Corban lost his two front teeth this last week. They’ve been loose for a month or so but have taken their time falling out, as if they knew the spaces left behind would forever change the appearance of the baby of the family. I’m grateful for that because Corban is the last of three, and I’m in no hurry for him to rush through the stages that will lead him up and away from me.
When his teeth came out within hours of each other, Corban was disturbed by the space left behind. He didn’t think it looked right, and he knew it didn’t feel right: strange, slippery, smooth and empty. And there was that tiny bud of white poking through, a new tooth, waiting to grow into the space left behind. There are no choices to be made here; this is a natural process that all of us pass through, but it’s a miraculous one to ponder.
Sometimes life does that to us too, leaving behind, through no choice of our own, empty space, unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Things change and we are left dealing with a new landscape—physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially, spiritually—that doesn’t look or feel right. After all, who is not just a little afraid, just at first, of pure space, the breathtaking, empty and unfamiliar space of unlimited possibility and opportunity?
Unlike losing a tooth to make way for a new one, we often do have a choice about what will fill that space in our lives. We can choose to make way for something new, which sometimes means we have to be willing to let go of something old. But it’s all about what we can get when we give something up… quid pro quo.