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Click the heart to sponsor my service work at Valiant Hearts throughout the month of October. In their weekly support group, I will offer practical steps to overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about this organization, visit www.valianthearts.org
Yesterday, life presented me with unforeseen challenges. I mentioned I had an early dental appointment. What I didn't mention was that going to the dentist is my least favorite thing to do. Which is my grown-up way of saying, "I hate going to the dentist."
I need to leave in five minutes or I'll be late. It's cold and rainy. Never mind that just a few days ago it was 85 degrees outside. I thought Texas got the "it's spring" memo. I look out the window and see that my precious husband forgot to return my fabric-covered Old Hickory bench to our covered patio. (He had previously propped it up against the side of our house to climb on the roof after locking himself out. The upstairs media room window was unlocked.)
Gentle readers, before I tell you about my dental experience, I must first confess that I totally blew my "Christian witness" by losing my temper before I left the house. (Thank God my husband is a Christian.) I am in possession of a gently used $1,200.00 Old Hickory bench, purchased for the bargain price of $20.00. (A hotel was renovating and going for a different look.) So, I got a considerable "bargain high" from the purchase of that bench. I look out the window and there it is--soaking wet in the rain and in the mud. I'm Cherokee Indian, my home is best described as: Pocahontas shops Anthropologie and Pottery Barn, then builds lodge in Colorado. (If I ever figure out how to upload a picture of this, I will.)
Back to my story: My nerves are shot over my pending date with the dentist . . . a very handsome dentist, I might add. (Don't read more into this than just the fact that he is extremely attractive. I'm a happily married woman to a man whom I consider to be my better half.) HOWEVER, I think there should be a law against a handsome man shining a bright light onto your face and up your nose, revealing every facial defect a 40+ woman can have. I actually shined a flash light up my nose that morning, just to make sure there were no "bears in the cave." (My husband finds me hilarious.)
No really, back to my story:
I'm relaxed. Really. Though I've just presented a colorful expression to my better half about how agitated and disappointed I am that he left my Old Hickory bench in the rain and mud. (Which is my grown-up way of confessing that I later asked God to forgive me for my unsavory word choices.) Yes, people, I used swear words. A woman in ministry--who loves Jesus with all her heart . . . lost her temper and swore.
In spite of the morning's rough start, I arriv on time. By then, I feel relaxed. I'm in the chair; bright light on face, tooth is numb . . . all is well. Drilling begins and I feel it. I motion with my hand and he stops.
"Is everything okay, Wendy?"
"I feel it. Pain."
He pokes and prods a little more and concludes that my tooth is not completely asleep. The solution: another injection of Novocaine--resume drilling.
Houston, we have a problem. Part of my throat is numb. I can't feel air going down my throat and I can't feel myself swallow. Which communicates to my body that I am being smothered.
He stops and lets me sit up for a minute. "Do you battle anxiety attacks?"
"No. I just feel cold. My teeth are starting to chatter."
"Would you like a blanket?"
Then it hits. My entire body is shaking. I don't feel nervous. My chest isn't pounding. It doesn't feel like an anxiety attack. It feels like a rush of adrenaline throughout my body.
This is crazy. I pray and I pray and I pray. It lasts about fifteen minutes and then I feel peaceful.
My dentist and his assistant are wonderful. They're kind and very patient. He resumes the work that needs to be done and I feel relaxed the remainder of the time.
I get home and take a warm bath. As I dry off, I'm overwhelmed with emotion. I cry. I think about what happened; wonder why it happened. And then for the first time in my life, I remember: I didn't always dissociate in order to comply with the sexual abuse I endured as a child. As I got older, I resisted. When my throat became numb due to the Novocaine, my body remembered feeling smothered.
Poor little body. Poor young girl. Once I make the connection, I pamper myself. I climb into bed. I read. I nap. I pray. When my husband comes home, I tell him what happened. I simply ask him to hold me, and he does. No long conversations. Just me in comfy pajamas, in my husband's arms, with my two dogs spooned up beside us. I sleep.
Today is my youngest son's 12th birthday! We're going out to dinner when I get off of work as a clinical massage therapist. Today I will work on two survivors of breast cancer; in pain from the medication they must take. It's an honor. It's an honor to receive help when I need it, and it's an honor to give to others in need.
What happened to me yesterday, hurt. But it didn't steal my identify in Christ and it didn't minimize or negate the healing I have previously received. I know who I am. I don't handle everything perfectly. But I keep the lines of communication open to God. And honestly, it's been years since I've had to face a memory like yesterday's. But if what I experienced, painful as it was, expands my freedom and makes me more effective in helping you, then I thank God for the trials I face. Bless you. You are not alone.
Sorrows is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better. (Ecclesiastes 7:3)
Today, there is much to celebrate!
Published on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 @ 12:59 PM CDT