Sense of Community, Beauty and Compassion

Dear friends,

Thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday to attend the Healing Ceremony in Stanley Park and thank you to everyone from afar who took pause and joined us with their positive intentions. As I listened to Matthew talk about a sense of belonging and community, I started to think more about the following story which I felt compelled to share with you.

Years ago, Pierre and I lived in an apartment building just outside the gates of UBC. I was finishing my degree at the University and Pierre had started work for a start-up IT company. Not before long, (thanks to Pierre’s outgoing nature), we met all of our neighbours and not before long, (thanks to Pierre’s whacky sense of humour), we all became very good friends. We would each take turns hosting breakfasts and dinners. The doors of our apartments were constantly left open with each of us wandering from apartment to apartment; in search for some extra milk, computer technical support, or just simply a good story.

When our neighbour across the hall had her first child, she would knock on our door and leave her baby on Pierre’s lap, who was at home studying for his Masters so that she could quickly run up the street to buy some bread. And when I came home in the middle of the night to find the dreaded bike thieves in our laundry room, I woke up my burly 6 ft 3″ neighbour. I yelled instructions to him to keep watch from his apartment window so that I could call the cops. It was a real sense of community. Community in the true sense of the word. We stumbled upon it without knowing it and without realizing what a golden life we were living.

Over the years, Pierre often spoke about this sense of community and felt that there was a real lack of this happening in our world right now. I guess just due to the true nature of all of us not living within arms reach, all of us working so hard to make a go of things…raising children…caring for elderly parents. Our intentions are often so good but our time so limited. And so months would pass without seeing our old neighbours who had since moved out. Close friends become close friends from afar. I sensed over the years that Pierre longed to have that closeness and sense of community again.

And so here I now find myself stumbling upon this community again. Our old community that once silently receded to grow their own roots, has come forward during these dark times and sprouted new roots. Inside this community that has reached out to me, Pierre and the boys, I feel this incredible comfort and protection that lifts me from despair and helps me to see such beauty and compassion in my world right now.

Thank you to all of you who have reached out.

All my love,

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10 Comments on “Sense of Community, Beauty and Compassion”

  1. John Says:

    Paula, I’ve been a negligent, distant friend but both Vivian and I think of you and Pierre often, especially at this difficult time. Pierre has always impressed me with his quick wit, hearty laugh and warm, welcoming nature. I am sorry that we were not in Vancouver to help, and that we have not been a closer part of your community. From afar, it has been clear how much love that community has for you and Pierre.

    Pierre is right. “Community” is something that is far too absent from the world. Each time I think of you and Pierre, and your boys who I hope to one day meet, I will remember the importance of community and remind myself to be a little more friendly, a little more generous, and a little more thoughtful. That is, to be a little more like you and Pierre.


  2. Diane Brown Says:

    I do not know the family at all but have been keeping a watch on any developments and the efforts, made to find Pierre.

    I am retired person from Ontario and now, just this week arrived down in Florida, having driven, on my own.
    Just had the phone and internet connected and one of the first things I did was to look for further news.

    So sad it is. Paula, that is a real love story

    Courageous lady and family and friends.


  3. […] Find Pierre Parkinson If seen, please stay with Pierre and call 9-1-1 « Sense of Community, Beauty and Compassion […]

  4. Maureen and Eric Blanchard Says:

    Dear Paula,
    Since we heard of Pierre’s disappearance from Paul and Lisa you, Pierre and the children have been in our thoughts. We check the web page regularly and pray for a phone call from Lisa to say Pierre has been found. Remember always that we are thinking of you and only wish we were closer to help you. If you need anything at all please feel free to contact us. With love, Maureen and Eric

  5. Marie Dextraze Says:

    Hi Paula,

    I don’t know if you remember me , I am one of Lisa & Justin ‘s friend and I used to see you & Pierre at almost every party … I just want to say that we are thinking about you and the boys and if you need anything, please let us know . Marie xx

  6. Mary Ancheta Says:

    Hi Paula,

    It has been a while since I have seen you last but my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Sending you positivity and energy in these difficult times from myself and the musical community that supports you.

  7. Lee Parkinson Says:

    Dear Paula,
    Here in Alberta we took time out on Sunday to pray for your protection and Pierre’s return. Pierre has always held a special place in my heart for helping Tedman collect bottles on the beach one day I when I had no energy left. Tedman bought his first new bike entirely with money from bottles and cans collected on the beaches of the Okanagan. It was the only way because we had no extra money for a luxury like that. Afterwards Pierre always thought of sending his excess clothes to Tedman (which were always much too stylish for a young rough kid to be wearing). That time has long passed but I pray that Pierre will come back from whatever place he is in, either emotionally, mentally, or physically, to be able to give the same love and kindness to his own sons. Love, Lee and Tedman

  8. Diane McCharles Says:

    Paula, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family every day. Please know that I am here for you if I can help in any way. Thank you for sharing that wonderful story of you and Pierre and your friends. God bless. Luv, Diane

  9. sandi Says:

    Thank you Paula. I have never met you or Pierre but I felt an overwhelming urge to help. I spent the past weekend walking the streets of the DTES looking for Pierre. I attended the Healing Ceramony on Sunday and wish to extend a lovely Thank You to all who made it happen and to those who attended either in person or via positive/ healing thoughts. You are a very beautiful and courageous woman. Blessings to you and your family/friends everyday.


  10. Julie Says:

    Paula, that was a beautiful story, and a lovely post. I’m glad you’re taking comfort in the community you are feeling around you now. And know that that community extends all the way over to Australia. We love you, and think of you every day. xxxx

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