Community Living

A tragic event, even at two or three degrees of separation, has the effect of sweeping away the inconsequential and irrelevant annoyances in life.  That has certainly been the case in Calgary after the recent tragic and inexplicable slaying of five young people.  For those of us who have daughters and sons attending university in this city, this event struck very close to home. A shock.

Too often, in the daily grind, it’s easy to focus on small matters and lose perspective about just what’s important.  Given that it’s spring, with all the promise of new beginnings and new growth, it’s a good time to let go of old grievances.  Here’s one – our tiresome, retired neighbour who regularly uses his leaf blower at 4:30am to clear his drive of a skiff of snow.  After the first time this happened, our daughter came out of her bedroom in full sail – ready to confront me for blow drying my hair at such an ungodly, ridiculous hour of the morning!  Nope, not me, it’s the high whine of a landscaper’s tool – tool being the operative word.  (Ok, so it’s a bit easier to let this one go as the days of relentless snowfalls are behind us.)

Life’s just full of aggravations and slights from unattended yapping dogs (of which there’s always one or two in close proximity), rude people, inconsiderate drivers, unreciprocated invitations, to a host of other issues and complaints associated with community living.  Life can be filled to the brim with dissatisfaction, but it doesn’t have to be; it’s also true that our neighbours, with only a few exceptions, are interesting, helpful, friendly people, and several are close friends.

In the course of the day, I can usually find as many examples of decency and friendliness as the opposite, but it’s the bad behaviour that rankles. When that happens, it’s time to reach out to family or friends and laugh at the small matters that can darken any day, because they are small matters, and you know that when real tragedy strikes close to home.


2 thoughts on “Community Living

  1. How true it is, and how sad it sometimes takes tragedy to help us remember the smaller and larger graces in our day to day. Communal grief and communal gratitude, we have enough heart to bear both.

  2. It’s so true that there are as many acts of kindness and decency in a day as there are rude, callous or simply mindlessly thoughtless acts, yet it’s so much easier to focus on the latter. Let’s face it, for those of us who like to regale others with a good tale or two, it’s usually easier to turn an act of boorishness into a good story. Why is that? I need to think about that, being the regaling type myself. And it’s also true that an act of tragedy shines light on the pettiness of so much of our daily preoccupation. My heart jumped instantly to you and your family when I learned of the slayings in Calgary’s university community, and nothing was more important than hearing you were all well. But, having that relief, I’ve slipped back into my usual ways, which as you said, is to celebrate the trivialities of life, positive and negative. I think it’s the equivalent of a magic spell to hold at bay the truly tragic.

    So, remind to tell you what my neighbour said the other day …..

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