After losing my front tooth and knowing I was going to have to wear one of these “flippers” with a fake tooth on it for a few months, I had really been feeling sorry for myself. When folks asked how I was doing, I would use the analogy of walking around with big piece of gravel in my shoe that I couldn’t get out for 6 months. Referencing the feeling of the fake tooth and getting used to the annoyances associated with it.
When we feel too sorry for ourselves, I am of the opinion that we are often put in situations where we are actually put in “our place.” You know what I mean, kind of like someone thumping you on the head from above.
Yes, I look a bit ridiculous when I take the front tooth out to eat and it is a little embarrassing, but I still have the rest of my teeth, or most of them anyway.
Looking at the church bulletin this past Sunday as I came into church, I saw that we were going to have a guest sermon giver for the day. You never know what to expect when you have a substitute sermonizer. You could get one of those sermons that Barney Fife or someone on “The Andy Griffith Show” used to describe as being “dry as dust.”
As a matter of fact, I remember an Andy Griffith Show episode called “The Guest Preacher,” where Gomer Pyle fell asleep during the sermon and started snoring. Barney also kept dosing off and getting elbowed in the ribs by Andy.
My “Guest Preacher” was much better than Andy, Barney and Gomer’s and no one fell asleep.
This fellow was a Marine, who served in Vietnam, where he suffered the loss of his left eye, his left arm and has gone through over 40 operations to retain usage of the remainder of his body. Seeing a person like this, a hero on top of it… made me almost swallow my little fake tooth there in the church.
I went from worrying about not being able to bite into an apple or corn on the cob for a few months, to being thankful I could dress myself, feed myself and even see myself.
Seeing someone who really has reason to complain and doesn’t put me in my place. I enjoyed his sermon/story of his life and was amazed at his outlook and accomplishments, which he takes no credit for. His name is Clebe McClary - if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, you won’t be disappointed.
With my new outlook, I went into the week with more zeal and ready to ready to hoe my little crop of corn. Knowing that I would have to cut it off the cob to eat it no longer bothered me. However, hoeing corn is lot harder than it sounds – even when you have a small crop of corn.
My problem was that my corn has gotten so big that I couldn’t get in and around it to hoe it well enough. I got down on my hands and knees and starting pulling out undesirable weeds. That didn’t last very long. I decided to put my money on the corn, in other words hoping it would outgrow and possibly shade out the weeds.
Later in the day, I was scheduled to go back to the surgeon who is working on my front tooth. I sat in the waiting room with a couple of older fellows – both had trouble walking, one had a cane and the other a bad limp.
When I got to my room and the doctor came in, he asked me how I was doing. I explained to him that I doing great and how I had been shown how much worse things could actually be. He agreed with me and noted that folks often lose that perspective.
So if you need a toothless fellow to come give a sermon about “Perspective,” look me up. I have at least one good story/sermon for every tooth I have left.
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