Monday, October 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Month, Day 15: "Open Wide ..."

I was thinking about mouths the other day. Mouths are weird things - even the word mouth seems odd.

Then I started thinking about references to mouths. Of course, everyone knows of  something leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.

If you're down in the mouth, you're feeling pretty dejected.

No one really wants to spend much time with a mouthy person.

In Shakespeare's Richard III Queen Margaret remarks bitterly to herself:

So, now prosperity begins to mellow
And drop into the rotten mouth of death.  

The Bible has a few choice tidbits to say that involve the mouth too:

The mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me (Psalm 109:2)

A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth (Proverbs 6:12)

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness (Romans 3:13, 14)

It makes you want to avoid all that putridness at all costs, doesn't it?! And yet one of my oldest friends has made it his job to peer into people's mouths almost every day. Brian has taken on the challenge of facing each new mouth head on and doing everything he can to fix the problems, cause healing, promote wellness, bring about health. With the stunningly beautiful Viv, his dental hygienist wife, working alongside him, I can almost not mind being stretched out on the dental chair, mouth open, feeling at my most vulnerable as I know they will be able to see that I don't floss every day and that my teeth are horribly crooked and misaligned and that my fillings have to be replaced. I want desperately to swallow but sharp tools are in my mouth and I am dependent on them to get one of those vacuum tube thingies to suction out my mouth. Which they always do - they never leave me hanging.

Brian sees all the grossness of my mouth, the cavities and the unaligned teeth, the receding gums, the neglect - and yet he's still my friend. Every time I leave the dentist's office I wonder if he'll still be talking to me. And every time, he still does.

He makes me think of God, in a way. God sees all my grossness, my neglect, the decay that's set in, the crookedness - and yet He still talks to me. He's still my friend, even in moments when I have to confess that I haven't flossed as frequently as I could have, that I ate those candies which gave me a sugar rush for a couple of moments but later brought me crashing down, that I don't visit as often as I should.

God looks in my mouth and takes the x-ray that shows Him the trouble spots; then He fills the holes and scrapes off the plaque.  When He is finished and I can finally close my mouth and sit upright, He doesn't make me feel awkward and exposed, but rather makes me believe that He was happy to see me again. He never leaves me hanging.

The best kind of friend to have.

And it's Brian's birthday on the 15th of October, so I want to take the opportunity to wish him for the day and for all the days of the year to come. Thank you for looking beyond my faults and fillings and still being my friend. I am so grateful I met you when we were about seventeen.

And I'm paying attention to one last verse, Psalm 81:10b: Open your mouth wide and I shall fill it - see you on Tuesday!


  1. i love this!!! what a fun analogy.

    i think you should do a "31 of days of *something*" ever month...or just on the months with 31 one days. makes me feel like i'm chatting with you and that i'm home again...:)

  2. :) What a fun post and picture...I also sat in the dentist chair today. Not my idea of a fun afternoon and I worry if my breath is OK and I hope I brushed well enough and I hope they don't find any more expensive problems...


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