My heart sank when I walked into the dentist's office. Angel would be cleaning my teeth. While Angel was skilled as a dental hygienist, she often chattered on and on about activities in her life, expecting me to respond even with a mouthful of cleaning implements. She would pause, in fact, after she relayed an interesting bit of information, waiting for a reply. But I was only capable of making indistinguishable sounds. Angel didn't seem to mind, however, when I made my garbled utterances. Angel accepted the babble as if we were having a normal conversation. I sat down in the dental chair, resigned to once again hear Angel's loquacious patter. This day, though, she didn't have anything to say. She sang.
Angel slipped on her mask and gloves and began singing as she bent close to my face ready to scrape and polish. Even through the mask her voice sounded lovely. I closed my eyes and felt relieved there was no pressure to respond. I simply listened, comforted by someone singing over me.
I didn't think too much more about my dentist appointment, but later on in the week, I received an email that my book, On A Clear Blue Day, placed as a bronze medalist in the "Enduring Light" devotional category of the 2017 Illumination Book Awards. I couldn't quite believe it, and did a double take. My book was actually on the list. I thought back to writing the manuscript. I thought of burning it at one point. I didn't believe the material was good enough--that writing the book didn't really matter anyway. As I sat at my kitchen table that day, head in my hands, I heard a bird singing so melodically, I stopped my lament and just listened to its sweetness. And then somewhere inside my spirit, I sensed God saying to me, "Your words are like sweet birdsong. I will use your words to sing over others. You must keep writing. Your words make a difference. Do not stop writing."
Angel's soothing voice reminded me of that moment when God used a bird's lyrical warbling to move me forward. I am humbled that my words might offer others consolation, like birdsong, like God singing over their hearts.