Today’s Denistry – Oregon Mission of Mercy

Each of us wears many different hats – coach, teacher, doctor, fireman, student, spouse, parent, boss, etc.  On any given day we may act in several of these roles.  For some of us, we may be engaged in a plate-spinning act as we switch from responsibility to responsibility, doing our best to maintain a semblance of order.

Along with the parts we play in our daily lives, there is usually some foundational core that acts as a guidepost in all of our other activities.  This core serves to anchor us throughout life’s journey to those things that are most dear to us.  For example, in the course of our employment, an opportunity may arise to skim a little money from the company profits without being noticed.  Normally, we wouldn’t consider this, but, as times are tight and we are in great need of a little extra . . . And, of course, we would pay it back later.  As these thoughts pass through our mind we also recall that integrity has always been part of who we are.  Our parents had emphasized its importance when we were young.  Because of this foundation, we are able to find the wherewithal to maintain our integrity and do what is honest.

My foundation is built on Jesus Christ.  I strive to follow His teachings in everything I do.  When He taught that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, a lawyer questioned, “And who is my neighbor?”  Jesus responded with the parable of The Good Samaritan.  In summary, a man was traveling when thieves confronted him, took his possessions, beat him, and left him for dead.  A priest came upon him and passed by on the other side of the roadway.  Next, a Levite (someone assigned to help the priests in their work) approached the man and, as the priest did, passed by on the other side.  Last, a Samaritan came and saw the man.  Samaritans and Jews were not friendly to one another.  However, this Samaritan, seeing someone in need, stopped and helped the man, dressing his wounds, taking him to shelter, and paying for his continued care.  Jesus then asked the lawyer who of these men was a neighbor to the man who had fell among the thieves.  The lawyer responded, he who had shown mercy.

Last month, Annie, one of our wonderful hygienists, and I spent a morning working at St. Vincent De Paul.  As our time drew to a close and we prepared to head out to our separate plans for the remainder of the day, a woman arrived.  She informed the mobile clinic operator that she had been told she could get all of her teeth removed.  Each of us, the volunteer operator, his assistant, Annie, and myself had places to be.  Yet, looking upon this woman in need, we all chose to stay.  90 minutes and 24 extracted teeth later, this woman was all smiles and gratitude for the service we had rendered.  And we all felt richer for the sacrifice we had made.

It has been said that opportunities to serve are limitless, and yet they are also perishable.  And they almost always involve some degree of sacrifice on our part.  I do not know why the others chose to remain, but for me it was the foundation I have built on Jesus Christ and His teachings.  I am grateful for that foundation and I would encourage each of you, if you have not already, to define your foundation – the principles by which you will guide your life and contribute to the world.  Doing so will provide you with a clearer understanding of who you are and what you hope to accomplish.  It will also give you strength to press forward, giving up what you may want now for what you want most.

We are entering the final month of summer.  Check out the back cover to see some of the photos people have sent in from places they’ve been and teeth they’ve flossed.  Then, go out and get your own photo and send it to us.  You may win an iPad!!!  In September we will draw out one photo and the lucky one will WIN!

Many of you may remember the Mission of Mercy last September at the old South High in Medford where hundreds of volunteers gathered for two days and provided dental care to those in need.  This year, it will be happening in Portland on November 24-27.  Volunteers are needed and appreciated!  Please check out the following website and follow the links to the OrMOM if you are interested in being a part of this amazing event:

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Dr. James Burneson

Our practice is working together to realize a shared vision of uncompromising excellence in dentistry.

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