Did I Still Have my Teeth?

As blood pooled between my upper lip, teeth, and cheek, I moaned in pain.

“Mommmm! Mommm!” Caleb yelled. “Are you alright?” Mommmm!”

Caleb couldn’t see me.

The room in our rondavel was pitch, pitch, pitch black. I couldn’t even see my hand as I raised it to the front of my face to feel if my teeth were still in place.

I cried.

The pain was excruciating.

Mere seconds before, I was standing upright and about to put my clothes away for the night. Caleb was already in bed. Jake, Caleb, John and I were sharing a long rondavel-like space together for our eleven-day stay in Zimbabwe. I hadn’t wanted to wake Caleb, so I chose not to turn on my torch (flashlight). John and Jake were still outside and would be entering our bedroom-space shortly.

I planned to be in bed well before their arrival. I had an early morning ahead of me.

I took a step towards my bag to deposit my clothes. It was an easy enough task before jumping into bed.

Alas, I failed to remember that John’s purple back-roller was on the floor. We had positioned it near our bed because the bed’s end posts jutted out from its frame – we could easily bump into it. The back-roller was a precautionary buffer.

But, I hadn’t remembered that.

As my right foot landed atop the purple back-roller, my foot rolled forward and my whole body with it. Down I went. Fast.

There wasn’t even a second offered – to extend my hands and arms – to catch my fall.

Somehow, someway my body rolled a bit to the left and so the side of my mouth and face hit the concrete floor with a deafening thud. I screamed as I fell – so much for Caleb remaining asleep – and he yelled out to me in fear.

I couldn’t answer.

I reached up to feel for my teeth.

Were my teeth still there?

As I slid my tongue carefully and tentatively over each tooth, I felt them all. I felt each tooth with my fingers. My teeth were jarred, but still in place. Pain pulsed from my mouth to my upper cheek.  I could feel my lip and cheek swelling up fast – a very grim prospect considering that I would be presenting an all-day workshop in the morning.

Just then, John and Jake entered the room. John rushed to my side and guided me to bed. He helped clean up my bloody lip and chin. He gave me some Ibuprofen to address the pain. Next, John located some ice in the kitchen. And so, my self-care work began.  I spent much of the night with this ice bottle atop the side of my face to decrease the swelling.

What was supposed to have been a calm, quiet, and restful night had literally crashed with a violent, disturbing collision with face and floor. I was a wreck.

How had this all happened?

I had failed to remember a cardinal rule in self-care.

In order to care for others, I first need to take care of myself. Airlines across the world know this truth – one must first apply the oxygen mask to oneself before assisting any one else in an emergency.

Second, I realized that my efforts not to disturb or wake Caleb – a worry and fear – had proven to be a dangerous step.

God’s word says this:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in God is kept safe.

New International Version, Proverbs 29:25

Said another way:

The fear of humans and their opinions disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.

The Message, Proverbs 29:25

If ever there was a life lesson to match these words, my fall was it!

My concern over waking Caleb had literally proven to be a snare in the dark of night. As I tripped over myself, my fears of not disturbing my son were laid waste.

We often do this to ourselves though, don’t we?

We worry about the needs of others.

We fret about being a bother.

We agonize over what-ifs and what-abouts.

We simmer in a stew of what our family, our friends, and our workmates might be thinking.

And before we know it, we’re tripped up and ensnared in a trap of fear and worry – jarred, bloodied, and bruised – and flat on our face. Our intentions may have been good, but the direction of our steps was faulty and obstacle-laden.

All we needed to do was switch on a light.

Light was all I needed to side-step the purple back-roller on the floor of our rondavel.  A light in the dark of night would have helped me focus on what I needed to do before bedtime. After all, my ultimate goal was to achieve a good night’s sleep before a full day of teaching. I really needed that.


Thus, paying attention to what is most important – attending to my needs first, so that I can care for the needs of others – is a healthy and good thing to do.  And as I do this, I trust in  my God to care and protect me along the way. No worry, distressing thought, fear of others’ opinions, or shameful dread should prevent me from trusting in the light of my Lord’s love, care, protection, and goodness.

The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

New Living Translation, Psalm 27:1

Gratefully, my fall in the dark of night, although very painful, was not as bad as it could have been. I was spared the pain of broken bones, lost teeth, and even a concussion. But, like I said, I have a tangible life lesson of swelling, bruising and pain to remember this  important truth and promise:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in God is kept safe.

I’ll be trusting in the Light. I’ll be placing my hope and confidence in my God to guide my steps in the dark of night and in the light of day.

May my experience be an encouragement to you in your own life’s way as I thankfully acknowledge that I still have my teeth. I am grateful!

With love to you, always.

1 thought on “Did I Still Have my Teeth?

  1. Wow… that must’ve been painful! And you’re right about taking care of yourself first… it’s something we tend to forget about, though. I’m glad there was no real damage!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close