Originally written for the Tuxedo Park Community Association
President’ Message, October 2014
During our surprise snow fall in early September 2014 I came upon a tree in our neighborhood that had buckled under the weight of the snow. What struck me about this tree, unlike the hundreds of others, was that it had on it a sign that claimed it was “protected”.
This got me to thinking about life, as I’m often prone to do. My first thought was how I could relate to that tree that had literally buckled under the weight of the world. My second thought was, what protects ALL of us in an unpredictable world?
Two thoughts as heavy as the unwelcomed snow.
During the summer of 2014, our Community Resource Officer, Constable Denison, and his team with the Calgary Police Service successfully shut down three drug houses in Tuxedo Park. They also ticketed and pushed out many transients using our park. Some were doing things we wouldn’t want our children to see and others were just seeking refuge in a province where 1 in 10 children live in poverty, a city where it has been calculated we need to earn at least $17.29/hour to afford our rising costs and a neighbourhood where the gap between the so-called “rich” and “poor” is clearly visible.
“No, not rich. I am a poor man with money, which is not the same thing”.~Márquez, Gabriel García
Many of you, upon learning of this activity in our neighbourhood, may think the solution is to spend more tax payer dollars on police or make more money in order to build larger walls and fences between us. Others may think we need to spend less time out and about in our neighbourhood and more time on the islands we’ve built for our family and friends.
But I ask once again, what protects ALL of us in an unpredictable world?
I personally have built myself quite a magnificent island and yet my first thought, as I saw our trees’ branches lying broken and abandoned, was how often this world has driven me to a point where I felt certain I was going to buckle under its weight.
How can this be when I’ve always had money, family, friends, and police to protect me? If deep down I do not feel protected, when I seemingly have it all, l can’t imagine what it must feel like for our neighbours that are missing one or more of these things in their lives. Similar to the tree that was singled out as “protected”, life has shown me that no one is ever really safe from the unpredictability and challenges of this world.
It’s the weight of this depressing thought that has me relentlessly searching for an answer to the question, what protects ALL of us in an unpredictable world?
My work with the Tuxedo Park Community Association is the closest I’ve come to an answer. I can no longer walk the streets without bumping into someone I know. But it’s more than that. I’ve opened myself up to sharing my life, my things, my time, and my passions, hopes and dreams with my newest community. In return my heart is opening up in ways I’ve never imagined and I feel safer and more secure than ever. The more I open up my heart, the less I feel the weight of the world.
Who knew the key to feeling protected in an unpredictable world was opening up your heart, not building more walls around it??
Tuxedo Park is a diverse neighbourhood. It is home to people of ALL incomes, cultures, ages, genders, sexual orientations, political views, etc. On the surface we may differ, but deep down ALL of us share the same hopes and fears. In the face of a world where the gaps between us are made palpable by our personal pain, I’ve found protection and more importantly happiness, joy, peace and love right here in Tuxedo Park, my home.
There is a group of us forming within our community that have a shared vision of a diverse Tuxedo Park where ALL of us feel safe, happy, protected and loved. If you too share our vision, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or join us at 6 pm on June 17, 2017 at our fourth sharing-themed event, a potluck where both the food and conversation will be delicious!
President, Tuxedo Park Community Association