Weather Forecast


Disheveled Theologian: Wisdom teeth wisdom

Memories come rushing back as I sit in the waiting room while my son, Ian, gets his wisdom teeth removed. “The Price is Right” is on the television (of course), my nerves are jangling (I just signed the consent form with all those scary possibilities) and I can’t help but recollect when I got my wisdom teeth out, 32 years ago. No, I don’t recall the details, but I do remember the pain.  And the name of my doctor. “Shock” is a hard last name to forget.

I also can’t help but think of other waiting rooms over the years. Ian, getting his tonsils out, Lucy, getting hers removed a few years later, as well as getting her “trigger thumb” fixed up. She showed me the scar the other day. She remembers it better than I do.

I wrote about that day, sitting in a waiting room just as I am now. A few quotes from that morning:

1) Why did I think this surgery was a good idea? Can't Lucy live with giant tonsils, enormous adenoids and a painful thumb? 2) Child-sized scrubs with cute tigers on them do not make me feel any better. 3) Did I buy enough ice cream? Can one ever have enough ice cream? 4) Praying. Praying some more. 5) The donuts in the waiting room look dry and unattractive. Think I’d like one anyway. 6) They need a larger waiting room. I'm breathing my neighbor's air. 7) There are lots of tissue boxes around … and tiny garbage cans. What does this imply? 8) Ice chips. The very phrase smacks of hospitals and illness. 9) Thankful. Ever so thankful.

My feelings are much the same today. I am nervous. Praying. Praying some more. There are no donuts. Kinda wish there were. There is coffee, but I brought my own. It’s cold now. Doesn’t matter, I’m drinking it anyway.

I am supposed to be working on a sermon. Can’t concentrate. Gonna need some serious Holy Spirit intervention for this message.

The time they said it would take has passed now. This isn’t helping my nerves. All the terrible possibilities of the consent form are whirling through my brain. And so I pray again.

And again. I think of so many other parents out there who have so many larger worries for their children. This is a common surgery. Not a big deal. Nothing, compared to the myriad of larger medical issues that fill the world. I just need to calm down. To keep on praying.

And praying again. I’m sure Ian is fine.

I suddenly think of Philippians 4:6 — “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I’ve been presenting my requests, that’s for sure. But I’ve forgotten about the thanksgiving part. OK. Here goes.

Thanks for Ian, for his thoughtful and gentle personality, his cheerful smile, his smart brain and his love for the Lord. Thanks for our Katie and Lucy, for their smiles that light up a room, for the fact that all three get along. Usually. Thanks for Colin, for everything he does for us, providing for us, loving us, putting up with us. Thanks for my parents, who gave me the foundation I needed to live my life to the honor and glory of God. Even though I’ve failed. Often. Thanks for Worthington, which, yes, I have come to love. Thanks for our church. Thanks for our friends. Thanks for our home.

This is kinda fun!

Thanks for our jobs. Thanks for the food in our fridge. Thanks for our silly cats. Thanks for summer. Thanks for the instruments, which fill our home with noise. (Did I really say that?) Thanks for Ian’s inquisitiveness. For Katie’s laugh. For Lucy’s creativity. Thanks for books and for dishes and for dishwashers. Thanks so much for the lovely view out of our windows. Thanks for —

The surgery door opens. “Ian is ready.” The nurse is smiling.

It’s true, the verse which comes right after Philippians 4:6. It’s totally true:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Thankful. Ever so thankful.

Gretchen O’Donnell is a freelance writer who lives in Worthington with her husband and three children. She has a master’s degree from Bethel Seminary and enjoys writing about the things she sees and applying theological truths to everyday situations. Her column, The Disheveled Theologian, is published weekly. Her email is