Finding Gratitude in Disaster

Yesterday I left my house for the first time in about 2 weeks, and it was a surreal experience. The roads are often pretty empty here so that wasn’t of much alarm as I drove to the village, but once I got there things felt sooo different. Very dystopian. It was a sunny early evening and no one was in sight. I dropped packages in the box at the post office using a Lysol wipe on the handle and saw that the office windows were plastered with notices about social distancing and service updates. I drove past the gas station and saw gas prices had dropped to 98 cents/letre, a price point I haven’t seen since I was in my early 20’s. As I stepped out of my car a worker was spraying sanitizer over the pump and wiping the handles and buttons before I used them. I then filled my tank for just $30, even though I won’t be going anywhere I couldn’t help but think “just in case.”

I pulled into the parking lot of the local restaurant where we can now only order food for pick up. Again, the windows were covered in notices telling customers not to enter the building if they have any symptoms of Covid-19. They told us to enter the building only 1 person at a time and to wait outside until our turn. I paid by tap without touching anything except the pizza box, and as I left a staff member sprayed sanitizer over the door I had just touched.

I’m sure I’m not alone in being absolutely terrified by the state of things. To be honest, if I didn’t have a 2 year old to chase around all day I don’t think I would even be getting out of bed at this point. HOWEVER, I’m determined to remain functional for the sake of my family, friends, and frankly my own sanity (I only just felt like I was getting it back! Ha ha), so I’ve been taking plenty of breaks to think about the things I am thankful for in all of this. I would encourage everyone to take a few moments each day to focus on the positive, if you can (and please try).

1. Gratitude first and foremost for having a home to shelter in.

2. Gratitude that I already work from home and can continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Deep gratitude to Justin, who as a ferry worker is an essential service and therefore still employed as of now.

3. Gratitude for this community. The local businesses that have remained open are working hard to stay on top of cleaning and maintaining our access to food and supplies. The grocery store allows seniors a dedicated time slot at the beginning of the day and limits the number of shoppers for the rest of the day to keep us safe. Friends with a delivery business are travelling to Nanaimo to bring the community groceries at home. Farmers are offering fresh produce boxes dropped off at your door so we can continue to stay in place (Order yours here!)

4. Gratitude for the response from Canada’s government to implement life saving measures to slow expansion of the virus. Say what you want about Trudeau and the pipeline mess (and I’m not excusing that bullshit) I have to say the regular press conferences from outside his front door as he self isolates are about as comforting as can be right now. Financial support is being made available for small businesses, senior citizens, and accessible counselling for youth. Efforts are being made to provide front line workers with the equipment they need. Though it has yet to be made available, I’m hopeful about the additional financial support being offered to citizens during this time. It may not be perfect, but at least it’s better than the USA right now (my thoughts are with all my American friends.)

5. Gratitude to the people of British Columbia who have stayed home to help flatten the curve. The statistics up to now have been promising; I feel like we are doing the best we can and it is working.

6. Gratitude to all the workers on the front lines of this crisis! I have nurse friends working in Vancouver hospitals right now and I admire them so much. Big love to my union brothers and sisters (and everyone in between) who continue to work with the marginalized and most vulnerable citizens in the DTES. I am in awe. And big gratitude to the people participating in the 7pm cheers for our health care workers. To see everyone come together in this way to support each other is breathtaking.

To top things off, here are some positive news stories to lift your spirits!

Canadian social distancing

This 101 year old man survives Covid-19

This video of residents in Wuhan shouting Stay Strong out their windows to each other

Health care workers in Vancouver thank the public for their nightly cheers of support

This video from Vancouver ER doctor Jeff Yoo of cheers outside St. Paul’s Hospital

Shaw makes WIFI hotspots free so everyone can stay connected

All these Ivy League classes are available for FREE during the pandemic

This Colorado animal shelter has all their animals adopted during the outbreak

I’m sure there’s more, link your positive news stories in the comments! 🖤

A lovely exchange from LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow and author Neil Gaiman 🖤

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