GRATITUDE

Ruth Ridgeway - Gratitude

I've moaned - a lot - about the country I live in (UK).

Mostly because I'm a 365 summer kinda gal that after 35 years I still hasn't acclimatised to (far too much) cold, rain, wind.

And yet while scrolling/procrastinating through my Facebook feed, I just saw a video where kids were being shamed at school when they couldn't afford lunch.

 Some had been sent home with stamps on their arms to tell their parents they had no money for food. Some had been made to do chores, including clean their friends tables in the dining hall while they watched them eat. Others had food they'd try to buy taken away.
 

My first gut wrenching thought... 

What The actual F***?!

Growing up my own mum was on benefits at times from earning a super low wage, yet I ate at school every day without issue because there was a policy in place where you had free school lunches if your household income was below a certain level. You got to eat just fine just like all the other kids.

When my guy was in an accident almost three years ago (which left him paralysed), he had emergency care for free - no questions asked - along with almost a year of hospital care, meds, rehab and £11,000 of 'special screw things' which hold his spine in place.

All free.

All his meds, follow up doctors, nurses and specialists appointments since, again, all free (which he'll likely need for the rest of his life).

Our NHS again saved his life again a few weeks ago, and has provided all the care/support/meds he's needed since. Again, all for free.

Around eight(-ish) years ago I found myself in a tricky spot in life, and without a job, I had zero idea how I was going to pay the rent because my debt was near maxed out

Yet because I'd paid all my taxes etc until then, I applied and received government (benefit) support for a while which covered my rent and just enough for bills/food until I found another job a couple months later.

And those things really only scratch the surface, because it doesn't even cover other ways I've benefitted from being born a UK citizen, like getting to go to school - and college - for free.

And now I can't help but be wracked with guilt, for all the moaning I've done about the (far too much) cold and rain and wind instead of sunshine, because as imperfect as it might be, my home country has provided a safety net (paid my rent, fed me, given me an education, saved my guys life etc etc etc) when it's really been needed.

So as much as I'd still love a little more sunshine ;) - after speaking with so many friends/clients I've met around the world in the last few years who don't have this, well, I can safely say my #Grateful pants have found their way back on.



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