This week I received an early-morning email from a motivational website* that sends life-affirming notes. The message began with these words: It was perhaps one of your greatest acts of love, Judy. Choosing to be alive at a time when so many live so deeply in the dark. . .
My first thought was that the note wasn’t really for me. My second thought was of a luminous, smiling photo of Victoria Soto. She was the first-grade teacher who protected her students with her life at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. I’d chanced across her picture while surfing the net the evening before.
We know that” illuminate” means to bring light where there is none present. As I watched CNN coverage about the tragedy, night fell quickly, and candlelight vigils took place in Newtown and spread across the country. We were devastated as individuals and as a nation.
Journalist, Ann Curry started a campaign called 26 Acts, encouraging people to commit acts of kindness in memory of the 20 children and six adults who perished. She tweeted: “I know the truth: if you do good, you feel good. It’s the most selfish thing you can do . . .”
Or, perhaps not so selfish. These, and all acts of emotional and material generosity, spread the fragile light of human connection among strangers. They defy the pervasive darkness of self-interest and self-absorption that fractures our world, and alienates every person living within it. When we make the deliberate choice to reach out to others, and not turn away from them, we fight for the light.
Put most simply, we choose to help each other. It’s one of the first lessons we learn as kids in school, from our teachers.
This post is dedicated to: Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Alison, Dawn, Rachel, Anne Marie, Lauren, Mary, and Victoria.
It was one of your greatest acts of love. Choosing to be alive at a time when so many live so deeply in the dark. We promise to honor your life so the world will glow brightly, as it did in the light of your presence.
Love always . . .
(*For anyone interested in the motivational website mentioned earlier, visit www.tut.com.)