Writing this blog, seemed frivolous last week when I began to write. After all,13 people lost their lives just minutes from where I live.
Borderline Bar and Grill, a host to the dance community of our sleepy, suburban neighborhood became the most recent location of mass shootings.
Borderline is where I learned to dance West Coast Swing. Any night of the week, you can take lessons and dance any variety of dance from Salsa, West Coast Swing, to Country line dancing.Yes, they also opened to community events, like college night for local college kids.
The impact of this shooting has hit our community hard.While I didn't know any of the kids personally,Noel Sparks was on staff at the church I attend and well loved. I watched in agony as Cody Coffman’s Dad spoke of not knowing where his son was on the early morning news, only to learn later he was killed. Every parent can put themselves in his place.
Before we had time to properly mourn, our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods were deluged in wildfires fueled by high winds.In less than 24 hours 250,000 people were evacuated, freeways closed and we buckled up to ride out the raging fires all around us.
This is not new to our area--it seems every 5-10 years winds whip fire across the Santa Monica Mountains (we live at the base of these mountains in the San Fernando Valley), all the way to the beach--approximately 20 miles. This time it was different. Fires crossed into residential areas that surround these beautiful mountains rapidlyThe terrain is dry from drought, and fires spread quickly.
Many friends were evacuated—many! We were close but luckily, winds died down and fires close to us were controlled--for the time being.
Through it all we hear stories of people helping people, like you do in other natural and unnatural disasters. Animals being cared for by strangers, people staying with friends, while awaiting news of their own homes survival, andpeople extending unusual kindnesses to one another.
We need time to grieve though. You see,Thousand Oaks has been rated one of the safest places to live for years...until this week--reminding us once again,no place is safe.
Our community is holding each other tight, riding out the most difficult week we've experienced as a whole since the 1994 earthquake.
It's during these times we see others true character. I ask myself, does God allow us to go through these horrific experiences to remind us to be more empathetic and that we truly do need each other and Him?
What would happen if we all just took a break from the divisiveness that prevails in our country and just started loving each other more? Being giving and forgiving is far more rewarding.