These fires in CA and the devastation I see from them has really broken my heart this past week. This is a massive disaster of epic proportions. The loss of life, both human and animal, homes being burnt to the ground, firefighters working day in and day out to save what they can…. this is mind-blowing. I can’t imagine what these people and the wildlife in that area are going through. I’ve heard that the size of the affected area is the size of all NYC boroughs combined. And growing. Insane.
As I have family in California, I’ve been paying pretty close attention to what’s been going on with these fires. Now, I know where Malibu, Zuma Beach, etc. are. I know who the folks are that live in those areas. There are a lot of rich people living there. Lots of celebrities. I get it. Why should we feel sorry for them? They have no worries, right? I see a lot of commentary about the fact that these rich folks can afford to replace the things they’ve lost. They don’t have the worries that us “common folk” have. This bugs me. A lot. I don’t understand this mind set. Yep. These people have the resources to rebuild, buy new cars and furniture and clothing. To replace “things”. But how do you replace the lives of loved ones? Homes you’ve lived in, and brought your kids up in for decades? How do you replace memories? Pictures? Antiques passed down from generation to generation with all the history attached? Pets you were forced to leave behind? The answer is…….. you can’t. And regardless of someone’s specific circumstances, can’t we just feel badly for them that they lost everything they had? Maybe loved ones? Can’t we be heartbroken at the loss of animals (both pets and wild animals) that can never be replaced? Trees that will take years to grow back? Neighborhoods that are destroyed? Can’t we act like fellow humans beings just for a minute, offer comfort, supplies, food or a shoulder to cry on? Can’t we put aside our preconceived notions and judgements about other people and try to find our empathy chip? It’s there. I know it is. And if you can’t find it… Just. Stop. Talking. Keep your ugly mean spirited opinions and social media posts to yourself. No one needs or wants to hear them. Least of all the people affected by this disaster. These kinds of opinions and posts help no one. There is no value in them. They better nothing.
Empathy is a wonderful quality. It’s free. It allows us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes and see how we would feel in different situations. It allows us to offer a helping hand when someone needs it most. Helping someone else when they need it most, trying to understand how they might feel, putting aside what we THINK they are, betters us as human beings. And it costs us nothing. I am a firm believer in that if you get what you give. Good begets good. You never know when you might be the one needing the helping hand. So, let’s help, peeps. Let’s just help, and not worry about the rest. We’ll all be better off for it. I promise.
Ways to help with the fires in CA:
Something I heard at the PA Conference for Women from a teenage girl who spoke to us, resonates with me and will for a long time, I suspect.
“If you see something wrong, fix it. If you see someone hurt, help them. If you don’t do something, who else will?”
—Amanda Southworth, mental health activist, in her keynote address at the 2018 PA Conference for Women
Peace, my peeps.