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Walking in Beauty

The 11,306-foot summit of Mount Taylor in northwestern New Mexico was my destination one sunny autumn morning. But what I sought that day was something else: understanding and forgiveness.

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The Kiss

The year is 2015, and I’m on my thirteenth surgical mission, but my first to Venezuela. I am a plastic surgeon, traveling with a nonprofit that offers free plastic surgery for people with birth defects such as cleft lip. We’re making a two-week visit to the coastal city of Cumaná, 250 miles east of Caracas.

Halfway through our first day of surgery, I’m asked to come out to the waiting area to assess a young

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