Floor-to-ceiling windows frame acres of light.
The walls showcase B&W close-ups of architectural details: poems in stone. The photographer with the impeccable eye will also perform my root canal.
Scared and fretful yesterday, I memorized part of an old prayer. It’s still with me now, as I leaf through a glossy magazine, where posh Londoners show off their new home. One bathroom features a pschedelic paisley-on-steroids toilet. As you’ll know from previous posts, I’m acutely attuned to plumbing. I show Dreamer, then the receptionist, and we all laugh.
I turn the page. “Oh look. They also installed a personal pole dance room.”
Comic relief helps. A friend died under general anesthesia, a freak allergic reaction. I try to imagine her larking about heaven.
When the Anesthetist arrives, he’s witty, direct, and unhurried. A man I can trust. I tell him about my friend.
“I’ll watch over you,” he says.
Down comes the mask:
- soupy air
- aroma of magic markers
“Hold my hand,” he says. “Squeeze as hard as you want.”
I summon the prayer, but it fragments: From this little room and this short hour . . .
“You’re doing great, Laurie.”
. . . I can lift up my mind beyond all time and space . . .
“You haven’t squeezed once.”
. . . unto Thee, the uncreated One . . .
The mind shrugs. A bodily sigh. All is serene, surreal. Hypnotic. I’m a kite, riding a chemical thermal.
. . . until the light of Thy countenance illumines all my life.
Beneath the crown and dentin my diseased molar holds four canals, each one different. For over two hours Dr. T. wields drill and file. He rasps and reshapes, routing out wider routes, clear to the roots.
Then the bleaching. The final sealing. Like every painstaking work of God: artful, thorough, radically cleansing.
Another severe mercy.
I awake in a different room, brimming with light, still feeling held; tooth saved, the deep work done.
From this little room
and this short hour
I can lift up my mind
beyond all time and space
to Thee, the uncreated One,
until the light of Thy countenance
illumines all my life.
Tell me your favorite thought or prayer for difficult times.
Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash