Yesterday was voting day for municipal politics in Alberta. I was keyed up all day, and I'm not even running. We handed out all of our brochures by Sunday afternoon, hand delivering one to every house in our town over the last few weeks, and yesterday we had to sit back and wait while our fellow citizens went to the polls.
The evening stretched on forever, waiting to hear the results, with endless nervous chatter on Facebook to keep ourselves busy while the minutes dragged on. I expected news by 9 pm, but suddenly it was 10 pm, and then 11 pm, and finally the garage door went up and I ran to meet Jason who had been waiting at our Community Centre during the count. Before he got out of the van, I could see the grin on his face, and I knew it was good news. There were a record setting number of votes cast, which is good for our town, as personal investment leads to new ideas and action.
We celebrated with apple crisp and chocolate dipped strawberries, talking excitedly about the future and all of the possibilities for positive change in this town that we both love living in. I couldn't be prouder of him if I tried. It's a huge risk to put yourself forward for something as polarizing and personal as civic politics, and he did it with unwavering dedication and commitment.
He felt the time was right to try for town council, and he never faltered during the campaign process. I struggled with my own private (and sometimes not so private) fears and emotions as we walked this new road, filled with potholes and curves that you can't see coming. He always seemed confident and relaxed about the whole thing, and that's one of the things I most admire about his personality. Where I'm high strung and anxious, he's the opposite, and we all need a counterpoint to both our best and worst qualities.
I know that the learning curve will be steep for the three year term that Jason will begin when he is sworn in as an elected official on Wednesday evening. There is no way you can be fully prepared for what will come at you. But I also know that during the campaign process we both learned valuable things about ourselves and our community. We came to understand the driving need for positivity in the midst of negativity, and we saw the power of a small light shining in the middle of a dark room, and he is planning to rely on that light to be his guide as he moves forward.
I don't want this to feel like a soppy Oscar speech, but I would like to express my gratitude for those who have supported Jason during the last few weeks. Many of you spoke kind words just when they were needed, and helped us form new opinions when the ones we had were no longer working. We came to rely on our friends and deepened many relationships in the course of this political process, and we needed the support we felt from each of you to get to this jumping off point.
It feels a bit like stepping off of the high diving board in pitch darkness, and hoping that there is water down there somewhere to cushion your fall. We have equal parts excitement mixed with terror for what the next stage will bring. Jason wants to do the best job he can possibly do, while understanding that all of the problems won't go away overnight because we have a new mayor and council. He feels called to serve, and to give his all, and since that's how he approaches the rest of his life, I'm confident in what the end result will be.