D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

1.

today I sat in a chair in an endodontic office, the kind of office with the kind of words you don’t know what they mean until you suddenly, desperately need it. the nerve in my tooth is dying in a very vocal way. two weeks ago I tried to be a good steward of the teeth the good lord gave me and got some cavities filled, but my tooth didn’t like it. for two weeks now i have woken up in the night with the pain so severe i prayed as I took two more ibuprofen. please God let me wake up and it has healed itself.

sitting in a chair I look out the window, and there is a light snow falling in March, which means it is no longer magical to me. white plastic bags from the grocery store are caught high in the branches of a tall and barren tree, if i squint they are just as pretty as the snow as they flutter and flap in the wind. my legs are shaky when i try and stand up after the procedure, which makes me flush with embarrassment. but i am not fully in control of how things like pain and no insurance and torn plastic bags make me feel, with each passing year it all seems to add up.

what i am trying to pay attention to right now is the surprising. it will also add up, in time, these glimpses of a wild and mysterious God. a suffering God, a joyful God. a God who does not always heal us in the ways we want, but who promises to sit next to us, quietly, as we contemplate the gift of feeling the sharp stab of pain, for being alive for one more tattered day.

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