Week 2, Day 4 of Calling on Washington: Gratitude and Resilience

Being thankful is a funny thing. Sometimes gratitude feels like a force that reaches out and grabs you. A stranger five-antennas-at-narrabriwalks up to you with concert tickets; the guy ahead of you on the bridge pays your toll; your flatmate cleans up her dishes without you having to ask twice; your partner stops on the way home for more milk without you having to ask once – and you can’t help but feel like you’ve found something precious, just by being in the right place at the right moment. Just by luck. Other times, you burn yourself hard at both ends to make a deadline but no one notices; you clean the house top to bottom and no thanks come your way; you bring home twenty dollars of delicious-smelling chinese takeout ,yet all your partner wants to do is to crawl into bed and pass out. In those instants, gratitude feels like the acknowledgement that you more than earned but failed to find – like a pampered house pet that stubbornly refuses your affections, no matter how many treats you give it.

A graphic displaying the interconnectivity between climate change, adaptability, vulnerability, and resilience; for climate resilience. By Quokka-roo, Courtest of Wikimedia Commons. Created on 7 May 2014.

A graphic displaying the interconnectivity between climate change, adaptability, vulnerability, and resilience; for climate resilience. By Quokka-roo, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Created on 7 May 2014.

The difference between scenario #1 and scenario #2 isn’t the luck or the treats, it’s you. It’s me. It’s our level of resilience in that moment. It’s how ready we are to adapt; how vulnerable we are to potential insults and injuries; how prepared we are to feel gratitude over the fact that hey, at least there is a house to clean (though maybe I won’t be doing it all myself next time); and, “YES, this ENTIRE BOX of scallion pancakes is mine, ALL MINE. It’s no good cold, anyway.” Gratitude isn’t an external force by any measure. It’s our our weapon against grief.

All this is to say: it’s hard sometimes to be grateful for everything, top to bottom, beginning to end, particularly when you’re in the middle of a story with no conclusion in sight. I don’t know where this country is going, and taking us along with it. I don’t know how best to help it, and, sometimes, if help is even possible. I do know that I am grateful to have a country worth helping, full of people worth helping, and that my ability to do so – my resilience in this effort – is pinned to the fact that I am grateful to be alive in this time and in this place. Grateful to have the chance to adapt and cto hange; to eat take out chinese food while its still hot, and the next day when it isn’t; to use up the milk and maybe remember to grab some more; to have a house to live in and a country to live in, though both may be big and messy and more than a handful. Grateful, more than anything else, that I don’t live alone. As long as that’s true, I can keep going.

I hope that you have everything that you need to keep going this Thanksgiving, and that you are grateful.

Today, I took the president-elect’s plan-of-action survey and called Paul Ryan’s line – (202) 225-3031 – to express my views on the ACA.

If you would like more information on what the Affordable Care Act does to help people on Medicare – which is projected to be more financially stable under the ACA – feel free to read the fact check.

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