Gratitude is habit of the heart that unlocks the fullness of life
"Thank you for my new smile, Dr. Bhatia. The kids at school don't tease me anymore, and I am no longer 'Bucktooth Barracuda.' " I laughed as I got wrapped in the skinny arms of a 12-year-old boy who had just got his braces off.
A wave of emotions swept over me, but the one that lasted as the day wore on was gratitude - to be given a platform that transforms lives in such a unique and lasting way was indeed a blessing.
My mind drifted back to a cold winter day in Nebraska, where I was in the last year of my dental school. I was exhausted after a long, hard day and was trying to navigate my way home on a snow clad road in my clunky car with bald tires. I clutched the steering wheel ferociously in a feeble attempt to keep the tire wheels from skidding, but alas, the snow overpowered my beleaguered set of tires, and I found myself in a ditch.
Tears rolled down my cheeks, and as I sat drowning in an ocean of self-pity, the radio station that was playing in the car went silent.
After about a minute, it started crackling... then, on a country music station, in the middle of Lincoln, Nebraska, there started up a song in Hindi (my mother's tongue), and that is how I knew that it was being sung just for me.
The translated version of that song said this: "Why oh why do you fret my child? Can't you feel me nigh? My love will drown your sorrows and fears... My hope will set you free."
That miracle - as I would like to call it - saw me through the travails of dental school, orthodontic residency and the startup of a new orthodontic practice. The struggle ended when the gratitude began. My heart seems to know that it is not the presence of happiness or the absence of trouble that brings gratitude. The presence of gratitude brings happiness and the will to overcome when the going is tough.
I resolve, therefore, to make gratitude a habit of my heart, so that in the words of Kahlil Gibran, I can "wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving." (And, might I add, "another day of changing lives in my own humble way.")
Kihei-Lahaina Orthodontics is located at 505 Front Street, Suite 202. Call (808) 661-9229 or visit www.kiheiorthodonticsmaui.com.