Posted: Dec 1st, 2010
This is generally the time of year where we take stock of the things in our lives for which we are truly grateful: family, friends, jobs, the Giants winning the world series. All the things that bring us the feelings of joy, contentment, and security. When life seems to be running smoothly, without hiccups, these tend to be the moments we are more inclined to give thanks.
But what about when things don’t go as planned? Maybe you’ve lost your job, your dog ran away, and you think things can’t get any worse. Then what do you have to be grateful for? Gratitude is generally not the first feeling these circumstances are likely to evoke.
Just before Thanksgiving, I took a yoga class where the instructor themed the session “Gratitude.” He emphasized how, in life, we should try to be grateful for what we have, even when things seem hard, frustrating or downright impossible. For example, when we hold a difficult pose, the instructor encouraged us to stick with it and be mindful of the discomfort while trying to stay focused, even in the face of pain and frustration. Then he said something that really struck me: be grateful that you have arms and legs, and that you even have the capacity to know pain.
I feel the theme of gratitude is relative to our fight — and any fight for social justice. Things do not always run smoothly. There will always be setbacks, obstacles, and disappointments, but we can’t let that stop us. I am grateful that we have strong single payer movements both in California and nationally, and that SB 810 and HR 676 even exist. They’re not perfect bills, but we have them. I’m grateful for the men and women who came before me, who spent their lives fighting for national health insurance, knowing they might never see it in their lifetime. I’m grateful for the dedicated activists who believe that health care is a human right, and a system which profits off of the sick is corrupt at its core and needs to be dismantled.
We might not always agree with each other, or see eye-to-eye, but we’re all here because we believe it can be better. It has to get better and we are the ones who are going to lead the way. We have a lot more than most. And we’re all-in: for the good, and the bad. There’s a saying that one must feel pain to know joy, face disappointment to know excitement. Life’s a continuum, it’s about give and take. Nothing in life worth fighting for is easy; never has been, never will be.
So as you run the gamut of giving thanks this holiday season, don’t forget about your arms & legs, and the glory that is the single payer movement.
Viva Medicare for All!