Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Giving it away II

It seems lately I am running in circles. You know the when you have over committed yourself...I go from this place and do this thing, then jump in my car and go somewhere else.
I seem like I am never home. It seems I don't even have time for a haircut.

I left the house at 6:15 yesterday and didn't get home until 9pm. Football game.
Speaking of...we won again. In spite of us. I am telling you we are not very good but the teams we are playing are a lot worse. Maybe I am not giving the guys enough credit.
We played last in 39 degree weather. It was cold. The weird thing is that it was 78 this weekend and it is suppose to get to 68 this afternoon.
This morning I was scraping ice off my windshield. That's a rarity.

I GOT TICKETS. SEC Championship here I come. I have never been to this game. I hope I don't jinx the team.
I was starting to think I wasn't going to be able to get them. And no thanks to all of you (well one person thought she might be able to help but it was another dead end...shout out DS).

I haven't been watching to much media lately (except sports) but I did watch this movie Valley of Elan. It was very good. I mean real good. If it not on your queu it is a definite winner.
I am so behind on my TV I don't know how many weeks behind I am. But I caught an episode of How I Met Your Mother and I was laughing out loud again.
It was the Naked guy episode. I am still laughing when I think about this one part. That guy Marshal is so funny.
I still think Worst Week is funny. I think the physical comedy is not that funny but I think the show is funny.

Okay to the topic. Giving it away.
I don't know if you guys get to see all the comments but I wanted you to see this one.

How many days a year do you just open your doors to people who cannot afford to pay? I mean, there is only so much time that you can donate your services. You also have to make a living. Why can't she come during one of those days? Anyway, I really admire what you are doing and you have inspired me to take one week off per year and volunteer my services to the poor. I am starting in 2009. I will be volunteering in Jerusalem at a welfare clinic. Jews and Palestinians are both served there. You can check it out by googling Dental Volunteers in Israel. They also have a video running on You tube. But I really can't afford to give my services away to everybody that can't pay. I won't be in business very long.

This comment is packed full of jewels.
Lets talk about them. He asked how many days do I open my door? Officially...one. Unofficially...everyday.
I kind of made it known that I am the one I want people to come to.
I have a patient that is a principle of a local middle school. She told me she was having trouble finding a dentist to help some of her students that were in dental pain and didn't have money get them out of pain.
I was kind of insulted. I said, "HOW ABOUT ME?!!!". (I wasn't really insulted but I was thinking somehow I am not getting the message out there.) Maybe they think that since my office is nice, or that because I am not a clinic (I am thinking out loud).

I told this woman I want to be the first person you call. Can you imagine being a teacher of a 6 year old that can't eat her food because she has a tooth ache for 2 weeks?
I told this woman that I don't want you to think about anyone else, I want you to call me. I will take care of all of them. I also told her to tell all her teachers.
Now this brings up another point. People know what kind of dentist you are. They now start to think you are a good guy.
Who do you think the teachers want to come to when they need a dentist.
Some people can call this self serving. "Yeah, you are doing the "right" thing just to market yourself". I could understand where they are coming from.
But this is not why I do it... but it is a benefit (I think it is more the Lord taking care of the "cheerful giver.")
You have no idea how many people have come to me for New Patient Exams because they saw my name in the paper "about that free dental day."
You know the principle I was telling you about...well two weeks later she called me with a student who was in pain. I saw the girl and took an abscessed tooth out. It took me about 20 minutes. No big deal, right?
The girl was thrilled and she went back to school and told everyone.
The next day a teacher brought me a bunt cake just to thank me. The next week another teacher brought her daughter in to get her teeth cleaned.
I mean there is marketing and then there is this stuff.
So when the comment-er says, "he can't afford to give his services away"...I don't think I could afford not to.

Now remember the young lady I was talking about on Monday. Well, I saw her today. Her teeth were fine. I mean she had 5 cavities and I will restore those no problem. But her teeth are really crowded. I mean really crowded. Like she is missing her upper laterals and her lower anteriors have three teeth across and one tooth lingual to the three. So what does this mean to me? Well her treatment is not done. I start in on my specialists.
I use 2 orthodontist exclusively. I know them. I like them and we have a good relationship.
I will call one of them up today. I will tell them her story and he will probably give her orthodontics.
I know some of you are thinking, "this is too much". You are saying, "not everyone can afford braces...so why do it for someone you don't know. Not everyone who needs braces should get braces. Braces are a luxury." And I would agree with this.

Okay you know I am a Christian and these are the kind of things I battle myself.
Jesus says the poor will always be among us. This means to me that what ever I do there will still be more need. But...
He also gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan.
In this parable a man gets beaten and robbed and is laying in the street. A priest sees him and just moves to the other side of the street. Then the Levite does the same thing. Then a Samaritan was walking on the road and sees this beaten, broken man. He comes to his aid. He washes his wounds and puts the man on his donkey and takes him to an inn. Giving the inn keeper money he tells the inn keeper to take care of this man. Then he says to the inn keeper I will be by back her on my return journey and I will reimburse you if there is any extra expense.
Now we are suppose to just clean their wounds or are we suppose to bring them to the inn and give them a little spending cash.
Oh yeah, about my new patient...
Did I mention she has 4 impacted wisdom teeth?

Lastly, for today, my comment-er says, "you also have to make a living".
This is true but to whom much is giving much is asked (or something like that).
I mean how much is enough. I know I make a great living. How much more do I need? If I make $100,000, which is more than 99.9% of the world, and about in the 98th percentile in America, do I need more? Okay, how about if I make $150,000, would I be greedy if I wanted more? Okay how about $250,000, if I get to this plateau I will start giving more?

Now I am not being condescending to the comment-er because it is a valid statement.
I just look at myself and see how blessed I am. I look at all the excess in my life and I know I can give away a lot more and still not feel pinched.
My favorite movie is Schindler's List. Remember the part where the war is coming to an end and the Nazi's are killing Jews faster and faster and Schindler is trying to buy them. But Schindler is running out of money. He looks at what he has done and to him it still isn't enough. So he starts pulling the buttons and cuff links of his jacket and says, "use these."
He looks at his life and thinks about all the money he has wasted and how that money could have saved one more life.
Man was that powerful to me.

I will leave you there,
I have much more to talk about on this subject.
I am interested in hearing what you have to say,
John

3 comments:

Dr. Ethan said...

Wait...I'm confused. My wife and I used to "give it all away" and then we read your blog about how $150,000 per year is not enough so we cut back. Now you're saying we need to give more away? Which is it???

Just kidding! Loved, loved, loved this entry. Lots of good points and great practical wisdom. I love how you process out loud with your audience and allow each reader to conclude what's right for them after offering them some food for though. Great stuff!

Debby Sutton said...

1. Shout out received. Doing what I can.
2. Rock it out on the tickets -- give the details.
3. The Naked Guy -- was HILARIOUS!!! was busting a gut watching it. When he started going on in the elevator -- thought I was going to die!

peace

Wes said...

I concur with DS. Naked Guy Rocked. The poses were a riot. Proud of what you're doing John and your struggle to do more. Thanks so much for your generosity to me.

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