Day 20: 233 days left

I went to the dentist today to get one of my wisdom teeth pulled. This is a blessing in itself because I have no insurance and for those who know me well, I have been in constant pain for the past year or so. The fact that God orchestrated a series of events and relationships to make this possible is a miracle of grace and mercy. The process was amusing, there was a moment when the dentist, his assistant, and I were quoting lines from Bill Cosby’s stand up act: Bill Cosby Himself. I am sure it was more humorous for them as I was talking and going numb at the same time. 

Part of the process was this interesting little mask that fit right over my nose. This beautiful little contraption was feeding laughing gas into my system and making the whole even a little more enjoyable. I LIKE laughing gas!  Not enough to engage in it outside of the comforts of my dentist, but I enjoyed it just the same. I have had quite a few “highs” in my day, but this was different. It just made me happy.

I can recall a moment, when the dentist had just finished putting that needle in my gums, looking at the ceiling and laughing. Not uncontrollably, and perhaps not even a result of the laughing gas, but just being overwhelmed with being happy. What can someone learn from a trip to the dentist for an extraction?

The past twenty days has taught me many things. If you have been following me you can see the bouts with depression and anxiety. One of the things that God has done to help me through these things is remind me of all He has done, not only in my life, but in human history. Today, whole staring at the ceiling, I felt a familiar feeling. I was happy. This feeling had been one that was forgotten, not only how it felt, but forgotten about all together. In that moment, though, it all came back. God allowed me to sit in the state for a little while, where I even enjoyed getting a tooth pulled.

“Hey Mo, you know why I like working with you? It’s because you always have a smile on your face.” These are the words that were spoken to me by my service manager when I was employed by Goodyear. I can remember being in the shop changing oil and tires and singing all of the songs that came on the radio (poorly I might add). I used to be happy. My mentor/pastor used to call me “bigshow”, because I was always laughing and having a good time. This used to be me. Once upon a time I was an angry boy looking for trouble and making others feel bad about themselves. God changed me and made me a carefree, contagiously happy person. I miss that guy.

What went wrong? I am not sure when I started taking myself so seriously. I have found myself in a dark and cold place, where I am negative and depressed most of the time. Sure, there is joy in my life, but happiness is never really something that I get to experience often at all. Today, however, I was able to be in that moment for a little while, long enough to jog my memory and remind me of who I once was. It is possible that the laughing gas had a lot to do with it, but I remembered a time when I was like that without laughing gas.

Dear God, fill me with laughing gas again!