A Root Canal and a Lesson in Patience

I had the pleasure of getting a root canal today. With plenty of time to lay there and think, I was considering the ways a root canal is like life. I came to some clear realizations about how a root canal can teach valuable principles, including patience.

You are at the mercy of the moment

I’ve actually had four root canals in my life now. Before you drill (pun intended) into my apparent lack of dental hygiene, I’ll note that they were all many years apart. After laying in a dentist’s chair for a collective 8-plus hours of poking and prodding, I’ve learned a faith testing truth… There are times in life when there is absolutely nothing you can do but lay there and take it.

When getting a root canal, you can only lay there, keep your mouth open, and let them do their thing. It’s hard hearing the drills grinding away. For me, the worst part is the achy jaw that comes after laying there, mouth wide open, for so long. All in all, it’s miserable! Fighting against it however would not only delay the ending, but could also cause unintended damage.

Sometimes in life all you can do is wait out the trial with your very best patience and focus. You can do nothing to stop it, and you could make things worse if you resist. Trust that it is a temporary challenge, you will get through it, and you will probably be better for.

Root Canal

You don’t always have to understand

It’s easy to feel frustrated when you face trials and challenges that you can’t understand. The fact is, you don’t need to understand. Your Higher Power is a grand architect, more skilled than the most experienced dentist.

Your Higher Power is keenly aware of you. He knows what needs to be done to successfully fix your problems, and He knows how to leave you better than when you started.

I did ask some questions of the dentist today, trying to make sense of the mysteries taking place inside my mouth. After four root canals I was really curious how it works. She answered my questions and I know much more than I ever have before, but I still don’t really know everything a root canal requires.

You have likely been taught to ask and ye shall receive… and you should be willing to ask questions of your life to gain understanding, but you don’t need to understand everything.

Patience… patience… patience

When it comes to a root canal, the only thing you can do is wait. It takes time. When your jaw is propped open, aching from the strain, there’s nothing you can do to find relief other than wait for the time to pass. It’s in these moments that you realize you have to exercise more patience than you probably believe you have. My mother reminded me recently as I expressed some frustration over a certain trial, this too shall pass.

There are few greater attributes a person can possess than patience. This is not about apathy or resignation to others, but rather an expression of faith in the grand plan and the Master Planner. I don’t speak as one who has conquered this, but I have been learning the extreme value of patience in trials, large and small. I am appreciative of my growing understanding and evolution.


I don’t recommend you go out and get a root canal just to learn more personally these concepts. I do hope you will take my experience and find how to learn from them yourself though. Even when brushing and flossing were not enough to stop the trial, you can still make it through your challenge with confidence and peace of mind. It’s important to remember this, because when you are laying there at the mercy of someone else, hoping they’ve garnered sufficient experience to masterfully carry out the procedure, you may find a sense of calm and peace that can only come through a moment of adversity.

Either way, in the end, your teeth, and your life should feel a lot better!


Question: What was an experience that felt overwhelming or insurmountable, which you later found was a valued growing experience? Leave a comment below.

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