Friday, June 17, 2011

Good as New

"Oh, dear! She's bleeding!"

The other mom pointed toward the dugout where Ardyn had been serving as honorary bat "boy". I looked, but I couldn't see her bright pink shirt until she rounded the corner of the dugout. Our frightened eyes locked as we approached one another.

In those first few seconds of panic, I had subconsciously handed off my toddler, grabbed the pouch of baby wipes, and sped through the possible onset and responses to worse case scenarios...just in case.

As I moved her bloody hands away from her face, I was instinctively repeating the unknown: "You're going to be fine. You're going to be fine." I blotted her swollen mouth and inspected the injury. I watched in sober sadness as Ardyn spat bits of teeth into the nearby bushes. My good friend was by my side, offering water and napkins, and chanting her own set of soothing words for both Ardyn and me.

"It doesn't look that bad," she comforted. Ardyn sniffed and snorted and looked up at the other mom. In a moment of comic relief, she blurted out, "Yes it DOES look that bad! I can see myself in your sunglasses!!".

An accurate assessment of her mouth would describe her upper lip as a tiny raw meatball, with a 30% notch missing from both front teeth. She had been hit by a bat and it did not look good. (Brings new meaning to "Memorial Day" tournament.)

The compassionate mom slid her shades up into her hair, and looked Ardyn directly in the eyes. "This can be fixed. Do you hear me? This CAN be fixed."


Tuesday those hopeful words were confirmed by our dentist.

Ardyn lay in the chair, attempting to maintain her normal level of conversation despite her lips being dammed with logs of cotton and her mouth being filled with a steady stream of instruments and tools.

I had heard of my high school friend having her front gap "filled". I suppose it was a cheaper alternative to braces since the space between her two front teeth was an isolated issue.

My limited exposure to dental bonding cause me to make some silly assumptions. I guess I figured the doctor would rebuild the two front teeth and in the process fill the gap that separated Ardyn's teeth before the accident.

Not so. Like a sculptor, he built up and filed away in repeated succession, until the material was solidified to look and function like real teeth. When he was finished, he handed Ardyn a mirror.

"Oh yay, you left my gap!", she grinned.

Surprised by the shattering of my assumption, I sat straight up, and snapped, "You DID? (I thought my $130 "filling" might negate further orthodontia expenditures.)

The dentist gently offered, "I can fill it in if you want, but I thought you'd want her to look the way she did originally."

I glanced over at my daughter - still casting satisfied, toothy grins into her hand mirror. "See Mom, I look like ME again!"

"You did a great job. You did the right thing," I calmly assured him.

We gathered our things, I put my arm around my beautifully confident daughter, and we went to our car.


As I drove through town, I thought about all the parts of my life with which I'm unhappy. More than the physical attributes, my focus was on facets of my personality that constantly bother me.

I am opinionated and passionate. I see the world in black and white with the occasional waiver for charcoal gray. I have little patience for earthly perspectives and self-centered drama.

As a result, at times I am quick to speak, slow to listen, prone to give up in frustration.

So I pray. "Please fix me. Please repair these broken places."

And He works. He builds up. He scrapes off. He coats. He files.

He restores.

And when I look in His face to see my improved reflection...

I'm STILL opinionated and passionate. I continue to view the world in stark contrasts. I still value Kingdom perspectives and appreciate selfless service.

[Why couldn't he just fill in the gap, file it down, and call me sweet and passive?]

That's not how he made me. He has promised to make me beautiful in His time. He has made me a "new creation", but might He remain committed to the original blueprint of my personality?

Can he continually redeem me with patience, gentleness, and brotherly love while empowering me to live out His truths courageously?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes say my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." - Psalm 139