For one entire calendar year I have visited my orthodontist with a level of commitment that rivals the church attendance of many modern church members.
Because I have been flossing my way toward the day when those metal gum-terrorists would be gone, forever, and I would, for the first time in my life, face the world with perfectly straight teeth.
That day happened last Friday and, aside from the whine of the dental drill, it was all I had hoped for. I looked in the doctor’s mirror in amazement: I recognized the reflection but definitely not the teeth.
But then I got the bad news: RETAINER.
Maybe I wasn’t listening but I did not know I would be wearing a metal retainer on my upper teeth. The doctor sat me down and snapped it in, then said: “Don’t take it off.”
“But . . . ,” I protested . . . .
“Cleaning. Eating. Otherwise, keep it on.”
“But doctor! Do you know what I do for a liv . . . ?”
“No, I do not know what you do for a living. But I don’t care. Wear the retainer. Don’t take it off.”
“But on Sunday mornings I have to . . .”
“No. I don’t care. Wear it.”
And so it was that I found myself walking up to the pulpit on Sunday morning, ready to deliver the pastoral prayer I had worked so hard to prepare.
“Oh Lord, we hear: ‘Peace, peace . . . but there is no peace!'”
Well, that’s what was on the paper in front of me.
What came out was something akin to: “Oh, Lord, we hear: ‘Peath, peath . . . but there is no peath!” . . .
. . . accompanied by the ever-attractive saliva spit all over everyone in the front row.
Leave it to me to get a retainer right before the Advent Sunday of Peath . . . uh, Peace.