Like many of us, since the events of Wednesday, December 2, I have been grieving for San Bernardino, my hometown. The terrible incident at the Inland Regional Center was an especially cruel kick to a City that has, in many ways, been down for decades. As a local, I’ve become somewhat used to seeing my town depicted on the news in a less-than-positive light. We were hit especially hard by the mortgage crisis earlier in this young century, our city is bankrupt, and crime is rampant.
Also like many of us, I have watched in horror the news coming out of San Bernardino these past few weeks. The events of Dec 2 and its aftermath have made for some grim reporting, even for those of us used to the “typical” bad news that correspondents dispatch from our town. But while it has not been great, I also know that these are just statistics, data points on somebody else’s graph. As those of us who live here know, these data do not define our community and they do not define what it means to be a part of a community.
A community is defined by its people, and while the news has not been particularly good, I have been so proud of the people of my hometown in the past week. The outpouring of love and support, expressed most importantly for the families of the 14 souls our community lost, but also for our whole town, by strangers, friends and loved ones, near and far, has filled me with hope and a deep sense of pride for San Bernardino.
I believe in people and our ability to persevere through trials. To fight with strength to overcome hardship
I have equal pride for the Redlands community, too. As many of you know, I have been designing interiors in the Inland Empire for 30 years and as a small business owner, my business has been located in Redlands for most of them. The City of Redlands has been a great support to me.
Home remodeling and construction projects can be stressful affairs. As an interior designer, I become privy to many of the intimate details of my clients’ lives as they undergo their projects. They let me into their homes. They introduce me to their kids, their parents, their dogs, as my trade-professionals hack, chip, paint and install their home into a new version of itself. The greatest rewards of my professional career have been when, at the end of a job, “client” becomes friend. Because it is at that moment that my community expands.
After so many years of expanding my community, one client — friend — at a time, I think I’ve gotten to know it pretty well. The community that raised me, the one that provided my sister and me with a great place to grow up, the one that has supported me for so long, cannot be defined by data points on somebody else’s graph. The community I know is defined by its people. And San Bernardino’s people — my people — have come together so wonderfully in the face of this tragedy, to lend a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, a warm embrace. Thank you San Bernardino.
No matter how much sorrow, there is always hope, a glimmer of hope.
It is through these gestures that I find hope. It is based on this hope that I believe that tomorrow will be better. And because tomorrow will be better, we will bear this hardship today. In the words of San Bernardino Sun Columnist Michel Nolan, “San Bernardino does not lay down in the face of fear. This is the “scrappy little city” that was a bustling boomtown in its heyday. … This is San Bernardino. No matter how much sorrow, there is always hope, a glimmer of hope. The healing has begun.”
Indeed it has.
Let there be peace on earth
Last Saturday, December 12, I attended the San Bernardino Symphony’s Christmas concert, “HOME for the Holidays.” In a beautiful tribute to our town, the concert ended with a beloved childhood favorite of mine, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” There was not a dry eye in the house. It was a wonderful sentiment to end the concert with and it is the sentiment I would like to leave you with today: Please, Dear Lord, let there be peace on earth, now more than ever.