Yesterday the kids had dentist appointments. I thought I was so smart booking all of them at the same time. We are there anyway, lets just get them all done. In many ways it was great. Because we had all the bookings, we also had all of the waiting room to ourselves. They put on some cartoons and the kids settled onto the couch for a bonus screen time. (The normal rule is not screens on a weekday). But cartoons can only go so far, and after an hour the troops were getting bored.
Then the doomed news came! A cavity! Now, this really should not have come as a surprise. I have not been the best mother to my kids teeth. If they brush their teeth once a day I am happy, and truth be told, the faster I can get it done, the faster I can get them into bed. Bed always seems more important somehow. The fact that we have gotten this far without a major cavity is obviously a combination of luck, God's grace and good genetics. But now it is here. The dark hole is eating its way deeper and deeper. And I don't mean the cavity in Carlo's back molar. I mean the guilt. I am clearly a horrible mother. Words like lazy, dirty and neglectful were running through my mind. Obviously I did not breastfeed him long enough, or maybe it was too long. As a middle child my neglect has doomed him to a life of ill health that has started as a cavity but of course end in heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and probably drug addiction and it will all be my fault!
You know, this kneejerk guilt shows itself the same way in my spiritual life. I either cost along. Happy to do the bare minimum. Go to Mass on Sundays, sing a few "Jesus loves me" songs and feel like I am a holy lady. But then something happens. Somehow God poke His head into my life and shows me His love, and what I need to do to be a happier, healthier person. Instead of being thankful, and encouraged I feel guilty and start thinking about all the things I "should" do better, the times I've messed up and all that I have not done. This is not what God (or the dental hygienist) are thinking!
Sometimes we mess up, or get cavities. But just like teeth, our souls are fixable. It is not that we are bad, we just might need to brush (pray) a bit more, and forgive ourselves when we mess up.