I spent the better part of two hours in the dentist chair today, getting a cracked tooth repaired and topped with a temporary crown; the permanent crown will replace the temporary one in another couple of weeks. But the molar is old, with more cracks than the one prompting today’s repair. The permanent crown is only as permanent as the tooth that wears it, and the tooth is far from permanent. In a matter of years, the tooth will fail, requiring a root canal or a full replacement. But for now, just a crown.

The dentist chair isn’t a favorite destination for most of us, but it’s a place to be reminded of some profound truths. Today’s truth: every living, breathing being, toothed or toothless, is a temporary resident in this cosmos. Milliseconds or thousands of years, time ends for all things. Even the cosmos itself. None of us are permanent residents in this state; all of us move through death into the next reality. That is a truth that abides.

But we don’t leave life empty-handed, even if we can’t take anything with us. The love we have, given and received, remains and stays with us – a ribbon connecting all things in all times to every other thing and the God who brought it all into being. It’s as sure a truth as any death, and it, too, abides.

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