Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom
It’s been a long year.
Last December 14th we woke to a chilly, frosty morning. We went to bed with the chill and frost right down in our souls.
Blindsided with grief as a community, so many times I’ve asked myself, “Of all the places in the world…why God did you send us here?”
You are a beautiful place to live…and an uncomfortable one now as well.
Our rental lease ended last summer and we considered packing up and moving on. We looked at houses on your streets, but also in other areas of the state. Part of me thought it would be nice to leave you behind. Preserve the memories of the beautiful place we love, yet say farewell to the reminders of tragedy.
But wouldn’t you know it? Hours before we put an offer in on a house an hour away, Steve drove to work–down the same road he’s driven for the past two years–at the very moment the realtor hammered the “for rent” sign in front.
So here we are. I guess God still wants us right in the midst of your snow-covered streets and your family-friendly neighborhoods…and your saddest memories.
My children, still miraculously unaware of what happened last year, are thrilled to stay.
Like Elijah told me one day with a deep exhale, “I love this place.” When asked why he went on, “Newtown…just feels like home.”
You’ve had lessons for me over the past twelve months too, and I’ve done my best to study them–to pass their tests. Lessons in grief, in perseverance, in community, in overcoming. Lessons in choosing hope in the midst of hard, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face darkness.
“We are Sandy Hook, we choose love.”
You have wound your way around our hearts, Newtown, and we will never be the same. And maybe choosing love is the best tool of transformation we have in our toolbox.
Choosing love may look like a hug for a neighbor or a card for a grieving family. It may look like flowers for a teacher or the simple, everyday wonder of raising children.
Some think the opposite of love is hate and that only the evil deliberately choose it.
But the true opposite of love is fear, and in this day and age we stumble into it time and time again.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
~ 1 John 4:18
The energy we lose to fear and worry could fuel an entire movement of radical, change-the-world kind of love. And the good news is that no one need wait for a tragedy to choose it.
So thank you, Newtown. It’s an extraordinary privilege to count ourselves among your residents. I’m grateful for your lessons and for your healing in this remarkable community.
Holding on to the love–and hope–of Christ,
Would you find a way to choose love today on behalf of Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Ben, Allison, Dawn, Anne Marie, Lauren, Mary, Rachel, and Victoria? Our town is so thankful for your prayers.