She’s the talk of the airwaves and blogosphere. The girl-woman known mainly for her celebrity came up against a harsh reality all too many of our young people (and people of any age) have had to face: prison is terrifying. The thought of being locked up behind bars and unable to get out unless someone lets you out is enough to transform anyone’s legs to jelly.

I’m not here to chastise her or make fun of her. Lord knows there’s enough of that going around. Driving under the influence and speeding again and again as if the law doesn’t apply to her is no joke for sure. But all that’s between Paris and the law right now. And prison is far more effective wake-up call than anything a blogger like me could say.

So why am I writing about something that’s being blogged to death? Because I hope the irony of this will hit home with her. Paris Hilton is a woman who lives a life most people can only dream of – a lifestyle funded by real estate and the Hilton Hotel chain. So it is painfully ironic that her actions (and at times admittedly blatant disregard for authority) have caused her to wind up in a cell with only the barest of essentials. We can talk forever about the role society and her upbringing has played in all this, but in the end, she learns that she is being held responsible. As have so many before her.

And so, as she is subjected to the horrid conditions of prison and the realization of what it’s like to be without control over one’s freedom, I pray that she starts to think not only of her own suffering, but of the countless others who have had to go through what she’s going through – some even younger than she – many without hope in their lives – innocent and guilty alike left to beg for mercy and maybe a bit of understanding from the unyielding walls. And I also pray that she decides to do something to help young people stay out of prison in the first place and/or help them get a real chance in life after they get out. I pray that her compassion is touched by this potentially life-changing experience. And I pray that some good comes from something that at the moment is being treated as the joke of the minute.

Paris…with all your money and influence, you can actually save lives. I hope this experience helps you see that. Good luck turning your own life around – and maybe finding the compassion to help others too.