Mother's Sage Advice

What intangible gifts do you get?

“Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so we might see the blessings we possess." —Max Lucado

My parents practiced medicine in the academic setting and strove to maintain their values of hard work, ethics, and honesty. My preteen years coincided with a time when the physician profession was undergoing change. Physicians were still recognized to be part of that noble profession, but private practice and medicine as a business endeavor was becoming more popular in our home town.

The elaborate trips, cars, and scooters given to the parents of some of my school friends were very different compared to the humble gifts of freshly home-baked bread and cakes, home-grown vegetables, and knitted scarves that my parents sometimes received. These friends no longer walked or took the bus with me, but rode in chauffeur-driven cars and went to private schools.

Unsure of the reason for this discrepancy, I asked my parents one day in an almost undermining condescending way, “You must not be doing your job well and perhaps are not very good physicians. How come you don’t get the same gifts as my friends’ parents who are also physicians?”

My mother held my hand and said, “But of course, I do get the best gifts. When my patients look at me and say, ‘God bless you’ or ‘Thank you’ or when students that I taught years ago recognize me in spite of my gray hair now, that’s the best gift.”

That conversation has remained etched in me, and I remind myself often of the core purpose of my vocation. My purpose comes not from the materialistic gifts I receive but from the relationships developed with other human beings.

This photo of my office wall shows some of the gifts I’ve received which represent the relationships I’ve been blessed to develop. Some of these gifts I described in my book, Resilient Threads, and even more are inscribed on my heart where not even words can convey my gratitude.

“Gratitude lifts our eyes off the things we lack so we might see the blessings we possess." —Max Lucado

#REFLECT: What are some of the best intrinsic or intangible gifts you’ve received?

If you have time to read or know people who do, I humbly suggest my recent book, Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being. If you have already read it, my publisher kindly asks me to suggest posting a review online at the bookseller’s website or on GoodReads, which helps other readers learn how the book may be of benefit.

In The News

Caring for health care workers: COVID-19 highlights need for mental health, self-care. May 10th, 2020 | by Wyatt Massey

I’m grateful to journalist Wyatt Massey of the Chattanooga Free Times Press for inviting me to share my thoughts.

How to prepare for the “new normal” while processing the experiences that health care professionals and people on #COVID19 frontline are facing? Health leaders can use the current moment to set a precedent. Thanks @news4mass

Staff photo by Tim Barber/ According to Dr. Mukta Panda, "We cannot deny the fact that there will be a consequence of the stress. We cannot deny the fact that everybody is going to face it."