Growing Tolerance @CalgaryKeys to Recovery

keys logoHe is quiet spoken. Humble. 

He is a landlord who works closely with Keys to Recovery, a not-for-profit agency that provides supportive housing for formerly homeless Calgarians who are exiting rehab and treatment with no fixed address.

He talks about his understanding when first he began working with Keys.

How he became aware of his lack of tolerance, understanding, compassion.

And why tolerance is so important to create a better city for everyone.

He is dynamic. Humble.

He is the former Chief of Police of Calgary, or as the MC, the brilliant and compassionate Jonathan Love, Mr. @JLoveNotes describes him, Our Forever Chief.

He too mentions tolerance. Talks about when he first became a cop in 1975 how little he, or anyone, knew or understood about homelessness, addictions, abuse, family violence. How so seldom there were any answers, or any compassion, to provide those on whom they called to provide support.

How tolerance as a society is so vital to creating a just society. A city where everyone has a place to call home.

He is calm. Humble.

He talks about his life before homelessness. His successes. The company he built. The family he held dear.

He talks about the impact of his addiction. The trauma of homelessness, of being lost and intolerant of any offers of help.

And he talks about going to treatment. Twice. How the first time, coming out and only have the street to greet him, he couldn’t tolerate the shame and trauma. He fell back. Hard.

And then he talks about getting straight, going back to treatment and finding a home with Keys.

They’ve given me my grandkids, he says.

Once upon a time, we were a city that did not tolerate the presence of people with mental health, addictions, physical disabilities well.

We are learning.

The value of tolerance. Compassion. Empathy. Caring about one another, no matter where we are on the street.

We are learning to celebrate the work of being there to support those who fall, and to celebrate those who do the work of being there to help them find their feet again.

Last night, Keys to Recovery , along with many supporters, staff and board members, celebrated our growing tolerance for one another, our growing capacity to look compassionately and act with kindness and consideration with those who have lost their way.

We are learning to tolerate the spaces between what we believe is ‘the right way’ to live and ‘the real things’ that happen to people along the way.

We are learning to be more compassionate, caring and considerate of one another. And in that space, we are learning to celebrate baby steps and giant leaps forward as we create a world where all of us can live our own unique human potential, without fearing the intolerance of others.

It is a good thing.