For many years, I have found it rather helpful when, in times of boredom or unease, to occupy my mind by saying the rosary. So when am waiting in line at the supermarket and not paging through the current edition of People, when I'm caught in traffic and getting annoyed, when I'm standing cheek-to-cheek with a burly biker on the subway - I find it helpful to slip in some "prayer time" if, for no other reason, than to make good use of the time.
Well I had to have a cavity filled yesterday. So, having been loaded up with a good dose of novacaine, I inclined my head back to give the doctor wide berth and access to my chompers.
I believe prayer to be a powerful weapon against the forces of darkness, against the listlessness of traffic, against the awkwardness of crowded buses. I believe prayer to put me into a space of greater receptivity to God and that it connects and places me into communion me with all those whose prayers strain outward from their hearts toward the Holy God. I believe that I am at my best when I am animated by and feel a call to return to prayer.
Alas, I have found one thing that prayer cannot withstand. The chink in prayer's armor that causes all peace, ease, and tranquility to drain from my person leaving me with pain, sadness, and irritation.
The dentist's drill.
She started drilling. I started praying. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. HOLY [Mary should go in here, but the drill hit its mark thereby necessitating a word change].
It seems that I have a pretty darn high tolerance for the novacaine. Really high. Scary high.
Well, the doctor and I do...now.
So yesterday was a pretty sore day. The mega doses of novacaine (or whatever it was, I can't remember) didn't wear off until about 5:30 -- eight hours after my injection. I spent most of the remainder of the day in my room looking at my reflection in the mirror - I now know what I will look like if I ever suffer a stroke.
It's strange because I had a filling done on the other side of my mouth two weeks ago and, although a bit uncomfortable, it was not nearly as bad as yesterday. I do not blame the dentist - I reckon that, in the future, I'll know that it takes a lot to make me numb (what violence on television can't accomplish, novacaine can).
So that's my story about the newly-discovered limits of my prayer. One can do many things with prayer, but having it comfort you while receiving a filling on an insufficient amount of novacaine is probably not one of them.