Sunday, December 20, 2009

grey things

it hung there, dangling by mere thread.  well, not exactly a thread, maybe a root.  i don't know for  sure, i am not a dentist, i am a mother.  i am the mother of a six year old who has a tooth so loose it literally flaps in the breeze of his voice.  it is so loose it is now (officially) grey. it is so loose that the picker/fiddler/tweeker in me feels somewhat shaky in its presence.  
for weeks now, i have been determined to extract this unsightly item from his mouth.  i have staged a pillow fight (seriously, that worked with our oldest years ago).  i have attempted to bribe him with outlandish and extravagant gifts.  i have even snuck into his room late at night with furtive plans to remove it while he innocently slept unaware.  nothing has worked.  all efforts have been in vain.  all attempts completely thrawted.  so, we head into this week of christmas festivities with an unsightly, grey, flapping tooth.
thankfully, the christmas card photo was taken prior to the loosening and greying of this front bicuspid.   
my son and his tooth hold on for dear life.  this tooth is not only disturbing to look at -especially for his sisters at the dinner table- but is causing other issues as well.  eating has taken on a whole new level of complexity.  there have been several meals where connor has requested to eat off the special item menu -mind you, we don't have a special item menu in my kitchen.  it is a distraction to all of us. countless times this week i have found connor perched on the sink in front of the mirror intently studying it from every angle.  in his little boy way, he finds it downright fascinating. clearly a badge of honor. he proudly shares daily updates on the gymnastic abilities of this prized possession. recently, while in conversation with connor, i caught my own self feeling slightly mesmerized by its pendulum-like swing.
makes me wonder what kind of grey, flapping teeth are attached to my own life.  what is that thing that hangs on by one tenacious root?  what is that thing which distracts me, detours me, even hypnotizes me?  what is that thing desperately in need of extraction, but which i won't release?  you know what i am talking about.  we all have them.  they are the unattractive and unecessary items to which we continue to cling, believing them to have some kind of value.  we study them.  we work around them.  we baby them. we hold tightly to them, because we are simply afraid that it could hurt too much to let go.  i have grey teeth in my life that i didn't even realize were present.   
walking through this adoption has uncovered more grey teeth than i care to admit. i know that God is patiently waiting for me, ready to remove them.  i know that if i let go, it might hurt for a minute, but there would surely come great relief. i know this, but i continue to hold  a protective hand over my mouth and say, "not yet."  when i asked connor why he wouldn't let me just yank that tooth out of his mouth, his answer was simply, "i don't trust you."  (something to do with an unfortunate nail trimming incident a few weeks earlier).  this boy is nothing if not honest.  perhaps it would help if i chose a verb other than "yank", but the bottom line, he knows there will be a moment of hurt.  a moment of pain.  he is willing to give up fresh, crunchy apples and sweet, corn on the cobb, in order to prevent that moment.  he is willing to suffer inconvenience while eating and endure ridicule from siblings, with the hope of postponing that moment.  what good things am i giving up while holding on to the grey things? it makes me wonder.

in psalm 30, david writes that God, " removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy."  He removed. He didn't just cover up or gloss over or sweep under.  He removed. the old had to come off (or out) for the new to come on (in).  it is that simple, but it isn't always easy.  sackcloth. ashes. grey teeth.  somedays we just need to be reminded that God has joyful and strong and healthy gifts waiting to replace the grey items in our lives. 

now, off to find that pair of pliers...

...note:  i wrote this piece yesterday.  guess what connor proudly placed in my hand this afternoon?

1 comment:

Shea Gilbert said...

wow. that IS a nasty looking tooth. Thanks for the post jody. I love your writing!