He Had No Teeth 2

He Had No Teeth!
Cavities, cavities everywhere,  and not a drop of dental care!  

As a kid, there was no such thing as regular dental care for me.  As it was, there was little that was “regular” about my life.  Even “regular” meals remained as irregular as doctor appointments or dental visits! I’m pretty sure nutrition (or sad the lack of it) played a big role in my poor dental health.

Dull aching always plagued me. Fitful sleep, earaches, sinus pain and throbbing teeth, left me in tears at night.  I couldn’t tell anyone because if my father found out, the rants would begin!  I thought it was normal.  I remember trying to fall asleep – all night long.  From sheer exhaustion, I’d finally get there only to be awakened for school a couple of hours later.
School?  That was another issue. I loved school but got in trouble for falling asleep from time to time.  There was no one to tell and no one who would listen and understand, so I bore a lot of unnecessary discipline for that . . . and for absences.
My thoughts trailed.  ~ ~ ~ ~
This afternoon had been spent at the dentist.  Even though I know exactly what is going on, those long appointments and hours of being numb bother my neck and grate on my nerves.
Just before we finished up, the dental assistant made fun of the insistent growling coming from my stomach!  With these types of dental appointments, there is little time for bathroom breaks, so I fasted breakfast and lunch.  Now I was in search of something soft to eat before I had to return for the dental assisting class.  
Vegetarian beans-and-rice did the trick, and all for just $1.99.  I loaded it with a couple of types of fresh salsa and called it a meal! 
While I had to cock my head to the side in order to chew the food and not my cheek, I noticed a fellow come in and order the same thing.   He seemed to fumble around to find enough money.  Thin, scraggly hair and a scruffy beard outlined his face.  My gaze kept being drawn to him.  He didn’t seem especially dirty or needy from what I could tell across the room.  I should be familiar with this routine by now.  That’s how The Holy Spirit always starts with me.  He points them out and we go from there.  Instead, I pretty much dismissed it.
Time raced and I needed to bust a move in order to get back to the dental office before the students arrived!  As I walked to my car, a dull throbbing sent me back into time once again.  I was the little kid with … toothaches.  One whole side of my mouth ached, and my tissues were on fire!  Some of the hot salsa from lunch had remained, and I was no longer numb.  Ouch!
Lost in thought, I bemoaned the fact that no one cared for my teeth when I was a child and kept thinking about how much time, expense and upkeep it takes for me to stay out of pain and be able to chew properly as an adult.  

Then the Holy Spirit dropped something into my heart that I always share with others.  “Thank God for tools.” 

So I did.   Without these crowns and bridges, I might be toothless! The thought made me chuckle.

Just then I saw the fellow from inside the restaurant. There he sat, in the middle of the street on the island, holding a sign asking for help.
Traffic forced me to pass him and stop several feet ahead.  My previous assessment of him was that he didn’t look “too bad off.” 

His clothes didn’t appear too worn; neither did his shoes. I wasn’t making any real effort until the Holy Spirit prodded me,

                                    “There is $5 in the glove compartment.”
I looked at him again thinking he was probably a schemer. Pushing away negative thoughts, I retrieved the money anyway.  When I hailed the fellow’s attention, he ambled over.
Humbly, he thanked me. An up-close look revealed his surprisingly frail condition.  He was dirty and his clothes were thread bare.  His shoes, which appeared clean, had little in the way of soles.  Then he smiled.   Oh dear!  There it was,  another of LIFE’S lessons for me. 
No teeth!  He had NO teeth!  
I wanted to kick myself for not following my spirit and praying like I usually do in those situations.  He definitely had a need.   Here I was feeling sorry for myself because of all MY discomfort and dental work.  At least I had teeth, or parts thereof, on which to fashion a crown or bridge.   

He had nothing. Just a gummy smile and bad breath.  

When he said,  “God bless you so much. I really appreciate this”, I knew he meant it and that he wasn’t sitting around preying on the public.  
The light changed.   There was no where to pull over,  and the cars behind me made it clear they wanted me to move…..NOW!  
If only I had listened sooner, he might have been blessed with a few more benefits than the piddly amount of money I handed to him.  A shirt and a pair of tennis shoes from the storage container in my car would have been a nice replacement for what he was wearing.   
How I HATE missing cues!    As I drove away, I prayed,
                                       “Lord, send someone else to help him. 
                                         Let ME be QUICK to HEAR Your voice
                                        (which is discerning properly), 
                                         and … let me be slow to speak 
                                        (that is, coming up with my own take on things).
                                        Help me to put some more “teeth” to my 
                                        obedience!     Amen. 


This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

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LANGUAGE OF TEARS

     Just a little something written on the fly – –
– – for a woman I prayed for the other day.
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LANGUAGE OF TEARS 

    Slosh! Slosh!  Wash Wash. . . 

