My dentist handed me a small, transparent packet with fragments of my wisdom tooth and blood. There you are, you nasty thing. The cause of my pain for the past two years. I stared at the repulsive sight and wondered if this was intended as a sacred memento; a congratulatory crowning of the beginning of my post-wisdom tooth years. Or perhaps as a point to ponder. How loss makes you feel better.
The nurse handed me a palm-sized mirror. Open your mouth and look. The sight first shocked me. There’s an uncomfortably wide space where my wisdom tooth used to be. An excavation site. A gaping, black hole of nothingness. Blood and saliva. My lips, numb; I was lucky to taste the unfeeling of pain. The procedure had sounded cataclysmic – an entire construction site going on in my mouth. Boring drills and cracking jagged, impacted white. I couldn’t smile even if I tried. The bleeding was unapologetic. My pain manifests in my swelling cheeks. It isn’t too bad. In fact, I felt even more pain before I actually had it removed. I was prescribed painkillers and antibiotics to help ease the hurt.
Funny how a wisdom tooth is called a wisdom tooth because here’s a wise lesson learned from having it removed. Letting go is painful – but trusting that what comes after will be painless and better for you, makes the temporary pain worthwhile.
Like how His words and these prayers are my painkillers. With His mercy, my pain is numbed. The removal of this burden I’ve housed in me for so long is the solution to the pain I have allowed to hurt myself. I no longer have to deal with being stuck in crevasses, weighed down by the sporadic stabs of hurt I suffered without a soul noticing. The necessary pain will persist for a number of days but what comes after the healing is the unshackling; the taste of air once more.