One afternoon, a patient walked into our office without an appointment with tooth pain. After telling me her symptoms, she burst into tears. Through sobs she apologized for crying and said that she has been having difficulties in her life and has been struggling with finances and personal problems. She kept trying to choke back tears and said that she had tried different offices but she was turned away because they had told her that she was an adult and adults should not cry for dental treatment. She was experiencing hardships and on top of it all, she had excruciating pain.
I listened and told her, "You can cry in front of me and I am going to help you."
It was as if a huge burden was taken off her shoulders. In that moment, in seeing her struggle to get the care she needed, I saw the reason I do what I do—to care and to show compassion. I could listen and provide what care was in my power. After treatment to alleviate pain, she shook my hand. In that moment, I could see how by simply listening and caring, I was honoring her humanity.
Now I cannot do all the things, all the time. But I can sure do something every day and you can too.
We are all in different phases and stages in life that limit what we can do. And we each have our own struggles and burdens. Still, even in our own busy lives, we can advocate for others. At minimum, we can care and we can love and we can pray. Today's Responsorial Psalm says, "Lord, come to my aid!" Let us be His hands and feet.
We are called to care for the most helpless among us—the elderly, the unborn, the disabled, the refugee, the poor, the incarcerated, the exploited.
It took one person advocating for Jeremiah to draw him out of cistern in today's First Reading. It takes one person to advocate. Be that person.
Take a look at what the Catechism teaches us about helping others.
Dr. Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife to Paul, mom to three little ones, and practices dentistry at a public health community center for low income families in the Bay Area, California. She (unashamedly) thinks ice cream is its own food group, loves anything Harry Potter, does not leave the house without wearing sparkly earrings, and is an enthusiastic proponent of the Oxford comma. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book, Rise Up. Find out more about her here.