In Hidden Hills, California the average price of a home was over one million dollars before the fires. I imagine the current price is now lower. Those of us who do not live in million-dollar homes, and that’s most of us, may momentarily succumb to the meaner angels of our nature when we hear of the misfortunes of “those people”. For most this is a transitory weakness that is overcome rather quickly when we hear of all the death and destruction wrought by fires or hurricanes or tornados or war.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian live in Hidden Hills and are wealthy enough to hire a force of private firefighters to protect their home. My first thoughts on the matter were not charitable. First of all, I have little concept of who West and Kardashian are or what they do or why they are famous or how they got rich. My guess is they would not care what I think, and I do not blame them. What they obviously do care about is their home and, to my surprise, those of their neighbors also.
Apparently, there are many people living beyond their means in Hidden Hills just as there are everywhere else. Most cannot hire private firefighters to save their houses. But, because West and Kardashian live at the end of a cul-de-sac that leads to other homes, by protecting their home they are also helping to protect their neighbors. Should Peg and I ever win the lottery and live in a place like Hidden Hills I am sure we would be eternally grateful if we had a neighbor wealthy and generous enough to help protect our home. When I put things in this perspective and ratchet the circumstances back to where the rest of us live, I think of the day to day help and concern of friends and neighbors and the daily heroics of law enforcement, emergency personnel, firefighters and just plain folks who give every day. For example, Peg and I have wonderful neighbors who, while not quite as wealthy as Kanye and Kim, would, I am confident, sacrifice at an amount in ratio and proportion to them, to help protect us and our property!
So, Kanye and Kim, whoever you are, thanks for giving for others. Are you helping yourselves, of course. However, it is not a sin to benefit from helping others. It is just that such a happenstance is rare. To see a good deed result in pleasure, not pain, brings a good feeling.