I think I’m the only girl I know whose teeth are falling out of her head, and I’m not a developing six year old with baby teeth. I’m contacting Tennessee Vital Records tomorrow to request a change of birthplace before my wardrobe is extracted from my closet and replaced with cut-offs, tank-tops, and flip-flops from my neck of the woods fashion.
My first impression of this new dental office is how different it is from other medical and dental clinics I visit. First, there are no ugly, mercury filled fluorescent tubes in the ceiling, or sick, snotty nosed, screaming toddlers contaminating every inch of a two foot high environment. The receptionists here are helpful and polite and I’m sitting in a cushioned chair, pulling current magazines off the coffee table to fill my wait time and drill my mind. Oh, look, an article about the first artists in this month’s National Geographic. It’s a fun read about animals, nature, and culture, but I have to pick through the “six billion years ago” bad science, evolution nonsense. I’m also enjoying an office that offers four flavors of Xylitol (a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener) chewing gum, cocoa butter for your dry lips, and wintergreen flavored mouthwash. Where are the lollipops?
I’m escorted back to exam room ten at DeMercy Dental to get a comprehensive oral evaluation, and an opportunity to share ministry notes with the family owned and operated dental staff. Their family name, DeMercy, is no coincidence. How did I get connected with this family of dentists in Roswell? Well, I’m experiencing what the evening plenary speaker, Bob Lupton, spoke about at last year’s Christian Community Development Flourish Conference. Lupton said, “Programs are vitally important, but they are not sufficient. The building blocks of neighborhoods are neighbors… incarnational relocation is the end of isolation.” That’s right. Left to my own devices, I am wired to self-destruct, not build bridges. God’s ways are not my ways.
The generous dentist, Amanda, said she will donate her free time and dental skills to restore my nine dental codes: D7140, D2392, D2393, D6750, D6240, D2740, D2950, D2391, and D2331 in just 3 visits. Where Amanda’s money is, there you will find her heart also. I will receive her gift and capitalize on it with the same respect that she earned it. I am going to have more silver caps and crowns in my mouth than the sounds of “Silver Bells” at Christmas.
Health and longevity are in my denominational DNA, but I’m a transplant protein strand and a poor example of our health message. Besides, I never think about living longer, but how many people can I feed. “Miss. Stacy, why do you walk funny?” nine year old Mo asked me one hotlanta day walking out of the community garden together. “Well, why do your teeth look funny?” I laughed quietly to myself. Is our food supply so degraded that our bare bones are neglected essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to work properly?
God has been so merciful to me, and I can’t stop smiling. I get to keep my teeth, and I have 10,000 more reasons to trust in God.
~ §tacy §weeney
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