Several weeks ago, I chronicled the addition to my sleeping regimen of a mouth guard on the advice of my dentist, Dr. Charles Campbell, who says I grind my teeth in slumber. It's been eight weeks since I brought the piece of equipment home. I've become comfortable with it in my mouth and I strictly follow the hygiene protocol: brushing it with toothpaste and soaking occasionally in a bleach solution. There is only one problem; at least half the time, I forget to insert it when I go to bed. Currently, I am on a five day streak of forgetting. I always remember at some point in the night. It might be a few minutes after I've crawled in the sack or several hours later when I get up to go to the bathroom. I just read where a Chicago Blackhawks player, Duncan Keith, lost seven teeth last night in an NHL playoff game with San Jose when the puck hit him in the mouth...and he only sat out six and a half minutes! Suddenly, my mouth guard troubles don't seem quite so bad!
The book of James has insightful teaching on the use, or rather misuse, of the tongue. The writer in chapter three speaks of putting a bit in a horse's mouth to make it obey. I doubt if the bit is comfortable or if horses look forward to having that piece of metal inserted orally. And yet, a bit can make a horse much more obedient and effective in whatever role it is fulfilling. In a continuation of that thought, James speaks of the difficulty we have in controlling what we say; in fact, he says no man can tame the tongue and anyone who does is perfect. He implies, that when we can control our tongues, we will have self control in other aspects of our lives. I believe that if we only slowed down our speech patterns and considered what was coming out for the world to hear, we would be spend less time regretting what we said. As I mentioned at the outset, the mouth guard is for my benefit but it does me no good if I don't avail my self of its services. It's just an expensive piece of pliable plastic on my sink. These mouth guards are increasingly a staple on the basketball court for dental safety in an increasingly physical sport. I have even seen where some folks wear them during a normal day. Do you know what I would call me if I wore mine to work? SELF CONSCIOUS. But, I would be quicker to listen and slower to speak. Then, I would be slower to grind my teeth when I get home and consider the things I've said that day. That would be a WIN-WIN situation for both me and the people I'm around. I'm going to have to chew on it.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was that they escaped teething.''
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