Teeth. You need them for so many things, obviously. Eating, of course. But also speaking. And singing. And to present a certain … image, to the world around you.
Imagine all your teeth suddenly gone. Compound that w/ no insurance to replace them (expensive even with insurance. Now? Imagine that this is all the result of repeated beatings for who you are. Vicious beating that, more than 20 years later, come back with a vengeance. And take your teeth, as they once took your peace of mind, your safety. Your innocence. Perhaps your faith in humanity.
A friend wrote me this weekend, asking if I would consider donating to a project she’s involved in. It’s an Indiegogo project, Unabashed Smiles. The purpose of the fund is to replace the teeth of a man in her community, an independently employed singer and choral conductor.
His teeth, she told me — and the website story adds details — were badly damaged as the result of several beatings gay bashing when he was in high school. Beatings severe and frequent enough that his teeth need to be pulled.
I am so grateful for what I have in my life: my beloved, my sons… And the list stops there, because this man was BEATEN for who he loves. In many states in this country, he can’t adopt children. So the two top items on my gratitude list? They are dreams for him, as evanescent as my dreams of far less visceral wants.
My wisdom tradition stresses lovingkindness, and giving back. So I was glad to donate. As I hope you may be. I can’t make up for the evil done to Christopher, but I can let him know that there is much love in this world. And that just as he was victimised by evil, he can be the recipient of love.
I’m hoping you feel the same way. Just in case, here’s the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/unabashed-smiles/x/8455396. And thanks for listening.