Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thankful, Thankful, Thankful Thursday

Eight days of silence provide a lot of time to ponder the many things I am grateful for. Plus that's a lot of time to take a lot of photos on 250 quiet acres of prime Pennsylvania real estate. I did a lot of both. (That's a lot of "a lot" - sorry!)

A woman on a mission in the minivan...
before the explosion - keep reading!

First and foremost, I am grateful that my eleven year old minivan wound its way north and south through five states - North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania - without so much as a rough start. No flat tires. No broken windshield wipers. No blown gaskets. Nothing but a smooth, cruise-controlled, air-conditioned, iPod entertained ride. Grand total: 1,112.8 miles from door to door.

Second, six hours and 17 minutes into my trip north (yes I know exactly when it happened!), I was merrily and happily eating a "Cherry Pie" Lara bar (ingredient list: dates, almonds, unsweetened cherries), when an explosion went off in my mouth. At least, that's what it felt like. I reached into my mouth and pulled out 25% of the porcelein cover of the only crown I have in my mouth - let me rephrase that, the only crown I had in my mouth. Clearly, something in that bar didn't make it onto the ingredient list.

I looked through my windshield, raised my eyes towards the heavens, and said, "Really, Lord? Is this how we are going to start this trip?"

Here's where the gratitude kicked in.

There was no pain. I expected to be blinded by pain. I figured that my week of silence and prayer had just been transformed into a week of fasting, silence, and prayer. But there was no pain whatsoever. Not for one moment in the car, not for one moment during the week I was away. The only time it bothered me was on the return trip yesterday afternoon; as I was making the steep descent from the mountains of Virginia into North Carolina, I felt pressure in that area. I was less than three hours from home, so I was willing to endure the pain for the remainder of the trip because of my next reason for gratitude.

We have both dental insurance and an excellent dentist. I called the dentist and made an appointment to get it fixed before I called my husband and told him what happened. Within five minutes of cracking the crown, I was on the calendar with Dr. Holt. Thanks be to God.

(A few brief asides here - Right after I assessed the damage to my mouth and realized that there wasn't any pain, I began to pray for people who don't have any dental insurance but have both dental problems and pain. Fortunately, as soon as I reached the bottom of the sharp decline yesterday, the pressure subsided, and there was no more pain. When the dental hygienist looked into my mouth this morning, she said, "Oh, wow! You cracked it alright." Not a good start. The dentist peered in and said, "Oooh." Then the two of them began the magical work of recreating dental harmony in my mouth.)

They are great at prayer, but not so good at editing.

Anyway, I arrived at the Jesuit Center without any other disturbances or problems, settled into my room - which was mercifully located next to the library. I do love a good library. I walked around. I sat around. I gave thanks for the miles I had traversed and for the days of quietness about to begin. And three and a half hours later, after a "talking dinner" and an orientation meeting, we settled into our eight days of silence.

Entering the gates of praying paradise 

The view from the doorway of my room to the library 

At ground level with the mushrooms 

I did a lot of this for eight days: perched myself on a bench, stared at the trees, and prayed
Yes, that's a truck on the pathway. It was loaded with recently chopped wood.

Senza parole - speechless 

Surrounded by silence, creation, and beauty 

Many more stories to come.
For now, all I can say is, "thank you, thank you, thank you."


Amy said...

So grateful all's well with the tooth. I'm currently nursing pain form a traumatic wisdom tooth extraction on Tuesday. Pray for me! Thanks for prayers for me during your week in PA. I'm so glad you could retreat again!

Dona Amorim said...

There’s nothing like a good dentist and good dental insurance to save you from the excruciating pain and hassles of finding a good dental service provider. It’s good that you were able to get some treatment. Toothache can really put you off, and it can be quite uncomfortable and painful. But since you have an excellent dentist, your dental issues can be solved in no time.