“I know what you’re thinking about right now,” said Susan, my dental hygienist while wielding the automatic plaque scraper of death, “From here on out you’re going to floss.”

I wanted to let her know I did floss regularly: every night before my regular six-month check up. But it’s hard to talk with a sandblaster in your mouth.

The dentist forces me into New Years Resolutions every six months, “Next time it will be different…” But something always comes up, like the desire to get to my pillow 118 seconds earlier (for those of you floss-challenged folks, that about how long it takes to clean your chompers).

And it’s not like I despise flossing. But when you’re trying to beat your wife into bed so you don’t have to turn out the lights, every 118 seconds count.

So little by little plaque starts advancing. I believe the wounded plaque general regroups his soldiers after the dentist and says, “We lost a lot of brave men today. You hung on through the scraping, but once she pulled out that sandblaster, we were lucky to cling to these gums. But we know this guy; he’ll eventually stop using the white whip. Then we’ll resume our attack, millimeter by millimeter. WHO’S WITH ME?!”

“Little” is a big word in Scripture.
“A little leaven spoils the whole batch…”
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands and poverty will come upon you like a robber.”

If Peter had gone to a dentist in the Bible he probably would have heard, “Oh ye of little flossing…” (some scholars think “Get thee behind me,” was because of bad breath)
Blessed are those who floss for they will receive mercy from Susan.
Beware the false flossers, for they will be cast into the place with weeping and gnashing of teeth (an obvious early reference to the six month check up).

You know the old phrase by Susan Burke (Edmund’s sister, also rumored to be a hygienist), “All that is necessary for plaque to triumph is that good people do not floss.”

A little goes a long way, for good or bad. 118 seconds is not that much of my day. But I’m tired. I’ll do it tomorrow. Ever notice how easily a few tomorrows’ turns into a few weeks, months, and then wonder why my power floss the night before has little effect.

Something’s happening little by little in our hearts and relationships:
– a little time away or with God
– a little conversation with or without our spouse
– a little time indulging or divulging an addiction
– a little time to ignore or influence a child, a friend, a neighbor

I bet when your check up rolls around you get “Good Flossing” stickers. So maybe plaque’s not gaining ground in your life, but what is? Little by little, let’s start some new habits…I’m starting one tonight…WHO’S WITH ME?!

P.S. Please don’t send me floss. I have plenty of boxes after the last 10 check ups.