When my daughter Cate was a toddler, she would routinely remind me to not “forget my imagination” when we were leaving the house. I remember the first time she said it. I was rushing around, going through my list of things we would might need, like snacks, water, and wipes. She looked up at me, touched my hand, and out spilled those timely words. According to Cate, the day would not be complete without some creativity.
As we enter another year, I have been reflecting on her three-year-old wisdom. I, like everyone else I know, has Covid fatigue. If I never have to see another rapid test, I will be a happy person. The inner-city front line has been a challenging place to be for the last two years. As a community we have felt on guard as the police drive by to monitor our meals-to-go. People with no home have been told to “stay home” and that repeatedly washing their hands is necessary, even though no public washrooms are available. One day the staff team was able to access our old Monday drop-in space and it was like a time capsule. Things were exactly as we left them in March 2020. As we surveyed the room, we couldn’t help but think of all the people we’ve lost over the pandemic and would never sit at one of the tables again. Given all the challenge, how do we not forget our imagination?
For me, I am noticing a longing to use the strange space created by Covid for exploring and nurturing ideas. At The Dale we are planning ways to celebrate our ten year mark, I am getting ready to record some songs with a long-time friend and musician from Sanctuary- an offering that we hope will benefit both of our communities, we are finding new streams of funding and listening for ways to become more deeply engaged with other organizations, and we would like to gather stories and art from community members for the building of a book.
I don’t know where this will all go (which is true of life in general), but I’m trying not to worry about that right now and enjoy the process. It’s not that the weariness has left, or that injustice has ceased to be. The tears come with frequency. Somehow though there is a renewed desire to experience the refreshment and excitement of generating new things. Beautiful things do come out of the dust. When I leave the house tomorrow, I will do my best to not forget my imagination.