For the last two Mondays, and next Monday, I have been to the dentist, not something I enjoy. Actually that is an understatement! A filling fell out in the summer and the dentist wanted to clean and do other things and so is stretching out 2 hours of work into four visits which I guess makes sense.
Why is it that so many dislike the dentist? In my case I thought it was the pain – but actually there is no pain. I’ve often come to the conclusion at the end that I made a lot of fuss and worry beforehand over nothing. The techniques they use today do seem to limit, if not totally eliminate, pain.
If it is not the pain then what else makes me uncomfortable? I wonder, ctually, if it is the loss of my ability to communicate? I wondered about the intrusivity of the dentist, but doctor visits are just as intrusive but I do not experience fear when I go to the doctor. I also wondered about the loss of control over what happens to me, but again with a doctor I am not in control of what happens.
The loss of communication, however, seems to be quite scarey to many people. The knowledge that I can’t communicate with the dentist when he his working inside my mouth and the inability to have a normal conversation when so close to another human being, is quite alien. I think the lack of interaction causes me to feel uncomfortable to a point that is is a worry. Today the room was silent as the dentist worked and that was very very odd.
As the drill drilled today and I could do nothing but stare at the ceiling I was surprised to find myself reflecting on the fear that many I chat with actually have of the church. This seems to essentially boil down to a real fear (which many have actually experienced) that their voice will not be heard, that things will be done ‘to them’ without any way of them communicating, giving feedback or making their views known. A fear that stuff will be delivered to them and that they have to accept it without question. This fear is a fear that no matter what I will be squeezed this way and assimilated that way rather than listened to and be part of and included in making a difference.
It’s really difficult, and I think we are seeing this as a community, but to be genuine and honest and accepting to and of each other means not only listening to each other and ensuring that each other has a voice, but it is also about being willing to change and act differently as a response to that voice. A commitment to journey together has implicit within it a commitment to change.