she and her family continue to be a part of the St. Joan of Arc parish – they love its “family friendly” atmosphere. I am regularly praying for her and her extended family. I think God has something special in mind for them.
The staffer who hands Doc the instruments when he is creating or fixing holes in my head stopped by three or four times to say hello, even though no oral problems were being solved this day.
My late afternoon appointment cancelled that day, so I had a few extra minutes to chat with the receptionist on my way out (she’s really much more than just a receptionist). She is a little younger than me but has many health issues. She drives in from the west side … and her father lives up by Houghton Lake. I can usually get her to laugh as we talk. This time, however, in the midst of the laughter she said to me, “Mark, I want to tell you something on the more serious side. I have told my family that when I die, I want you to do my funeral. Will you do that for me?”
The following morning, in the FHL group I attend, we discussed 1 Peter 3.15: “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” I think Peter was talking about my day with my dentist. Every location that God places us – even the dentist’s chair – he is giving us the opportunity to share his light and hope (with gentleness and respect). Those opportunities may surprise us … and we might not always be prepared with profound words … but God has his way of using simple words – and our gentle and respectful presence – to bring blessings to those around us.
I’ll be going back in September to spend another day with my dentist – they found an old hole they need to fix again. I don’t really know what God has in mind, but I will be saying extra prayers for that staff over the next two weeks. And, at the same time, I am wondering where God is sending you this week to share the hope that is within you.