Within the Darkness, We Found Community.
Each year on 12/14 we are reminded of the fragility of life when 8 years ago, 26 souls were taken from us. As somebody who grew up right next to Newtown and eventually worked alongside First Selectwoman Pat Llodra; I know too well of the pain that the Sandy Hook community lives with.
In times of darkness and isolation, we look for light, and community — we look for unity. On this solemn day for our State (and for our nation), we are bound together in grief.
We are reminded in Ecclesiastes that there is time for everything and this past year has proven to be so. Starting with the coronavirus pandemic upending our lives and having to live part of the year in isolation. Yet today, we find light when residents will start to be injected with the vaccine.
This year also provided darkness with a divisive political campaign season, however, there is light at the end tunnel when on this day the presidential electors gathering to cast their votes in state capitols across the nation, and we have the community coming together to affirm our nation’s role in our democracy.
We are also in the midst, night five, of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah — the festival of lights. The Talmud, speaks of the purification of the Second Temple after the Maccabees, defeated Antiochus and how the menorah burned for eight days, even though there was only enough oil for one day’s lighting. The story of Chanukah reminds us to always keep the faith even during the darkest of hours.
Some of you might be wondering, why I am including these vignettes in my year 12/14 tribute. It is because the families and residents of Newtown have been able to turn their darkness into action, which has rallied the community together. While each individual has taken a different route to express their grief, they have all found a way to provide tikun olam (“repair the world”).
For isn’t that our goal in life: to leave the world a better place than when we arrived. Through times of darkness, we find purpose, a spark. When we find purpose in our lives, it brings communities together.