Friday, September 26, 2014

Brace face!

Yes, they need braces; both of them, said the orthodontist.  That’s when the ringing started in my ears while a simultaneous euphoric glow emanated from my oldest and youngest children.  Even with dental insurance I felt an immediate stinging to my left cheek.  Not my face either!  I’m talking about the cheek that pins my wallet into my jeans.  The very wallet whose goal I set every day to, go in to these jeans at sunrise and don’t come out until sunset. Yet I will continue to proclaim, despite the objections by my beautiful bride, that I am not cheap, I am thrifty.  And as I have just discovered, there is nothing thrifty about braces.  

But what has inspired this post is not a rally cry for an orthodontic Groupon or buy one get one free packages for siblings, no, this is about the uncontainable giddiness of my kids to be fitted with a mouth full of uncomfortable metal.  You would have thought the sleigh just landed on the roof in September!  Come December though, those two will realize Santa did deliver early when all they find is boxes and boxes of wrapped floss and toothbrushes under the tree! Thrifty I say, NOT tight!

I remember being in Mrs. Spence’s first grade class and the girl who sat behind me would put a metal bracelet in her mouth and try to convince me she had braces.  I also thought back to when I got braces in middle school and how I was excited too.  My beautiful bride even told me a story of how she attempted to wear her older brother’s retainer to school when she was kid.  Threw up in my mouth a little bit the first time I heard that story and obviously she didn’t tell me before we were married.  That’s one you save until after the knot has been tied. 

This is not even about the braces either. Come on, there is nothing attractive about braces but they are socially acceptable. Right now the same goes for eye glasses.  And not just any ol’ glasses, big bold black rimmed glasses like my Dad’s 60’s senior picture are what are in!  Used to when I was kid (I’m officially old for using that line) getting told you needed glasses was a social death sentence.  It meant very sophisticated words like dork, nerd and four eyes would be used on you.  If you played sports, especially basketball, it meant a pair of Kareem Abdul Jabbar prescription goggles of the 80’s!  You young Oakley wearing kids of today have no idea what the sports goggles back in the day looked like. Not good for the dating scene, not at all. 

Braces and glasses are just small blips on a large map full of things we use to display our individuality.  Today some common areas to express ourselves are in tattoos, shoes (guilty), top knotted hair (guilty), bow ties and skinny jeans for you hipsters, animal print purses, piercings anywhere, cars and on and on and on. 

Why though?  Why do we feel the need to be different?  Because we live in a world where there is a constant struggle to stand out, a need for uniqueness, something that will set us apart from the rest. And honestly it’s okay IF AND ONLY IF it was all taken away and you could still rest in this…

Psalm 139 13-18 (The Voice translation)

13  For You shaped me, inside and out.
      You knitted me together in my mother’s womb 
      long before I took my first breath.

14   I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation,
       filled with wonder and awe.
      You have approached even the smallest 
      details with excellence;
      Your works are wonderful;
       I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

15   You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You
       As I took shape in secret,
       carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before
       I was born from its womb.

16   You see all things;
       You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb;
       Every detail of my life was already written in Your book;
       You established the length of my life before I ever tasted 
       the sweetness of it.

17   Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God! I cherish 
       each and every one of them!
       How grand in scope! How many in number!

18   If I could count each one of them, they would be more than 
       all the grains of sand on earth. Their number is inconceivable!
       Even when I wake up, I am still near to You.

Can you find rest in that? 

If you can image whatever uniqueness you enjoy was removed from you in the next hour would you still know you were unique and loved?
Do you find rest in being known you are unique and wonderfully made by the same Creator who dotted each and every star in the sky and then made you; His greatest creation? 

If your answer is yes, then pull up that hair with pride, guys!  Go down a size in those skinnies.  Get another tat!  Heck, so long as you aren’t my kid, get braces and a retainer at the same time!  

But if and only if you can rest in Psalm 139.