Yours truly is the proud owner of a new bridge.
Yep, a bridge.
Not the London Bridge. Not the Tennessee River Bridge. Not a bridge over the Chattahoochee (I never knew how much that muddy water meant to me.)
Not that kind of bridge at all, actually.
Since moving to El Dorado, yours truly has had 2 root canals (not 1, but 2); 2 cavities filled (not 1, but 2); and 2 bridges installed (not 1, but 2 – 1 was a temporary, but still).
I wish I could say it is El Dorado’s fault that I have such awful teeth.
I wish I could say it is mom and dad’s fault that I inherited a horrific mouth full of rocks.
But that would be denying and ignoring reality. I am paying for now what I neglected to pay for earlier. To say it another way – if you don’t pay now, you WILL pay later.
When I graduated High School ‘mommer and em’ (how Alabama natives refer to anyone with his or her momma) quit paying for dental visits. . . So I didn’t go. . . . for 10 years. . . I know, okay.
I was pastoring in Louisiana when I darkened the doors of a dental dungeon again. Why did I go? No, it wasn’t guilt or nagging by a lifetime cavity-free wife. It wasn’t because I thought it was time to ‘wise up’ and get my teeth taken care of. No, I thought I better go when 15 Ibuprofen’s every 30 minutes wouldn’t stop the pain. My liver has thanked me ever since.
Sure enough, the dentist down in Cajun Country said that I could either (1) do nothing; (2) have a root canal; or (3) pull it. I couldn’t ‘do nothing.’ I was about to die. So, I asked how much the root canal would cost me. . .
After they resuscitated me I went with choice #3 (Don’t judge me – I was going to seminary, pastoring a tiny church, and my wife wasn’t available for consultation at the moment).
The dentist tried to talk me out of it.
The dentist encouraged me to wait to talk to my wife.
The dentist said I would probably regret it.
The dentist said if he pulled the tooth it would probably cost me a lot more down the road.
In other words, the dentist basically said ‘pay now, or pay later.’
Matt didn’t want to pay then. Matt would hope for the best ‘later.’
Prior to that visit, that had been my entire perspective on teeth and dental work.
Mom and Dad not paying for dental cleanings? Fine. I just won’t go now and hope for the best later.
Got a breath mint? Great. I’ll brush tomorrow.
Nothing gross stuck in my teeth? Wonderful. Floss? Maybe the day before my next dental visit.
Don’t seem to have enough cash to pay for a root canal now? Fine. Let’s pull that sucker and hope for the best later.
Doing the stupid or idiotic or lazy thing NOW in hopes that later will work out for the best is . . . pardon the language – DUMB.
You pay now or you will pay later.
Life is like that, isn’t it?
Whether it’s eating or parenting or teeth brushing or pastoring or praying or sleeping or running a business or being married or . . . . you fill in the blank.
You can either pay now – or pay later.
Take my advice: PAY NOW.
Don’t wait until later to spend time with your kids.
Don’t just chew on the other side of your mouth.
Don’t assume you will have more time for ‘date nights’ next year.
Don’t NOT address that employ situation because you think it will ‘resolve itself.’
What goes around, comes around. You will be glad you put the work and effort and energy and money into it now.
It’s pretty demoralizing when you read the Bible and the Holy Spirit lets you know that an ant’s brain is smarter than yours. . .
“You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions.”
Pay now, or pay later.