Y’all. I made a new friend. Oscar. It’s one of those friends I really didn’t want to befriend. Not at all. You know the ones. Maybe there’s something you just don’t vibe with. Or something you see in them. That maybe you also see in yourself. A part of yourself you don’t exactly like. Or the one that forces you to get uncomfortable. Feel uneasy even. But then you realize. There’s something good there. Something special. Maybe you do need to get a little uncomfortable. After all. Maybe you can learn something from them. Maybe even about yourself. So you accept the person. And suddenly. Your new friend. The one you were pushing away. Has now become your closest friend. That’s how it was with Oscar. My new friend. And guess what. He’s my mouth splint.
I don’t really know how he came to be Oscar. Actually I have an idea. Jesus. Last night about 11pm. My alarm had just rung. The one I dread. The one that reminds me it’s time to band back up. Close my mouth. Get in the cage. And it’s an awful feeling, y’all. Happens five times a day. It’s depressing really. Since about day 35. When, as Marge says, “the novelty” wore off. But it’s day 45 now. As I write this. And dammit. It’s been too long. Ten days of a foreboding existence. Ten days of wishing this away. Ten days of holing up inside myself. Despising this splint. This process. And honestly. I can’t deal with another day of hate in my heart for this mouth splint. It’s toxic.
So as I brushed my mouth for the fifth time last night. And the splint. Which, y’all. I forgot to do. Again. Like I do most of the time. So I had to bring out the toothbrush. Again. Get the toothpaste. Again. Brush the damn thing. Pure irritation at this point. And I realized. Well. I’m pretty sure Jesus told me. This guy needs a name. And suddenly Oscar popped in my head. And I swear is was Him. Had to be. Because I don’t even like the name Oscar. And sorry to all the Oscars out there. Or the parents of Oscars. I really am sorry. Truly. I just don’t like it. And I kept trying pick another name. I promise I did. Even Marge suggested a few others this morning. Felix was her favorite. But y’all know. When God puts something on your heart. There ain’t nothing you can do about it. So Oscar. The mouth splint.
And here’s the deal with Oscar. Y’all. He’s not my enemy. Like the way I’ve been seeing him. He’s actually more like a life line. For my fat graft. For my joint. Maybe even for me. Bottom line. Like good friends are supposed to do. Oscar’s here to help me. He shows up five times a day. And his primary role in my life. In his life, really. The one thing he is expected to do is hold my mandible in place. Keep the fat graft safe. Help bring my joint back to life. And keep my damn my mouth shut. So that I can get back to the eating. And the kissing. And the talking. Normal living. Pain-free living. Living I haven’t had in a long time.
And you know. That’s a pretty damn awesome thing Oscar does. For me. For my joint. I mean really. Do you think he wants to be all up in my grill? Amidst teeth that often crunch down on him. And saliva. And braces. And rubber bands. In a place that’s probably not too comfortable. I wish I could say I’ve been just as dedicated to him as he has been to me. Poor guy is stained with coffee. Gets forgotten about during brush time. Has negative energy thrown his way. Has been cursed at. And gossiped about. Betrayed even. I haven’t been a good friend to Oscar. Even though he keeps showing up. And I kind of feel bad about it.
And y’all. This new friend I have. This great friend. He’s got me thinking about other Oscars. And I have to tell you something. And it hurts to say it. There are other Oscars in my life. Ones I haven’t been good to. Ones who have stood by me. Held me together. Offered unconditional love. And picked me up almost every time I’ve fallen. And I fall a lot. So it’s a hard job. Being a friend to me. And while they aren’t stained with coffee. Like Oscar. I’ve stained them in similar ways. They’ve been cursed at. And had negative energy thrown their way. Been gossiped about. Betrayed even. Pure betrayal. And I haven’t always showed up. While I’d like to think I’m able to redeem myself. Become a better friend. And even though I know Jesus can redeem me. I’m not sure there’s anything I can do to fix all of it. That doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying. I’ll never stop trying.
I woke this morning. Feeling relief for having finally met Oscar. But riddled with guilt. And sadness. And pain. Thinking about the other Oscars. And even though I didn’t want to. I started my daily devotional. Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. And you won’t believe what it read. What am I saying? Of course you will. Because it’s Jesus. Calling.
July 16th: Self-pity is a slimy, bottomless pit. Once you fall in you tend to go deeper and deeper into mire. As you slide down those slippery walls, you are well on your way to depression, and the darkness is profound. Your only hope is to look up and see the Light of My Presence shining down on you. Though the Light looks dim from your perspective, deep in the pit, those rays of hope can reach you at any depth.
So y’all. That’s why Oscar. God knew I was headed into that space. That hole. That slimy, bottomless pit. Hell! He knew I was already there. Taking up residence. So He gave me Oscar. And my new friend is that ray of light. Still a little dim. But starting to shine nonetheless. Showing me what friendship is. Teaching me what it means to hold someone up. Stick around even if it’s uncomfortable. Show up. And just do your damn job. As a friend.
While I’d love to sit here and write more about him. Oscar. My new friend. The alarm just went off. And it’s time he and I meet again. Have our social hour. Or three. Together. And now that he has a name. And a place in my life. I’m not dreading the walk to the bathroom. Or going to become irritated when I forget to brush him. Again. And have to start all over. With the toothbrush. And the toothpaste. I’m looking forward to my time with Oscar. The mouth splint. The friend who’s healing me. Both physically. And emotionally. The friend who keeps showing up. That’s love, y’all. That’s what real friends do. And Oscar is a real friend.