Many of you will have heard that saying and understood its meaning but some may not. Before I continue with the theme of this post I will explain what a saint really is. Notwithstanding what the dictionary definition is, a saint in real terms is described in Scripture. When saint Paul corresponded with the believers (in Christ) in the various places dotted about the Mediterranean Sea he began by writing ‘To all the saints in….’. He was addressing them as saints and therefore by the same token all those who are believers today can call themselves ‘saints’. Incidentally, there is no hierarchy in sainthood as some churches would have us believe. They talk about ‘special’ saints and address them using the capital letter ‘S’ but in fact all saints are simply those who are followers of Christ. To be a Christian (saint) is to have among many things, patience and forbearance especially when all things seem to be coming against us.
Over the last weekend I began to feel a tenderness and sensitivity in one of my front (incisor) teeth and after a day or so I began to feel a general ache beneath the surrounding teeth. I knew a visit to the dentist was needed but in the meantime I kept the pain down and rinsed often with an antiseptic mouthwash believing it to be an infection rather than a tooth problem. By Thursday morning I could no longer put off going to the dentist but I had two electrical jobs scheduled. The first one was at nine o’clock and was easy to do so I spent little time there. My next job although quite a few miles distant would take me past my dentist‘s surgery so I called in there to make an appointment. As by now I was suffering with toothache I was fortunate to get an appointment at 2.15, immediately after their lunch break. It was only ten o’clock so I had time to go to my next job and complete it. I drove off but about a mile from my destination and on a country lane I could hear a strange noise so I stopped the van to see if the ladders on the roof were secure. They were but then I looked beneath the van to see the exhaust end box on the road. I could do without a problem like this at that moment for I wasn’t feeling too good, was a little tired and I wanted to get on with the day ahead. It is fortunate that I was in a van carrying electrical cables and tools. A length of earthing conductor and five minutes on my stomach soon had the exhaust box supported and I was on my way. A simple steel strap wraps around the box and is suspended from a flexible rubber band but the strap had corroded leaving no support for the box. I arrived at the house and was greeted by an old lady who after hearing my story promptly made me a cup of tea. I discovered that her husband had taken the dog for a walk but that if I needed a long ladder there was one on the extension’s roof. I was to replace a floodlight but it was at high level. I don’t carry long ladders now for I don’t usually work at such height from a ladder at my age. I made an exception and got on with it but it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t straightforward. I will spare you the details suffice to say it was a proverbial pain and just something else to try to rub me up the wrong way. The second light unit I had to replace was at low level and I thought that would be far easier but again there were problems. What else could go wrong? Finally I was able to drive back homeward stopping off at the dentists on the way but I was over an hour too early for the appointment. I found a place to park the van and walked the short distance across the busy main road to the surgery. By now I was in real pain but had to sit it out. I was the only patient in there at that moment and for a while afterward. I was also feeling quite hungry but could I really eat anything before seeing the dentist as I couldn’t brush my teeth? What dentist wants to see a mouth full of bits of food? I could eat later. I was more concerned about the toothache which was getting worse and a newly developing headache. I was a wreck! Finally I was sitting in the chair with the nice young dentist peering into my mouth. He is so nice and has the dubious pleasure of looking after my dental needs. He treated me on my last visit and will remain my dentist as long as he is there. He took an x-ray and five minutes later I was called into the room again to be told I had two teeth which needed filling and I had two abscesses also. They were in separate places and were caused by an infection. He prescribed antibiotics which I have to take for the next few days, My next appointment on the 18th inst. will be the first of five in order for him to do what is necessary. This is going to cost me a pretty penny! At the reception I was to have the prescription stamped and I had to arrange for the next appointment but all I wanted to do was to get the prescription filled out at the chemist store two doors away and go home. There was a problem, I had a bad headache, the phone rang continually, the only receptionist had her hands full with another patient and there were other people ahead of me in the queue. Soon I was in the chemist but they were busy in there too! At last I was sitting in the van whereupon I took one of the antibiotic capsules and a headache tablet I keep in there with the water I also keep in the cab. I could go home but no, I had to visit the tyre and exhaust depot first to see if they could do the repair only to be told when I got there that they no longer hold stock and the part would have to be ordered but that I could drive a couple of miles to a service station who might have them in stock. The drive took me out-of-town in the opposite direction to home. The guy there told me the bad news, no, they didn’t have the part but it could be there the following morning. It would also necessitate replacing the tail box as the strap securing it is now welded to the box! That meant extra expenditure to the tune of £70. I couldn’t have the work done in the morning as I had a job to do so made the appointment for later in the afternoon. When I got home all I wanted to do was sit down and doze off to sleep but I needed something in my tummy and ate some fruit. It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. The phone rang and it was yet another job request. Now just to rub salt in my wounds I discovered I had problems with updating Norton security on my computer and had also lost the Norton toolbar again for the fourth time. I have had nothing but problems with Norton when using Firefox ever since I upgraded to Windows 10. Once was acceptable, if anything should be acceptable, twice was an irritation, then three and now four times is really not acceptable. However I took in in my stride though in fact wanted to scream. I contacted the Norton help desk and was again connected to an agent who took control of my computer and with great efficiency had the problem sorted in less than thirty minutes. It is reasonable to hope that this will be the final time but who knows? Despite everything that happens in my life I remain patient and unruffled but then I have the patience of a saint.