A few years ago I took Wesley to the dentist. The dentist was a neighbor, a friend, a fine man and a real pro. Wes was about five at the time and he looked exactly like I did at the same age. (You can see a picture of this on our family web-page. www.kenpierpont.com)
Here’s an idea for entertainment when you get tired of the muzak in the dentist office or when you weary of paging through the old magazines. Take note of the euphemisms a dentist uses for the unspeakable horrors he is about to perpetrate on the innocent children who are lured into his chambers.
A dentist never says, “I’m going to strap you down now, crush your tooth and rip it out by the roots.” What he says sounds something like this. “Hi, there, little buddy. Hop up here in the chair and we are going to tug on that tooth a little and help it out of there.” He says it all happy like he is planning a trip to Disneyland.
The dentist gave Wes a series of instructions that I was quite sure he would not be able to remember. “Here is what we are going to do. We are going to give you something to keep it from hurting too bad. You will feel a little pinch at first then maybe some pressure. You shouldn’t feel pain though, just a little pressure. If you do feel pain you won’t be able to say anything because we will have some things in your mouth, so if you do feel pain you don’t have to say anything, just raise your hand. Do you understand?” The dentist took his right hand and raised it up. “Like this, OK?”
Wes looked up at the dentist with big trusting eyes and nodded. Then we plunged into conversation while he and his assistants worked on Wes. He worked and we talked for ten or fifteen minutes and Wes lay patiently in the chair. I admired the dentist for his ability to carry on a lively conversation while at the same time doing such complicated and important work. Well into our lively conversation I noticed movement. Little Wes lying perfectly still on the table was lifting his little and in the air. I had forgotten the dentist’s instruction about what to do if he felt pain, but Wes remembered. His hand was up and my heart went out to him. The dentist noticed it, but I reminded him to make sure. “Uh, Doc. Look his hand is up. He raised his hand. He is feeling pain. It hurts,” I said.
“I see that. We’ve got it,” he calmly assured me. A picture of my little blonde Wes lying still on that table with his little hand in the air is forever fixed in my mind. I know I can’t always shelter Wes from pain in this life, but when I can I want to be there when his little hand goes up to do what I can.
Our Heavenly Father never promised us a life without pain, or cavities for that matter, but He has faithfully instructed us about what to do when life hurts. When life hurts the Father notices and cares. Don’t ever doubt it, just lift your hand and the heart of the Father will leap up and He will see your pain and come to your aid.