Wednesday, March 7, 2007


I remember missing teeth, but I don't remember the day I actually lost my first tooth. Actually, I may have actively tried to repress any "tooth" memories after suffering several years of orthodontia... but that is another story.

Today's story is about my daughter, Mary Hannah. She was very excited about losing her tooth and so we recorded this momentous day by taking pictures. Several days ago, when it began to wiggle a little, MH made a "tooth pouch" so that when it fell out, she could have a place to put it for the Tooth Fairy to come collect it.

OK, time for a quick aside which seems unrelated, but will come into play in a bit... Mary Hannah is almost 6 years old and has recently been the source of no small amount of consternation for me and her mother. She has been moody, unreasonably fussy and emotional about little things. This is a change from her customary good nature and happy spirit. She has been increasingly disobedient and non compliant when asked to do a chore. However, today, she was all smiles and her old manners and good spirit returned, much to our delight.

Back to the story: During dinner, I commented that perhaps that the tooth was a "trouble" tooth. Perhaps all the "wiggling" she'd done on it in the past few days was prompting her to wiggle against mommy and daddy and be fussy and disobedient. I complimented her on how gracious and kind she'd been all evening and how we were happy to have her good manners return. She liked the thought and immediately began to catalog the events that had gotten her into "trouble" over the past few days... losing her jacket at school, yelling at her mother, ignoring various instructions in favor of playing around or watching TV. Each event was the fault of "Trouble" that she now agreed had lived in her trouble tooth.

So, skip forward to bedtime... Mary Hannah suddenly reverted to her fussy manner, getting out of bed multiple times to tell us that she either did or did not want the tooth fairy to take her tooth. After the third time out of bed to inform us what she wanted to do concerning her tooth, I told her that we would take it away from her for the evening if she didn't stay in her bed and go to sleep. She fussed back to her room, emotions running high.

Her mood swings and her behavior are pretty normal for her age as she explores the limits of her ability to manipulate her parents and other adults. I'm not really writing to complain about Mary Hannah or even to document her life achievement. I want to take a little leap and I hope you can follow me...

How many of us "wiggle" our "trouble tooth" and get into trouble? If we externalize the bad things we do (sin) and personify them a bit... do we do this a lot? I know that there have been times in my life when I haven't walked in faith and displayed the light of Christ in how I have lived on a day to day basis. I remember with some shame a time when a person I knew from my job happened to visit my church and commented, "Oh, I didn't know you were a Christian." I'd like to chalk it up to my youth and the "exploring the envelope of God's grace and forgiveness". But when the times have come when God confronts me about my "trouble tooth", the place where I keep my ungodly behaviors and desires and tells me that it is time for me to grow in my walk with him and give up the "baby" things... I fuss and whine and want to hold on to my "tooth" a little longer... just a few days more... then I'll give it up in exchange for the gift God desires to give me. What sins do I cherish so much because they are a part of me that I am so unwilling to give up so that I can become a part of God? Just something to think about.

in Him,


jill said...

I love the way you externalized the "trouble tooth." That was very MFTish of you.

Emery said...

Narrative, if I recall correctly. :)