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True Grace

Posted Oct 17 2012 9:48pm

“The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed- It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes.”    ~William Shakespeare~

In the last few posts I talked about what it takes to be a good candidate for employment.  Today I want to tell you about a wonderful boss.  It happens to be my boss, Dr. Nigel Morgan.  The main thing that makes Dr. Morgan a great boss is his ability to see the good and the specialness in everyone.  I noticed this quality in him very early in our working relationship when he patiently listened to an irate, older patient who was unfairly blaming him for something someone else did. He listened patiently and worked with her to come to a satisfactory solution. As I watched, I realized that I would have been hard pressed to feel as much equanimity as he seemed to be feeling. His attitude made a big impression on me.

About a year ago, I made the worst mistake of my dental assisting career.  I recemented two provisional crowns with permanent cement.  At first, I just thought the temporaries were just really hard to get off.  Dr. Morgan came in and tried, but they wouldn't budge.  As he tried to cut them off it began to be obvious that there was a problem and he said, "This seems like permanent cement.  The longer he drilled the worse my horror grew as I began to accept the fact that he was right. He basically had to prep the temps off and re-prep the teeth. I was dying and he just kept his even temperment. When we were done I apologized profusely. It was obvious that I was very upset by my mistake and Dr. Morgan just said, "It's ok, you've never done anything like that before, everyone makes mistakes." He said it with a kind look on his face, rather than hissing it through gritted teeth. It was a mercy given for the benefit of another with no need for self-satisfaction.

Today, I was grateful to have had the example he set a year ago.  One of our hygienists came to me and was obviously upset. She said she'd done something really bad. I asked her what and could see she didn't want to tell me. Finally, she said she'd realized she'd just recemented a temporary on her mother with permanent cement.  Her mother has very limited opening and is difficult to work on.  Just the thought of having to prep off that temp was enough to make me go right into the death act. Instead, I looked at the distress on her face and remembered how kind Dr. Morgan had been to me when I'd done the very same thing. I wanted to be as kind to her as he'd been to me. I just said, "Well, I know how you feel, I've been there myself.  We'll just have to have her come in so we can take it off." I could see she would continue to beat herself up for a good part of the afternoon, she didn't need anything but mercy from me. As a result, the day went on without misery and we all went home happy.

Think back over the past week.  Were there times when you could have shown mercy, but gave into the anger of the moment?  How did you feel once you calmed down? The next time you feel like reacting in an angry way, stop yourself. Picture the result of that compared to what the result would be if you reacted with mercy. The ability to consider the good of another when you find yourself in a stressful situation is the definition of true grace.

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