Free and clear you will stay.

Anxiety is now being cleansed away.

Tears will come, but tears, it’s true.

Are a language that God gave to you.

They speak what the heart cannot say.

No words will work, when you feel this way.

This private place, is yours to go

Whenever you need The Fountain’s Flow!

Angst and doom all will cease

Jesus Christ brings sweet relief.

 

This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

Prayer for a Lonely Guy

Gathering Vultures



Cruising along a stretch of highway, bordered by fields and hills on one side, and lush orchards on the other, we fairly sailed to our destination.
 
The afternoon sun frolicked with the shadows and I knew it was almost time. At this perfect moment of the day, the whole expanse of the valley could be seen with great clarity.  For miles and miles, awash with golden brilliance, the breath-taking beauty of our Central Valley, California was ripe for pictures.
 
Getting to a certain Vista point on I-5 at just the right time of the afternoon generally takes some planning, but this happened to be a serendipitous, spur-of-the-moment trip. 
 
We were nearly there and the light was perfect!  Excitement stirred as my fingers fiddled with the camera’s lens cap. 
 
As we exited the freeway for the short drive up a hill, I rolled down my window to take in as much as I could.   
 
All my senses hushed momentarily!  In the grasp of this amazing piece of God’s creation, even my breathing became quiet and shallow.    Wow!  Just Wow!  (with out words)

Apparently a few other people had a similar idea.  As we passed a car parked half-way up the incline, I noticed a pair Savvy Seniors pacing back and forth. They looked as if they had just disembarked from a cruise!  We  drove ahead, but it struck me, somehow, that they appeared concerned about something. 
 
I mentioned it to my husband and made a mental note.    Randy parked and I scrambled to get my camera and gear.
 
The view was sensational!  Vibrant colors, orchards, fields, and the glistening water from the aqueducts were made even more glorious by the spectacular light-show from the late afternoon sun! The wind scurried about playing with the tops of the trees below.  
 
These would be some great shots indeed!  Focus, click!  Focus, click!   Focus. . . 
 
It wasn’t a noise.  It wasn’t a voice, but something seemed to tap me from the inside.  A sudden agitation overtook me and I felt uneasy.
 
I had been shooting with the long-range lens on my camera, and almost without thinking, I whipped it around to focus on the place downhill where the older couple had been parked.   They were inside their car with the doors closed.
 
Some questionable-looking vehicles with a few unseemly sorts had pulled over in the same area.  One beat-up SUV was parked uphill from the couple’s car while the other rattletrap positioned itself a ways downhill.
 
I focused on their faces.  Like vultures gathering, their attention seemed trained on the older couple.
 
They didn’t see us.  I snapped pictures of their faces and then some shots of their cars.
 
Hailing my husband, I made him aware of the situation.  He scampered to the truck, swung it around and positioned it to go down the hill against traffic.
 
Hopping in, I popped on the radio, found a rock station and turned the volume up until the whole truck thumped.  Randy began honking the horn and flashing the lights!
 
We had driven “Clyde”, our big diesel truck –  a lifted F250.  The light was fading.  With the shadows of the hill on the front end and the light of the day’s-end coming from behind, Clyde’s presence was more imposing than ever.
 
“Hey Mom!   Hey Dad!  Come’ere …you gotta see this! “  I called.   “MOM!   MOM!”
 
Unexpected honking, thumping beats, and my yelling, added to the intrusion of flashing lights apparently threw those ne’er-do-wells into a confused panic!  They couldn’t figure out what was happening! 
 
Hastily hoisting their grimy behinds back into their beater-cars, they split as fast as they could!
 
As we pulled up, the frightened couple noticed my Dental Assisting signs on the sides of the truck.  The shaken woman immediately came up to us!


“I saw your sign”, she squealed, pointing.   “I used to be a Dental Assistant – ever since I was 18!  I felt comfortable when I saw your sign.
 
My instincts were good.  This sweet couple was driving home from San Diegowhere they had returned from a cruise!    Heading back to Stockton, they experienced car trouble, so pulled way off the road.
 
Doubly frustrating was that they had also lost phone service and had no way to call for help! There was nothing out here.  They could have been stranded out there for along time.
 
We knew we had been sent.  They used our phones to call for help.  They also notified their worried family.
 
They couldn’t believe that we had come along at such an opportune time. We stayed with them until the tow truck arrived to make sure any other vultures would be warded off. 
 
Of course we used this opportunity to share God’s love with them. A bit subdued, this precious couple seemed to need a reminder of WHO really had their back.
 
Although this couple presented as having need of nothing, they found themselves in a totally vulnerable position  – all alone and in need of being saved.
 
All I can say is that they got their sign that day – in more ways than one!


 This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”