On May 19, 2014 I wrote my first letter to Governor Haslam asking him to expand healthcare in Tennessee. It feel like I have been writing forever, but it is still not quite a year. I started simply to keep sane. The decision not to expand Tenn Care was tragic for us and the letters were my way of not drowning in the tragedy. I was told many times it was pointless to try, that nothing would ever change but it was never really about changing things as much as trying to make sure I was not changed. I was scared…. no terrified. And I had to find something more than fear. Much then (and now) was out of control. I had to find a way to do what I could but also survive what I couldn’t. So I wrote.
It has been a year several years long. In some of what I have written I have seen myself at my best. I have also showed the worst. I have tried to be honest. At times I have been fair. At times I have been judgemental and blaming. At times I have had important things to say. At times the only important thing was that I was trying to say something. Rage has been real and still is. But so has joy and hope. At times I have given up. I hope I never give in.
I have found there is a difference in enthusiasm and passion. Enthusiasm is often a function of how things are going. Passion is a function of how I am doing. It is about what I treasure when it would be easier not to treasure anything. It is about who I am and the person I hope to become.
Passion can survive fatigue and discouragement. It is sometimes a quiet and still voice… sometimes loud and raging. It is in the passion for justice that justice is most often found.
I have seen a great passion grow in this state and believe we will in the end bring health care justice to this state. To many people it has become a new common sense and it is hard to understand those who don’t yet know. The community of committed is growing and will only grow more.
I don’t remember not being tired. I worry a lot and I know that is part of it. Waiting is not my best thing and it seems you most have to wait only when you really don’t want to. But I guess if practice means anything it is a skill I will develop. I envy those who know easy days though. I really do.
I have seen people change. I know they can. I know one legislator who told me a few years ago he could not imagine voting for health care expansion. Now he tells me he doesn’t see how anyone could still say we can afford to do nothing.
Hold tight your passion. Help others to do the same. Time and history are on our side. The next months will be among the most important we will know.
Bless you for all you do. Insure Tennessee.