Response to Regret

What do you do with regret?

By virtue of our humanness, none of us gets through life without regrets, be they big, small, or somewhere in between. We will never make the best decision in every circumstance. But just like many things in life, I think that it’s ultimately less about the regret and more about what we do with that.

business care clean clinic

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I had an appointment to have a tooth pulled today and I am not good with any sort of dental event. Not cleaning, not x-rays, none of it. I’ve been trying to analyze why I have such issues with all of this. After all, plenty of people go to the dentist, have x-rays, cleanings, root canals, and the like. Not that people generally love it, but they’re okay with it. The oral surgeon asked about my fears today, too. What exactly am I afraid of?

Obviously pain is on that list. But this same oral surgeon removed all four of my wisdom teeth five years ago and I never had any pain. It went very well. So I don’t even know that pain is the biggest issue. But I do have an overly sensitive gag reflex. I can gag while brushing my teeth. Sometimes I can’t gargle. It’s a challenge for the hygienist to get x-rays. So being tilted back in a chair, mouth wide open for an extended period of time, while a tooth is broken up and removed (it’s a big old molar) was too much for my mental state. I had IV sedation for my wisdom teeth and have opted to go that route for my one molar. Part of me wanted to go ahead and just do it the conventional way with numbing, but I didn’t. So today was just a consultation with another appointment next week.

As I walked out of the office, all I could think was that I’m a big baby and I should’ve just gotten it done. Now I have to wait nearly a week and go through some of the stress again. If I’d have just done it today, it’d be done and over with right now and I could move on. They did have an appointment on Friday, but I have too many things going on this weekend and I didn’t want any of them to be hindered by it.

So I cried and I felt stupid and immature and overly emotional.

And I felt regret.

Not really a great response.

Yet I’m not sure that I could make myself feel any differently or respond any differently. The reality is that my feelings and certain responses aren’t within my control. And isn’t that often what it’s all about? Feeling out of control is awful. It’s weak. It’s frustrating. But I couldn’t muster up the wherewithal to override that stupid gag reflex and my fear about it.

So I was emotional. So I cried. So I postponed this process by six days. Now what?

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

There it is: God’s grace is sufficient – it is enough. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I cannot always be strong. I cannot always be in control. I want to be. But I can’t. And I need to be okay with that. I am supposed to need Jesus. It’s not about my self-sufficiency. It never is.

The second lesson in this is that if I am never weak, never feel like a failure, never have regrets, then I will be utterly unable to relate to others. Nor will they relate to me. Given that relationships are one of the most important things in life, this matters. How will I have compassion and understanding for anyone else if I’ve not felt these difficult emotions? I’m likely to become prideful and think that people should just suck it up and put their feelings aside and do what needs to be done. After all, that’s what I tried to tell myself today.

person s holds brown gift box

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Instead of looking at today’s decision with regret, I think that this is a gift. Maybe not the gift I wanted, but a gift that God chose to give me. If it helps me in my relationships and it was God-delivered, then I will choose to be okay with that.

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Rant Turned to Gratitude

My husband has a tooth that is broken and needs to be addressed. He’s been using some temporary filling stuff and that’s worked. Until it didn’t. It started hurting a bit on Friday (always!) and wasn’t much fun through the weekend. By Monday, it was getting bad. He called our dentist, but they are scheduled three weeks out. So he toughed out another day, taking far too much Advil and Tylenol, eating very little, and sleeping horribly. Then this morning he called to get a referral to someone else.

I rescheduled my massage took him to the oral surgeon this afternoon to get this taken care of. It just kills me when he’s hurting. Following his appointment, he was in a LOT of pain because the dental chair wasn’t comfortable for his neck, so that morphed into a bad headache. I don’t even know how his mouth is because his head hurt so much. I got him home and settled, then went to get his prescriptions filled. No, they weren’t electronically submitted, because the powers that be won’t allow one of them to be filled that way any longer. Okay, fine. Obviously this will delay things a bit more. I couldn’t stop on the way home because he hurt too much and needed to lay down.

It would take 30-40 minutes to fill them, the pharmacist said. Did I want to wait? Yes. He really needs some pain relief. I wandered around the store for a bit, picked up a couple things, put one back, and went to sit in the waiting area. Naturally, I pulled out my phone, figuring I could catch up a little on email, Instagram, or Facebook. Or something. Well, wouldn’t you know, the pharmacy area has no cell signal. Which I understand. But the waiting area? Come on, people, move things around and at least let your customers have service in the only area of the store they actually have to hang out for awhile. Ugh.

So I walked to the front of the store, leaned on a display out of the way, and scrolled through Facebook. But apparently I looked like I might need help, as the girl working in the Photography Department asked if I needed anything. Nope. Just waiting. About that time, they paged hubby’s name. Yep, 30 minutes later.

I got his prescriptions (all 4 of them), paid for everything, and headed home. As I was riding home, feeling a little annoyed about the extra time while my husband was in pain, it occurred to me that even in this, we are incredibly blessed.

We live in a place where he could get helped today. I was able to take him to his appointment (I don’t think he could’ve gotten himself there with the pain he had). We have dental insurance which will cover the majority of today’s bill. He could get prescriptions today. He has a home to come to and a bedroom with a bed in which to rest. He also has a number of people praying for him. Without posting it on FB. And his pain will be gone before long. It won’t be chronic.

It’s that perspective thing. I run into it often. Or more likely the Holy Spirit is reminding me that things aren’t as bad as they could be, even when they’re difficult. And so I am grateful and praying as he’s resting in the next room.

p.s. – thank you, no REALLY, THANK YOU to the oral surgeon’s office music for leaving me with Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. {insert eye roll}

Reminder Pain

My neck and shoulder have been kind of jacked up the past week or so. Long story, but the bottom line is that I hurt. Quite a lot. Sadly, even my chiropractor visit yesterday doesn’t seem to be helping and usually I feel fabulous when I leave her place.

But this morning, I was thinking about people who live with chronic pain. I tried to imagine how hard it must be to have this never-ending sensation. The difficulty of trying to do many basic things. The frustration of not being able to do certain things. Any of the times I’ve had problems with something – even if it lasted for weeks – there’s eventually been relief. But I know people who never get that.

My mom was rear-ended in her Jeep a couple of years ago and it has caused her some long-lasting pain in her neck and head. Sometimes she’s doing better and other times, not so much. She’s tried a variety of treatments. Today she is going for some acupuncture, as she’s hurting quite a bit.

Another friend posted on Facebook, asking for prayer as she was getting an injection for her neck problems. There are countless others I know with issues, too.

morning fog

It occurred to me that maybe I have this pain right now so that I can be mindful of praying for my mom and my friend, as well as others. Maybe God has allowed it as a reminder, knowing my forgetfulness.

So when the pain gets my attention, instead of whining and complaining, I’ll pray. For my mom, my friends, and for me. And I’ll continue to do all the things I know to alleviate my own pain.