I recently had my semi-annual visit to the torture chamber…er, I mean, the dentist’s office and I am embarrassed to admit that I am practically phobic about dentists.
Still, these visits every six months are an ordeal I must force myself to undergo from fear of what horrific treatments I might need if I neglect this regular maintenance. (Can you say root canal?)
So, there I was last week, stretched out rigidly across the dental chair with the hygienist plunged hand and foot into my gaping maw, scraping away with her hooks and rippers, to eradicate every trace of evil plaque.
To distract myself from this torment, I began to picture my future existence in Heaven, where, although dentists may be admitted, they cannot take their tools with them, and I will enjoy eternity with perfect spiritual teeth needing zero maintenance.
This delightful vision sustained me right through flossing, polishing and blessed release.
As I walked away, new toothbrush in hand, I was struck by the contrast between the time, effort and money expended on maintaining a mere outer shell and the amount I’m giving to nurturing the immortal soul within.
I’m willing to face down my fears and endure pain to keep my pearly whites as long as possible, but what suffering am I willing to go through for my spiritual health?
It’s illogical to give more importance to the temporary than to the permanent…and yet daily we are reminded to have the whitest, brightest smile, to exercise, eat right and take pills to relieve every symptom of our perishing body’s inevitable expiration.
We hear little mention in the media of the soul we will carry into eternity. Advertisements do not proclaim, “For a whiter, sexier soul, pray after every meal” or ask, “Is your soul flabby and out of shape? Get the Bible-flex machine and see marked improvement with only four reps per day.”
Ideally, as my body progresses through its unavoidable decline, I will grow stronger spiritually, so on that day when this mortal shell fails completely, a soul in its prime will step strongly into the presence of God.