Oscar Wilde famously quipped: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken!”
However, in a rabid celebrity culture like ours, it would seem most of us want to be someone else. Someone rich, powerful and especially famous. Fame is the obsession of the young and the dream of the old. What makes this fixation so silly is who we usually choose to think of as famous.
Take a moment. Aren’t they always the rich-and-famous from the worlds of show business…the arts … sports…big business? The headliners and headline-makers? But here’s the bottom line test. What could or would any of these do for you in the middle of a life-crisis? Surely your own life and safety is the ultimate measure by which you measure another’s value to you.
Not to get too theological on you, but it’s been written: “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Which famous celebrity can you imagine doing that for you? I believe the correct answer is: None.
And yet, people all around us are doing exactly that every hour of every day of every week in the year. And while we don’t know them by name on a marquee, you and I know them well whenever some crisis rips out of the ground beneath us or from the sky above us. From earthquakes to tornadoes! crimes to fires! storms to floods! highway accidents to hallway accidents! failed hearts to failed lungs!
The name hardly does them justice, these strong young legions of skilled eyes and trained hands. They appear out of the 911 night in ambulances, atop snorkels, in repair trucks, or on rescue boats. If there really is something noble to our imperfect species, it may most be found in these hourly acts in which one life reaches out in the service of another.
Oh…and not one of them from the rich-and-famous 1%.
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