Grace is my name. A name I chose for myself to reflect my journey. If it wasn’t such a schlep to change my name-not the Home Affairs part but then changing it with the bank, medical aid etc-I would have added the name Grace to my official names. I truly believe I’m alive and (trying to believe I’m) thriving by grace alone.

Today, I went to the endodontist. Not for the infection in my bottom left, but to fix a tooth that broke in half and lost it’s filling. On my bottom right. What did she find? The root canal treated tooth next to IT has a chronic infection below it too. A root canal (I must add) she didn’t do-like the others that have gone wrong. Want to make it clear. The others were done by dentists years ago. Two were not even filled all the way to the bottom!

Try imagine how I felt as I heard the news of yet more bone loss and infection. I’d had twinges of pain but brushed them off. But here we are, yet another cost. Another four hours of treatment spread over a month. More hours away from my beloved pupils. More parking money too. More painful injections. More post-treatment pain. And we aren’t even done with the other side!

I felt defeated. Tired. “How much more, dear Lord!? You KNOW I’m on my knees as it is. I can’t get any lower! We’re already paying thousands we so desperately need elsewhere!😭”

I froze. As they put the isolator around my tooth and started working, the endodontist told me, “I know you’ve paid a lot already… I won’t charge you for the re-treatment. I’ll just charge you for the filling that I’ll put on once everything is done. But this needs to be done. I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight if I didn’t get you healthy.”

I lay back, and tears started rolling down my face..and onto my ears. Her assistant asked if I was ok. With mouth stuck open, all I could say as a yes was, “Uh-huh.”

I was ok. But I wept as I thought of each child and the costs associated with them. And how her offer was helping. Not food, not clothing, not school costs. But the medical stuff each one has gone through and needs to go through. I wept even more as I thought of my little angel and her neurologist’s visit. As I’m typing now, I’m thinking of the chronic meds three of my children and I are on. I couldn’t stop the tears. I’d stop for a while. Try think of something else. But yesterday I took my firstborn for treatment, today was me, tomorrow is my middle girl and Thursday will be me going to yet a different specialist. It’s a lot. No wonder my mind kept wondering back to my life and worries.

I felt sorry for myself, back in pain as I lay there. But I also felt grateful. After the appointment, she repeated that she will not charge me for the treatments, only for the filling. The “thank you” I uttered was not enough. Inadequate. So I got home, and I just sent her a long WhatsApp message telling her what her and the assistant’s sacrifice of time and money mean to me. Detailed a bit of what was on my mind as I wept in the chair. Told her I know we all have problems. That problems aren’t only a financial drain, but a mental stressor too. And with her offer, she’s strained herself, but provided me with some relief. And I truly appreciate it.

I have relatives trying to get me to forsake my God in order to get physical healing through spiritualism and topics I don’t even want to touch. But like Job, I’d rather keep my soul intact and lose my life. To paraphrase him as I’ve paraphrased him all my painful decades,

Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him… And though after my skin worms destroy THIS body, yet in my flesh I WILL see God.

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