Pause and Reflect 2008-06-23 16:26:00


Its amazing how much our bodies are connected. I recently awoke with a fever of 103.2 degrees which held on for two full days. I thought nothing of it because my daughters had previously had much higher temperatures. And I had no other symptoms. I didn't feel sick. Just a little weak. I was surprised at how concerned the other members of staff were about my situation. They told me that adults should not have a fever that high. They worry too much about me...it’s really sweet that they care. This was my attitude. So I went to the doctor. Again I was surprised at his concern. My doctor usually assures me everything is fine, not to worry. But this time I could see the concern in his face. He ran bloodwork...stat. Nothing.

With no answers readily available I told him about a tooth I had had trouble with six months before. My dentist had called it a "root canal gone bad". The nerve was gone so there was no pain, but the root around the post to the crown had rotted away leaving the crown loose. It eventually fell out. My dentist glued it back in but recommended that I have the whole thing extracted and an implant placed in my jawbone. With the obvious expense and likely pain, I waited.

Apparently, six months later, an infection had developed underneath. No pain still, because the nerve was gone, but below the surface all was not well. The infection grew until it spilled over into my bloodstream. This is what was causing my high fever. That same day I saw a documentary on the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut who was killed by a similar tooth infection. Thankfully with the modern antibiotics my doctor prescribed I was right as rain in now time. The hidden swelling went down and the old crown fell out again. Now it was obviously time to take care of this tooth.

Even as I write this I'm sitting in the dentist's chair waiting for the anesthesia to kick in so the doc can rip what's left out of my mouth and put an implant into my jawbone…

He’s done, I’m numb and he says this is one of the top five worst teeth he’s ever dug out, and I do mean dug. If you want the gory details, just ask me sometime.

We can learn a lesson from my tooth. We are all a part of the body of Christ. When one of us hurts we all hurt. But our bodies hurt for a reason. Pain lets us know something is wrong. Because I had no nerve left in this tooth, I didn’t know anything was wrong. So it got worse and worse, until my dentist declared it “Tooth of the Year” – the most difficult extraction he’s seen in some time. I’m not recommending a Seinfeldian “airing of grievances” with all your friends and family, but if you are hurting, needy, offended, confused, or depressed, you have to set aside your pride and let the rest of the body know. Like my tooth, there’s often no need to go into the gory details, but some sign that there is a need is essential to finding a solution. Also, we can learn that problems under the surface can fester. If there’s a situation, it needs to be addressed or it will just get worse and cause more trouble.

1 Corinthians 12:26, 27 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.