I went to the dentist yesterday to get two fillings and one crown. I was in the chair for a long time, as you might imagine, and my dentist and her assistant had a typical office conversation while they were working on me.
My dentist spoke about wanting to scale back on holiday decorations this year while her assistant spoke about how many decorations she has—going into detail about many of them. They both must have small kids because they traded information about local pumpkin patches. By the time my procedure was nearly finished, the assistant transitioned to what her family was having for dinner—burgers—and she was hoping that somebody in the family had them started by the time she got home because she doesn’t like the smell of meat.
I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing that a dentist and her staff will do anything to make a patient feel comfortable and small talk is a good way to do that. Since my dentist and I couldn’t have a conversation, she did the next best thing by having one with her assistant. I was sitting so far back that I couldn’t see the television, so listening to them really did help pass the time. But it also did something else. It made me realize that while they were heading home to a family, I was heading to an empty house.
I’m probably your typical man. When I’m not feeling great, I like to be pampered. If I can’t be pampered then, I’ll take somebody just checking in on me. In the past, I was terrible about telling family and friends about upcoming medical and dental procedures. By the time I got home to an empty house, it was easy to feel sorry for myself—believing that nobody cares. I eventually realized the real problem was my failure to inform people. How could people check on me if they didn’t even know what I was going through?
Over the weekend, I told a few people about my upcoming dental appointment and true to form, I got a text message last night from a friend asking me how I was doing. I told him my mouth was sore and I had a headache, but for all the work I had done, I was fine. And, then my mom called and she did the mom thing. Hearing from two people was all it took to keep me from falling into a funk.
I know that Christ is always with me and he can always be counted on, even when people cannot. I also know that in his humanity, he often visited the sick. And, likewise, he told us that when we visit sick brethren, we are visiting him (Matt. 25:34-40). When someone visits a sick person he or she loves, something powerful happens. The visit is an expression of love and somehow that love seeps into the places that hurt and it caresses them.
Is there a single person in your church who is in need of a visit or a call this week because he or she is undergoing some sort of medical procedure? If so, you know what to do.
Lee Warren is a forty-something-year-old single person who lives in Nebraska. He is the author of the book Single Servings: 90 Devotions to Feed Your Soul, published by Revell. Julie Ferwerda is a forty-something married person who has had a spectrum of experiences in the single’s life after divorce. She is the author of “The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love,” and has written dozens of singles articles for CBN and other publications.