In 2015, Dr. Oliver Sacks, a world-renowned British neurologist, published an op-ed sharing his diagnosis of terminal cancer. He could have railed at the unfairness of it all. Instead, he focused on what he’d do with his remaining time, and he ended with the following:
I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.
I’ve thought about his words this week. We’re days away from celebrating Thanksgiving, and I’m so very grateful for the people in my life and the experiences I’ve had this year.
Gratitude Doesn’t Ignore Reality
Yes, things are far from perfect in our world. We still have room to improve in our state and communities. But this week, and in the weeks to come, I hope we can find a better balance between the good and the bad.
We need to be honest about the challenges we face and celebrate the accomplishments when they happen. We need to embrace the possibilities that come with change and respect the anxiety that comes with trying something new. But perhaps most of all, we need to appreciate the folks who step up to meet the challenges.
It’s hard to imagine we’ll always agree.
It’s hard to imagine we’ll always say the right thing during a debate without stepping on toes.
It’s hard to imagine we’ll always walk away without feeling the temptation to curse the guys on the other side.
But it’s easier to imagine that the outcome will be better if we start from a place of respect and gratitude. Respect for the people we work with and gratitude for the people who trusted us enough to elect us.
Gratitude Can Extend Beyond Thanksgiving
Try to contain your laughter if you think I’m being a “Pollyanna” about the current state of affairs.
Maybe I’ll take it back during the session if bills have stalled and people stop talking to each other. But last week during the North Idaho tour, I had a chance to meet many of the representatives and senators that will serve our state the next two years.
They’re good people. They care about serving their districts.
We won’t always agree.
We won’t always say the right thing.
We won’t always walk away from every debate feeling good about the “other” guys.
But I do think we’ll work well together to serve our communities and state. And for that, I give thanks this week.
Thank you for all your support. I wish you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.