Last night my TMJ struck big time. As I let out a yawn, my jaw locked up on me out of its normal position. It’s more annoying than it is painful, so don’t pity me. Usually, a hot, damp washcloth pressed against the side of my face will relax the muscle enough to “pop” the jaw back into its normal position within 20 or 30 minutes. Not last night though. Last night my jaw stayed locked up for over three hours — into the wee hours of the morning.
Lately I’ve been stressed-out and anxious to the hilt. And keeping it mostly to myself, making it even worse. Stressed because Ducky was sick again at New Year’s. And then again this morning. (I’ll spare you the details.). She does seem to feel a little better, but she’s been resting instead of pestering us to play. Anxious because of our retirement finances. I won’t go into detail here, either.
All that stress and anxiety just manifested itself into a nasty case of lock jaw. Now, if you know me you know that my faith in God is usually pretty strong. Lately, though, it’s been wavering. My anxiety has been egged-on, cattle-prodded, stretched, and overblown by my ego. That spoiled-rotten child inside of me that I call “ego” is sticking its tongue out at me and refusing to behave politely. As I stood at the bathroom sink, running my washcloth under the scalding-hot water for the umpteenth time, I decided I’d had enough of the discomfort. I did something I rarely do any more. I opened the medicine cabinet and took out one of my 800-milligram ibuprofen caplets, and swallowed it with a gulp of milk (to coat my stomach). And then I pressed the hot washcloth against my jaw again. And I looked at myself in the mirror. I saw a 61-year-old woman who has had a fairly good, healthy life. I looked at the temporary disfigurement of the lower part of my face and thought out loud. “I’m tired of this crap! God, please help me. I know my faith has been a bit shaky lately. But I promise I’ll try harder to shake off the doubts if only you’ll relieve me of this annoying manifestation of my doubts.” Suddenly, my jaw “popped” back into its rightful position and my face looked normal again. I smiled and said “thank you” as I looked up toward Heaven. And I felt better. I was able to enjoy the rest of the movie I’d been watching to relax and get sleepy.
This morning, when I found the result of Ducky’s upset tummy, my faith wavered again for a moment. “Why God? Why make my sweet little dog suffer for my faults?” But then it dawned on me that this is just a temporary setback. She will be feeling better in a day or two. And my usual belief that “everything will be okay” came back.
Thank you, dear readers, for letting me spill this out to you. I know it’s far from my normal, happy tales of life with my three canine children/companions. And I needed to be brave enough to put my vulnerable ego out in the open. It has definitely helped my spirit to put my ego in its proper place once more.