“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” ― James A. Baldwin
In the two months since I’ve last written, BC Family Doctors has been busy doing the work of growing up and reaching out. We have been meeting with our partner organizations with untraditional agendas, not focused on growth and importance, but with near blank pages. These simply extend a hand and say: “Here, sit with us. Let’s start to get to know each other again. Let’s understand our common purpose again. Let’s try again.” The blank pages have been titled things like: Protecting Longitudinal Care in a Virtual Landscape, Valuing Family Practice Obstetrics, Elevating Inpatient Care, Understanding the Gender Pay Gap, Improving Interactions between Family Physicians and Other Specialists, Emboldening Family Medicine Organisations, and so forth.
I have been incredibly proud of this work and the responses to these conversations. Last week, I was the proudest that I have been yet.
Last week, we had our first Representative Assembly (RA) of 2021. Its topic was preparation for the Physician Master Agreement. In full honesty, I did not look forward to it. In full honesty, I was worried about spending four and half hours on a zoom meeting with physicians presumably talking about money. As the morning slowly unravelled, I became increasingly aware that this was not at all what was happening.
What was happening was that the CEO of Doctors of BC opened the morning with poetry, creating space for wholehearted conversations. What was happening was that the past, current, and future Presidents of Doctors of BC were gently leading from behind the crowd with kindness and care. What was happening was that our family physician representatives were talking about the hardships of our patients, the weight of the last year and the work ahead. And in doing so, they were gently walking us into difficult territory, not touched for several years.
In a few of the blank page meetings mentioned above, we were cautioned against emotion. We were advised to avoid controversy and hard conversations. We were reminded about historical battlefields, best left undisturbed. If we can take anything away from 2020, and if we hope to be successful students of 2021, I think that all these are very much the wrong tacks to take. And beautifully what became obvious at the RA is that many of our colleagues and physician leaders would agree. Because as the meeting wound to a close, we all took a tip toe forward into difficult territory: disparity.
As all 100+ physicians returned to the larger group from their small breakouts, it became obvious that we had all come to the same conclusion. Our priority was solving disparity in our profession. Nowhere in the world does disparity and inequity serve or strengthen. It harms everyone it touches. Over four and half hours, over 2020, we came to understand that and settled on unifying ourselves to end it.
So, today, on this day connected to love, understand that you still have so much reason to have love of your profession. Your profession understands equity and has decided to fight for it. Breathe in and breathe out and smile at your heart and tell it that it can rest a little easier tonight. Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day.
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”― Jimi Hendrix