This week, the nation has been gripped by the news of wildfires that continue to rip through Southern California, claiming lives and displacing up to one million people from their homes. Nearly one million people, through no fault of their own, will rely upon each other to battle this disaster and rebuild their community.
Just to the north in Hollywood live thousands more people creating disaster from prosperity either despite or because of the people by whom they are surrounded. There is a message on each side of this coin. The only way to make it through disaster, natural or man-made, is with the support of the right people.
Our hearts go out to our fellow citizens in Southern California because we know their plight could have been ours. There must be no more helpless a feeling than having your entire life unsettled by a natural disaster far beyond one’s control. No matter where you live in the United States, you could be the victim of a natural disaster.
Naturally, we feel bad for the ones that happen to live in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, no matter how violent the forces of nature, I am always encouraged to hear stories of communities of strangers pulling together, giving whatever help they can wherever it is needed. As we continue to watch the news coverage, we will hear more stories of heroism and how average citizens help each other avert an even larger tragedy.
Now, juxtapose the plight of Southern California residents in fire-ravaged areas against the lives of their neighbors to the north. Hollywood, the city, and “Hollywood,” the attitude, sitting just north of the real natural disaster, is the center of a steady inferno of news stories about celebrities who continue to create their own disasters.
In the last couple weeks, we learned that actor Kiefer Sutherland will do jail time for his repeated insistence on driving drunk, rapper/actor T.I. will face gun charges for attempting to purchase machine guns, and singer Britney Spears can’t seem to stay out of the clubs despite being threatened by a judge with the prospect of losing her two young children. All three are undoubtedly flanked by dozens of handlers and hangers-on, but clearly not one person who could protect them from their own natural disaster: themselves.
There is a lesson here for us common folk: The only way to make it through the fire, literally or figuratively, is to have people around you that are truly interested in your well being.