September 20

Written by Bill Grandi on September 20th, 2023

It was not a pretty sight. In fact, they were a downright mess. Years of fitful care came home to roost. Some of it was DNA. Some of it was a failure to have checkups regularly and proper maintenance. So at the age of 55 I found myself having radical dental work done culminating (I thought) with wearing braces for almost 3 years.

My DNA was not good. Dentures all around, except for my mom whose teeth were not the best (but she still smiled a lot). The shape of my jaw caused me to chew in such a way that I wore off the bottom teeth. Nerves became exposed. Flossing and brushing were not enough to make up for the years of early neglect. The lack of maintenance at the dentist (like none) as I raised two daughters certainly didn’t help. X-rays were needed and revealed a lot. So the process began. Two surgeries to remove one the largest torus mandibularis, aka tori (bone growth) the doctor had ever seen. This tori was between the bottom teeth and had I not been a side sleeper he said I would have probably died in my sleep because my tongue had nowhere to go. Then began the process of pulling teeth, wearing braces for almost 3 years, crowns, implants…well, you get the picture.

It didn’t happen overnight. It took time. And even after the braces came off (I followed the rules religiously), I’ve had other procedures. They are too numerous for me to mention (or to remember!). 🙂

I wear retainers every night to keep the alignment correct. I’m not going to throw over $15k down the tubes because I wish I could go to bed without them. They make me lisp when I talk and dry-mouthed when I wake up.

The life and growth of a Christ-follower is like that. After years of living in sin, of making a royal mess of our life, we find ourselves having radical treatment. It’s called salvation, where sin is dealt with and treatment is done. It takes awhile to learn, understand and respond to the truth of the Gospel, and then there is the ongoing care which lasts a lifetime. There are glitches along the way, but maintenance is still necessary. Prayer. Bible reading. Fellowship. They are all needed for ongoing spiritual health.

Salvation happens immediately when our sins are forgiven. The ongoing growth and maintenance requires the rest of our lifetime.

Where are you in the process?


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    A very real visual, and sometimes uncomfortable, representation of our walk with Christ. I am thankful God is not done on the “post-op” work. I am thankful to be a lifelong patient requiring ongoing treatment. I am also thankful that Jesus paid the medical bill!

  2. gail says:

    Great point Bill. Absolutely true that the learning about God, learning from God, learning to listen, trust and obey God is a life lesson. Growing up Catholic I was always taught there were mortal sins and venial sins. Sin is sin, so many lessons I had to learn. I’m glad that my life has changed and continues to change for God. I will constantly have to work to put God first in my life, and have a heart that is open to Him. I will always be a work in progress but I am happy that God keeps working on me.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      That kind of attitude is exactly what I am referring to Gail. One that says, “I have not arrived but will continue growing in my faith to become more like Jesus.”

  3. You sure have been through the wringer, Bill, but your analogy here is spot on! Being a Christian requires constant maintenance, that’s for sure. We have to be open to how God is working in us and through us, even when those twists and turns are difficult to take. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Unless something happens Martha, at least I will have my teeth when I die. 🙂 🙂 It is important as you say to be open to how God is working in us and through us.