What Really Matters

by | Jul 10, 2013 | Ruminations

Mt Chaston fireJuly in Vegas is hot enough.  But these days, there’s a raging fire on the nearby mountains.  30 square miles are consumed, 800 firefighters are working the lines, and a few hours ago, the containment assessment went from a paltry 15% to 10%…so like….nothing!

Most people don’t know that Mt. Charleston — a 45 minute drive from the Las Vegas strip — is the 2nd highest point in Nevada…with ski slopes, a mountain community that has a school, and a library, and there are many enjoyable hiking trails and waterfalls as well as a beautiful lodge and restaurant.

Now, it’s all being threatened.  500 people are evacuated.  The valley below smells of smoke… and ash particles fall on everything.  It makes you think about what is really important.


My middle daughter just returned from a 10-day mission trip to Haiti.  There, she worked with young kids in a soccer camp…ate fresh sugar cane Madeleinefrom the fields, witnessed bedrock poverty, and marveled at the resiliency of the human spirit among the natives.  She was inspired.  Upon returning to college, she had trouble adjusting.  She found herself resentful and angry at hearing petty complaints, and seeing the wasteful practices of our society.  “If only they could see how rich we are here, compared to what I’ve seen in Haiti,” she lamented to me on the phone.


In voiceover, as in life, I strive to be the best.  But, like most, I get caught in the details.  I over-invest…in time and equipment.  I whine about the missed opportunities, the risks, and the miscalculations in my business plan.  “I should be making more by now!” I lament.  “Why so many rejections and missed auditions?”  Human nature, I suppose.

Then I see the fire, and the evacuees who escaped with a few belongings and their lives…living for the time being in shelters.  Then I talk to my daughter and hear about the abject poverty she saw among the Haitians.  And yet, she told me…”Dad, they’re such happy people!”

You are rich.  I don’t know how things are in your life, but you are rich.  I am rich.  We take it all for granted.

Not that we shouldn’t continue in the lives and in the jobs we have…. but with just a hairs-breadth of serendipity, we’ve been chosen for lives that are privileged and bountiful.

All the sudden, the urgency to land that next audition carries a different weight.  Yes, it’s what we do.  But not worrying about it might actually bring with it a different sense of what’s important.  And sometimes THOSE reads have the pathos of human-ness that a savvy client is listening for.

Now…you’re on fire!




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