Thursday, August 28, 2003

Braces for Life

“Relax lang ang lower lip”, my dentist kept repeating during my latestappointment, as he proceeded to insert the wires and bands into thebrackets of my teeth. It turns out that my muscles are so sensitivethat they are quick to react at the slightest sense of pain, to protectmyself. With my eyes closed, I wondered how to tell my muscles to relaxwhen pliers, scissors, and other metallic objects were being used on mypoor little mouth. “Relax, Ella, relax”, I told myself, but it didn’twork. I was as tense as ever, my hands balled into fists.

I brought this upon myself. I was the one who approached the ortho,with a lot of prodding from my mother, to ask for braces to correct theirregular growth of my teeth. I even promised to pay him and his team asum of money just so they could inflict pain on me on a regular basis.I thought I could use the forced diet, too. The first few visits wereindeed painful. After some time I got used to the procedure and thoughtI could live with this for the next year, for the sake of aesthetics.But I spoke too soon! The next several visits proved to be longer andmore complicated than the initial stages. My speech has been affectedtoo, since I developed some lisps due to my struggle to avoid the sorescaused by the foreign objects I had willingly installed on my teeth. Ihave an extended run of my toothbrush time daily now, as Bactidol andMint floss are, more than ever, no longer an option.

Yet I endure the oral torture, the defective speech (can’t realize mydream to be Tina Monzon-Palma’s protégée), the monthly payments, thedaily ceremony in front of the bathroom mirror, and the deprivation ofsome food (like corn on the cob and bubble gum), because I believe inthe end result of all these --> A full Gloria Diaz smile, as my dentistpromised. (As of now I have half the Gloria Diaz smile daw according tohis professional opinion.)

Would that I could have as much faith in what God is doing in my life!If only I were more cooperative to Him. A year ago He made me a promiseand then said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” However, every timemy heart muscles sense danger they contract to protect myself from pain.Yet I know that I asked for this. I know that I like His promise. Hedidn’t promise an easy ride, and I supposedly know what this entails.But I’m only human. In my earnest efforts to relax I end up being a lottenser, so God’s hands cannot shape me with ease.

When I was learning to swim my instructor kept telling the class thatstiff movements would only cause us pain and slow us down. When wefinally learned to relax, we glided on the water like mermaids and wereable to swim longer distances.

Para sa mga matigas ang ulo katulad ko, God is our Potter. Hope wecould all become like clay and allow Him to mold us to the best peoplewe could be. :-)

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