This just in: We interrupt this crisis with some gratitude . . . .

In the past several days of this pandemic crisis, I have been involved, like many of my readers, in numerous online meetings and conference calls. I’ve also been editing projects for clients. While I haven’t had much time to read the newspapers, I have tuned into television or online news—the local supper hour show and CBC’s flagship evening program, “The National.”

The glut of coverage on Covid-19 (filling all and every newscast, daily) has made me wonder (and worry) about all of the other news that has been going on, unreported, for weeks. If a story isn’t about the present crisis, it isn’t worth covering, the media imply. And that reflects the values of the demographic who are watching.

But rather than reflect on crisis communication during this period of upheaval and isolation,  I want to join a still relatively small number of voices in our communities who set complaining aside and thank those who continue to provide “essential services” to most of us. The medical, hospital, pharmaceutical, home care, nursing home and medical support workers, truck drivers, grocery store employees, firefighters, police and paramedics, to name only a few.

Last Saturday, marketing genius Seth Godin said that the “thank yous” that are warranted here may be like the page of “acknowledgments” in a book, which tends to be “rarely read, and it comes out infrequently and it’s not so timely.”

Godin thought to correct that pattern and provided a lengthy list of  “thank yous” that I’ve excerpted here:

I’m filled with gratitude for the healthcare workers who have shown up to do the jobs that they never hoped to have to do, risking so much to help people. From docs … who are beginning their career in the middle of this, to retired nurses who are putting on their scrubs to help out again.

And thank you to the frontline workers and volunteers . . . from the food market to the fire department, from the gas station to the police. They’re showing up and doing it with grace.

Thanks to Zoom for dealing with a 20x increase in traffic and not missing a beat. Just like so many other tech companies that are quietly doing what they said they would do.

Thank you to the non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs and project managers who have figured out how to pivot on a dime, protecting the jobs of their teams and serving their customers in new and powerful ways.

Thanks to every parent who is at home with kids, balancing competing priorities and still being there for the ones who need them. And thanks to resilient and patient therapists, teachers and spiritual leaders who are figuring out how to be there, fully present, even if it’s on a video screen.

I’m grateful for the unseen but not anonymous people who are delivering packages, maintaining webservers, fixing the things that break and showing up every single day.

And I’m glad that so many people are ignoring the charlatans who are trying to profit from panic and untested remedies, preying on the fear that comes with a pandemic. And proud of anyone who stops clicking on a media channel that’s in the business of profiting from the attention that comes with amplifying that same fear.

. . . . .And I’m grateful to you, loyal reader, for taking the long view, for leading, for spreading ideas that matter and showing up and doing work that you’re proud of. . . . We wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you’re leading despite/because of what’s going on around us, thank you.”

Godin says he lists only a “tiny fraction” of those he’d like to. He encourages us all to post our own lists.

I started my list in the third paragraph of this posting and while it, too, will be incomplete, I want to add to it:

  • Thank you to my colleagues in marketing and communications with whom I’m daily rolling up my sleeves on projects; and who show such maturity and decency as we manage tasks and boundaries both online and off. You are well-informed and live the values you present.
  • Thank you to my mentors who currently strive to move “heaven and earth” to save their small businesses, but also find time to collaborate with proteges.
  • Thank you to my family who respect my schedule as a freelancer, in which work flows steadily or faster, when others in “day jobs” find themselves in a “holding pattern.”
  • Thank you to friends who in recent weeks lost loved ones to unrelated disease or aging and who bear the pain of their grief, alone, in social isolation (special acknowledgments to Maureen Doetzel and Tracey Mitchell).
  • Thank you to Rev. Roberto De Sandoli and the worship team at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, who are working tirelessly to present some of the most significant worship services of the Christian calendar (Good Friday; Easter Sunday) online to anyone who cares to watch them.
  • Thank you to Silvia Martini, Moderator, and founding members of the “Business Support Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce,” who share about pivoting, adapting, evolving and rising, when these are at once the most challenging and important tasks.
  • Thank you to the managers of the building where I live and work, who continue to keep the building as clean as possible and to assist seniors and children who struggle with the pandemic.
  • Thank you to Paul Ducklin and other users of Zoom, who have posted online articles and information on how to secure the service, in the face of hateful attackers.
  • Thank you (although it may sound absurd) to Queen Elizabeth II, who used a rare public address, filmed last week at Windsor Castle, to encourage citizens of the Commonwealth to continue to act with self-discipline and resolve. These are characteristics sometimes in short supply.

This door in British Columbia was decorated by a family member to encourage laughter, gratitude for essential workers and solidarity with self-isolating neighbours in these anxious days of Covid-19.


And this door of my neighbourhood café is one of many that post thanks to the folk acknowledged above.








We interrupt this crisis to acknowledge and thank the above folk who serve on our front lines: they fight a war with an invisible protein molecule that has brought our global population to its knees. But it has not broken our collective decency, empathy, solidarity, generosity, intelligence or resourcefulness—effectively, our humanity.

Last Saturday at 8:30 pm,  I clanged a kitchen pot in front of my home and generally made a ruckus of “thanks” to these folk, and to those whom I’ve unintentionally forgotten.  I heard (and saw) plenty of ruckus back.

Thank you all. Keep on keeping on.