I found as I woke up this morning not 100% certain of what happened the night before. It’s not that the previous night was a booze filled Saturday night, but rather… well. I’ll try to explain. As I’ve alluded to at times, I’m making a documentary (my first!) and about a year ago now we started filming (we being my amazing core team of Rob, Kristine, Jaime & Nic – and other awesome souls along the way). I’ve traveled with them over the year, as we follow this unbelievable man named John Feal (a 9/11 Responder and the president of the FealGood Foundation). In the course of getting to know John, we’ve gotten to know some phenomenal men & women, First Responders and their families. It has brought so much love into my life, this horrible horrible event has brought proverbial flowers growing through cracks in cement… I’ve gotten to know people who need more help now than you could possibly imagine because of what they did that day in September.
And on Saturday I found myself at a pub in a part of Long Island I’d never been to before, amongst more people than you could count, celebrating the sunshine that is a beloved 9/11 First Responder named Ray Pfeifer. For the first time, I was there without my core crew but with a new friend, my camera guy Jimmy… and we just soaked in all this love. Ray has Cancer, he’s been kicking its ass since 2009 when he (& a lot of 9/11 Responders, actually) learned of their diagnosis and it’s relation to Sept. 11th. But as I say, this is my first documentary and I came into it so very accidentally (watching the Daily Show & sending a Tweet). I began following John because I was astounded to learn of what he’s been doing and continues to do for his fellow Responders. And little by little, trust was granted and given, and they have welcomed us into their community.
As photos flashed all through the venue, it struck me that we have been woven into the fabric with our little documentary that could. I saw pictures of myself, our director Rob, Jaime… I saw us flashing amongst these photos of years previous as the guys lobbied in Washington… and amongst all of their history was us.
Short of what I was wearing on 9/11, I remember almost everything about that day. I remember how scared I was as I watched the TV with co-workers at the CBC in Toronto. There is no way on Earth I could have foreseen myself crossing paths with people like John and Ray. But it’s an example of the good that has come out of the horrors they experienced, and I witnessed. There has been so much bad, but there has been so much good too. But it’s come at a cost, and I’m aware of that.
With our little film, I’m trying to throw as much good as I can into the world. The world needs it, stories of good hope and people doing the right thing simply because the right thing needs to be done. For as hard of a time as I’m having with finding love, for the mess I’m making of that (though yes, I know it makes for “good material for my stand-up”)… the event yesterday reminded me that I’m helping to tell stories that need to be told. And that is a good thing.
I wish so much I could make Ray’s Cancer go away. I wish I could bring back my dear James & my friend Ana-Alecia who lost their fights to Cancer, but I cannot. But I can help by telling stories.
I don’t know what I’m really trying to say here tonight. What point it was to post this, except that … well… we all have stories to tell. YOU have a story to tell. So you should go tell it. Because by speaking up, it could help someone. Jon Stewart spoke up on The Daily Show, and it moved me to speak up on social media and offer help to strangers. Who are now my friends.