Every person who sits in one of our dental chairs has a story. Some of those stories sound much like our own, with similar joys and sadnesses as those we’ve experienced in our own lives. Others are laden with a kind of heartache and sorrow that seem a lifetime apart from our personal stories.
Those are the ones that tend to stop us right in our tracks.
Those are the stories that punctuate why we do what we do, and undoubtedly point to the providential orchestration of life.
A woman from Hays County, Texas made her way to our mobile dental clinic in Kyle, Texas after hearing about it on a local news broadcast. When she arrived at the Medical Mission at Home event, sponsored by Seton Healthcare Family, our team quickly noticed the significant bruising across her forehead, cheekbones, and jaw line.
The story she shared with us was chilling and horrifying.
Ten days earlier, she had been beaten with a hammer and stabbed with a screwdriver by her 17-year old son.
The horrific attack left her with lacerations, bruising, facial swelling, and three teeth broken in half. She came to the Hope Smiles dental clinic hopeful that we could help in some way as she navigated her painful recovery from the tragic accident (both physically and emotionally).
Sitting in our dental chair was a woman who was wounded deeply. The evidence of abuse and signs of physical pain were merely surface-level glimpses into her agony. Not visible to our human eyes, and yet impossible not to see, was the deep heartache, anguish, and emotional devastation she was also experiencing.
Though we couldn’t heal the deepest sources of her pain, we knew we could still play a part in her healing.
With the capability to perform full restorative work in our mobile clinic and our on-site volunteer specialists in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, we were able to rebuild her three teeth and restore a smile to her face.
As we handed her the mirror following the long procedure, tears welled up in her eyes. She smiled hugely, examining her teeth from all angles, in disbelief that her teeth had been saved and repaired. “No one would ever know my teeth were broken!”
With tears rolling down her bruised face, she lavished her thanks upon the team who had walked a stretch of her healing journey with her.
When she left our mobile clinic, she walked away a bit more whole than when she first came in the door.
She walked away with a glimmer of hope and healing. She walked away knowing that while this horrific tragedy is a part of her story, it is not the entirety of her story. And her story isn’t done being written yet.
Her smile as she waved goodbye was an unshakable reminder that each of us has a significant part to play in others’ stories. May we all stay mindful and open to what that might mean when it comes to those our journeys intersect with today.