You Never Know What a Day Will Bring
A worn out phrase in my personal vocabulary. It’s versatile. Sometimes I’ve had to force myself to use it in order to sustain myself, my own little hope formula. Other times, let the amazement flow.
I just feel the need to weigh in and express how deeply moved I am by the response to my PHS essay I posted this past weekend. I had no idea, truly no idea. I started writng last Tuesday but with new information coming out daily and the atmosphere being so tender and anxious for so many right now I ended up labouring quite a bit right up until Saturday. At best I intended it to serve two functions: to hopefully be a little love letter to all the courageous warriors I work alongside, and also to give some context to family and friends scattered across Canada who were beginning to track the media representation of what is transpiring.
It was strange how it came together for me. I posted it from the library in Snug Cove (cutest village name on the planet), BC, on Bowen Island. When I’m over there (which is often lately) I don’t have internet, I have to kind of schedule it into my day. The break from the constant digital demand is giving me my brain back. I made a simple facebook link rushing because the library was closing, my daughters were waiting, and we had diminishing daylight. I confess I was nervous, not knowing how it would be received. We left to visit our friends farm then returned home for dinner. A good friend texted me (roaming, what can I say) a beautiful thank you and I started to feel a bit more confident. Then another co-worker. This one had me wondering. I know this dude doesn’t do facebook. He honoured me so with his text that he made me tear up. I told my daughters I needed to head back into the village to freeload off of the wine store’s internet (I didn’t explain all that, I just did it) and realized that I had received email notices that strangers were commenting on my essay. I started to get excited.
I told my daughters that I might be on to something pretty cool, that hundreds of people might read my post. Sunday had me driving 3.5 hours to drop my daughters off at their mom’s then return to work my night shift. I had a few more updates on our trip and told the girls I would check the number of reads when I get to work and text them later in the week if I reach one thousand views. On my break, a little more than 24 hours after posting there were over 3700 views (I texted, you bet I did). After 48 hours over 5 thousand. Media started making contact and Tuesday afternoon the Globe and Mail posted a link with the headline “Basic Dignity is an essential service”. Feel free to quote it liberally. And it’s been read around the world. The local entertainment weekly the Georgia Straight has reprinted it and I’ve had some other media contact. Now the number of reads are approaching 7 thousand on my blog alone, not counting the Straight.
I’m a little rattled. I wish my blog looked better; that feeling you get when 7 thousand guests show up earlier than expected. But ultimately I’m ecstatic. Mainly I think it has served as a focussing point for frontline workers to confidently say- “What we do is amazing”. To feel what it’s like to stand in a calm center of truth while the tornadoes of accusation and fabrication whirl around us is truly powerful and critical at this time. It feels like our only power. And still, the traction beyond our collective story is most amazing.
The reason for traction beyond us, beyond Insite, the PHS, and the Downtown Eastside, beyond Vancouver, is that I think people want to know that the story is true. Thankfully it is. And I think the general climate around me, in this country for example, is that we value the fact that we can organize together to care for absolutely everyone. We can love them all. Nobody needs to be left out. That’s good news. That’s the world we expected and ultimately wish to create.
The love, honour, generosity of spirit, and respect I have received from co-workers, friends, and family is so humbling and absolutely life changing for me. I think I’m going to insist my daughters read all your posts when they come my way this weekend just to establish my place in any potential future disagreements. I’m so deeply grateful to have encountered each of you. Don’t lose hope. You never know what a day will bring.