Posted by: Marie | June 26, 2011

(562) A foot in each realm – Part 1 of 4

Post #562
[Private journal entry written on Friday, December 24, 2010]

Today is Christmas Eve Day . . . and it was the free day at the dentist’s office. Treatments were scheduled to start at 7:30am. I figured there would be a line to get in, so I arrived there about 90 minutes before opening. When I arrived, there was already a line of about 80 people and it was growing steadily.

Someone in the line thoughtfully started a sign-in sheet and taped it to the door so that people didn’t have to actually stand in line – which, on a cold December morning before sunrise, is a good thing . . . it was below freezing. I’m guessing it was about 15 degrees (9 degrees Celsius). At least we got to sign in and then sit in our cars to wait for 7:30am to arrive.

Those who didn’t have cars huddled up against the side of the building under heavy blankets. It seemed the least I could do would be to invite a few of them to join me in my car. But, I didn’t . . . they were some pretty rough characters . . . this is the part of me I struggle with often . . . I want to be generous, but I have to think about my own safety first. These characters looked like they were homeless and shower-less and drunk and high and not so law-abiding . . . I decided it wouldn’t be wise to invite them into my car . . .

Photo by Martin Chen

We didn’t have to wait until 7:30am . . . at 7:00am, the office doors opened and everyone came flowing out of cars and out from under the blankets. The first 50 people filled the waiting room and the vestibule . . . the remaining folks consolidated into a line that snaked out the front doors, around the front and side of the building and out into the parking lot. From my spot just outside the front doors, I couldn’t see the end of the line. But, the number of people in the part of the line I could see seemed to be around 200 or 300 people.

It was close to 8:00am before I got as far in as the vestibule. We were packed so tightly in that vestibule that we had to use each other’s backs for writing surfaces when the medical information forms were handed out. It was difficult to even turn around while standing in the same spot. But, at least it was warm.

I was amazed as I observed how everyone watched out for everyone else . . . when someone with children, or with a physical handicap, or who was elderly showed up, the sea parted and the way cleared for those special folks to get into the waiting room and into a chair. When we were given the occasional updates on what was happening inside, everyone took care to pass along the information to those behind them in line. I could see that this was a tight community.

And, I also observed graceless behaviors . . . a mother and adult daughter continuously digging at each other with their obnoxious “good-natured” banter . . . “I’m going to knock your block off!” and “You are such an asshole . . . I hate you . . . always have, always will” . . . “You are such a fucking loser I don’t even want to be seen in public with you!”

I listened to grizzly men brag about how drunk they had gotten the night before . . . I watched a shapely but uncouth and heavily painted young woman show off her tattoos that were placed in places on her body that we should not have had the opportunity to view.

There have been brief moments in my life when I have been immersed in this world of roughness . . . but, it has been a while and it was a bit of a shock to my system to be in it today . . .

By around 9:15am, I had been swept along by the masses into the waiting room. I found a chair. My feet were very grateful for the relief after standing on my feet non-stop, being jostled forward and back, for more than two hours. From inside the waiting room, I could hear the numbers being called off. I was number 86 on the list . . . we were at number 43 – halfway to my number – two more hours, give or take, before my turn.

Just as I was getting settled into my chair, the receptionist came out and announced they would stop taking people at 11:00am. Everyone after that point on the list would be turned away. That means I had about a 50/50 chance of even getting in to see the dentist.

Was it worth the wait? If I didn’t get in, I would have wasted a whole morning for no good reason. I sighed . . . well, I guess if I read my book, it wouldn’t be a wasted morning. By reading my book, I would be doing the same thing here that I would be doing at home – then my time wouldn’t be wasted. Besides, all the arguments I gave myself to get myself here are still valid . . . I really need to get my complaining tooth some attention . . . I really need to take this step towards giving myself a healthy body with which to live this life.

I pulled out my book – Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue: Book 1 – and opened it to the first page of the introduction . . .

“You are about to have an extraordinary experience. You are about to have a conversation with God.”

Hmmm . . . what a beautiful, peaceful, ethereal concept . . . and what a contrast to the crassness surrounding me.

I kept reading . . . I moved onto Chapter 1 . . . in which the author, Neale Donald Walsch, sat down and wrote a letter to God. The letter contained a pile of angry questions . . . questions Mr. Walsch threw at God in a spiteful, passionate dialogue. The letter was full of confusions, contortions and condemnations. Through the letter, Mr. Walsch asked what he had done to deserve a life of such continuing struggle . . .

Hmmmm . . . that sounds much like the letter I wrote to God just a short time ago . . . no wonder Edward thought this book might be of interest to me . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. If you kept reading the book I’ll be interested to hear what you make of it. Also if you get your tooth seen to.

    • Hey, Evan –

      It definately is a book that is not an easy read . . . it makes me think!

      – Marie

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