Incredible. That is all I can say. This is why I started my blog. Words cannot describe how happy I am that people are reaching out with acts of kindness all over the world to honor the little ones and teachers who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. We lost 26 people who undoubtedly would have brightened our world with their huge hearts and kind spirits. Last night I was reading the book, The Giver, and it reminded me so much of the events of the past week. So much can be taken from this book and I will certainly write many more posts referencing it, but one thing I immediately realized was how much the main character, Jonas, does something similar for his community that the 26 lives we lost at Sandy Hook are doing for us.
Here is the basic premise for The Giver, for those of you who haven’t read it. A twelve-year-old boy, Jonas, lives in a community with no war or fear or pain, but also no choices. Everyone is assigned a mate, a job, basically a life. The weak are “released” from society, which Jonas finds out means they are lethally injected. Jonas is assigned the job of “The Receiver” which is a great honor in his society and basically means that he will be given all the memories of the past worlds: love, pain, war, color, kindness, family, etc so that he can bear this “burden” and help his community continue to live in a world of “Sameness.” In order to save the community, he must escape to Elsewhere (which is outside the community-basically like our world with color and love and pain) so that the memories which The Giver has passed to him will be released to the general community, forcing them to deal with things like pain, but also helping them gain back color, joy and most importantly love, in their world.
It is my belief that when we lost those 26 lives at Sandy Hook, their memories were released to the world, just like Jonas’ were to his community. So, we must suffer from the pain of watching a gunman bust into a school and strip it of far too many innocent lives, because they had to go through that. But, more than anything, they have released so much goodness into our world. The more we hear stories about these 26 incredible people, the more we know how much kindness each and every one of them contained within themselves. Their memories are released to us, and we are all the better because of it.
A memory of a roll down a hill as we giggle and delight in the uneven earth as it grazes our backs. A memory of a door held open for a stranger, seeing surprise in his eyes. A memory of feeling so much love for our students that we find the courage and strength to shield them from a monster. One of the warmth of a mother’s hand as she strokes our cheek and tells us everything is going to be alright. Another of jumping on the bed, feeling the springs beneath our toes and watching closely around the corner to see if mom and dad are coming. A memory of hugging a sibling who’s crying and we don’t know why, we just know that the most important thing is to be with them. One of family. One of love. One of bewilderment. One of jubilation. One of mischief. And many, many of kindness.
The random acts we are witnessing more and more every day result directly from their departure from our world. We have them to thank for making this world a better place in as little as a week. They are up there painting our world with bright reds and blues and yellows. Let’s keep this going. Life was too short for them. They deserved many more years to grow brighter. It is now our responsibility to keep their flames ignited. May we never, ever lose their light.