Yesterday I went to a new physiotherapist on my way to a morning session at the gym. However, when the physiotherapist was done with me, I didn't want to go to the gym anymore. He had said I should probably not do a lower body workout. As a matter of fact, my lower body barely dragged my upper body home.
And then it was afternoon, and I was sitting at my desk with a big pain just over the tuchus, and a rumour hit my screen that SCOTUS was going to drop the R v W decision. We had two reporters at the Capitol, and one ready to write the story, and an editor ready to publish the story, so I just serenely worked away on whatever we weren't going to think about when the R v W announcement dropped.
And then it did drop, and suddenly I discovered that I was the most senior editor in our virtual newsroom, and I realised should probably start assigning stories and generally bossing journalists about. But I didn't do that until after B.A. and I had prayed a Te Deum together, I had written to old pals from 30 years ago, when we were all teenage pro-life activists, and called up an American friend back home who was actually unhappy, for she thought this will mean the Second Civil War. What I did not do was celebrate on Facebook and Twitter because I have friends on the other side, and I can imagine how they felt. Also, it was clear from what the other side was saying that inculcating a truly pro-life mentality--in which abortion is unthinkable--in the USA (let alone Canada or the UK) is going to take genius.
That said, I didn't think R v W would be overturned in my lifetime, and it wasn't--in fact--in the lifetime of at least two of my brothers-in-arms, who died before they turned 30. I thought about them a lot yesterday, and also about those in our little band of sidewalk protestors who did not keep in touch. It was not easy to be a teenage pro-life activist in Toronto in the 1980s and 1990s; I'm not sure if feeling like a social pariah at that age is a healthy preparation for adult life. It certainly left me longing to "get out of the Catholic ghetto," and it was many years before I read The Benedict Option and realised that the (or, rather, a) Catholic ghetto is one of the best, sanest places to be.
Celebrations at work were likewise muted, for we were working. The journalists worked feverishly, and I edited like mad, made mistakes, published, discovered the mistakes, corrected them, and republished. I worked harder and later than I remember having done since I stopped full-time reporting. It was one of those days--like the day Alfie Evans died--that is simply extraordinary and carries an "all hands on deck" quality.
I was watching work's video from the Capitol--Operation Rescue's Randall Terry (whom I first saw in person 32 years ago) was actually crying--when my oldest pro-life buddy, with whom I went to my prom (or, as we called it then, graduation formal), called in answer to my earlier texts. He said that, apart from his girlfriend, I was the only person--in the movement, I think he meant--who had reached out to him that day. He sounded muted, too. No triumphalism from that quarter, either. It's probably because he knows too much, including the fact that the overthrow of R v W is not the end of the war. It's just one battle. It might even be the first battle. And it was an American battle, to boot.