Hi, everyone. Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday morning. For those of you accustomed to receiving Sunday With Sisson in your inbox, I wanted to give you a heads up that the team and I are making some changes (just technical) with the newsletter and “Sunday With Sisson” for just a few weeks. Some of you may notice some temporary interruption in your email delivery from MDA. It’s all part of upgrading our systems. Unfortunately, there’s never a good time for these things.
In the meantime, I’ll be posting “Sunday With Sisson” letters each Sunday on the blog until we’re back to our full mailing capacity. Enjoy, and—as always—thanks for joining me here.
Good morning, everybody.
So, California is on fire. You’ve probably heard the stories and seen the videos of people racing along burning highways to escape. It’s unlike anything the state has ever seen.
I no longer live in Malibu, but I did for 25 years, and my daughter Devyn has been living in our old Malibu house with her boyfriend and three dogs.
She was in the house last week as fire raced down the valley toward our home. They watched as it got closer and only left when the flames finally reached our backyard, assuming they had more time before it was upon them. They didn’t.
I was following along on live stream news from my place in Miami. When I saw local L.A. reporters standing on the street below our house with 30 foot flames roaring directly behind them, I called and told her to get the hell out. Devyn had no idea because the power and Internet were all cut. She and the dogs went to Santa Monica; her boyfriend stayed in Malibu to protect our house (successfully) and a few other friends’ homes in the area.
When I got confirmation that she was all right, I went to sleep. I’m a worrier—as longtime readers will know—but I went to bed with a clear mind, knowing that everyone was safe. Sure, I worried about the house, which has been on the market for a few months and contains 15 years of dearly held memories along with some lingering belongings, but I was also totally at peace with whatever happened. We’ve got insurance and houses are just stuff. The people who live in the house and the memories we form there are what matters. That sense of home doesn’t just disappear. It stays with you.
The house survived anyway, albeit with a fair amount of fire and water damage to two sides of it. Two of our neighbors weren’t so lucky and lost their homes entirely.
It’s interesting to me that just two weeks ago I was writing about the importance of practicing gratitude. These events asserted a real life reason why gratitude is so essential: life is fragile—and it can be taken away at any moment. Even if you think you have nothing, you have life, and the promise and opportunity that represents.
Gratitude asks us to resist the temptation to judge the height of our own fortune (or the depth of our misfortune) by comparison with others. It’s self-referencing, which is the seat of its power. So many things become possible when we operate from that place.
I’ve said before on the blog that Thanksgiving happens to be my favorite holiday. This year I’ll be celebrating its message more than ever.
Enjoy your Sunday, everybody, and a good holiday to you and yours.