I hate the dentist’s office.
Notice I said I hate the office and not the dentist. My dentist seems very nice. I’m pretty sure she didn’t become a dentist so that she could torture me.
That’s just a guess.
All I know is the dentist’s office is the hardest place on earth for me to be like Jesus. Of course, that’s assuming we could know how he would act since I’m pretty sure he never had to endure a cleaning or a root canal.
For my part, I generally walk into the dentist’s office grumpy and it usually just gets worse from there.
The last time I went to the dentist’s office, the visit was especially frustrating. I got there 15 minutes early and they finally called me in 20 minutes late. I thought I had allotted enough time for some other things I needed to do that morning but the chances of me getting out of the dentist’s office in a timely manner were looking grim right from the start. (There’s always somewhere else I need to be when I’m at the dentist’s office.)
So I’m grumpy. I’m annoyed. And to top it off, when I’m finally brought in, it’s a dental assistant that I haven’t met. It’s always amazing to me how they can ask questions to try and get to know you when it’s impossible to answer:
“Where are you from?”
But it never stops them from asking more questions.
And then it happens. The dreaded question that’s going to make me feel guilty for the rest of the week:
“So, what do you do?”
So far I’ve been acting more like Grumpy McGrumperson than like Jesus. I’m still annoyed and I’m acting anti-social so I have two options:
- I could hide the fact that I’m a pastor. In her town. We’re probably neighbors.
- Or, I answer truthfully and hope to get a mulligan the next time I’m in for a cleaning.
I decide to go ahead and let it out. Maybe she will just think I’ve been abnormally shy this whole time.
I confess, “I’m a pastor.”
She says, “That’s an intriguing line of work. You look so young. I guess it’s a blessing and a curse to look so young.”
I say, “Mmmmppffh”
That’s not what I wanted to say. I wanted to say something along the lines of, “Well, I’m two years away from being able to run for president.” Or, more spiritually, “Well, I’m the same age as Jesus when he launched a movement that has been transforming lives for 2,000 years.”
Seriously, both those thoughts occurred to me but by the time I decided to go with the more spiritual one and finally got an opportunity to spit she was talking about how she vacations in Florida and I’ll probably see someone else when I come back in six months.
I can’t win. The dentist’s office is the kind of place where I have the most trouble being a witness. My behavior certainly doesn’t reflect the joy of the Lord and, even if it did, I never get a chance to share the Gospel between rinses.
Confession time: What’s the hardest place for you to be like Jesus? Got any tips on how to be a light in the darkness that is the dentist’s office? Is it Christian to want some nitrous oxide?